There’s a lot that happens in February. Midterms, assignments and reading week take precedence in the minds of busy master’s students. Most of all, however, the month of February seems to be dominated by a common theme: relationships.

The theme of “relationships” isn’t limited to love. It includes the networking efforts that we are undertaking to find internships. The family-bonding time that we cherish over reading week and on Family Day. It even may involve the relationships that are being strengthened among our cohort as we navigate through this program. But of course, there’s also Valentine’s Day and the topic of dating—which is perhaps the most interesting form of relationship. So, let’s talk about it.  

If January was all about new beginnings, then February is about building new relationships. Our generation seems to rely on online dating apps to push us out of our comfort zone and meet new romantic partners. On dating apps, first impressions mean a lot. You may start a conversation with someone but if they don’t immediately capture your interest, you simply stop replying. Don’t even get me started on the importance of choosing the right pictures. In my opinion, Tinder has turned the world of online dating into a confusing struggle between “hookup culture” and relationship seekers. It has made the search for a partner transactional; users browse through the app’s offerings with a simple swipe of their thumbs. Those who are genuinely looking for a romantic connection become discouraged under the slew of messages like “dtf?” and other increasingly creative lines.

Hinge has been trying to change the hookup culture mentality around dating apps one match at a time. The app is built to facilitate genuine conversations and real connections. It’s less transactional and provides more information about a potential match than Tinder. Perhaps Hinge is trying to remind our generation that we can find a partner who offers more than just a Netflix ‘n’ chill. In an era dominated by digital personas, fake news, social media anxiety and influencers, it’s important to remember how to sort through the mess of online experiences while maintaining a sense of your own identity. This month, let’s remember to stay true to ourselves online so that your next first impression—whether for dating or another form of relationship-building (LinkedIn anybody?)—leads you to your goal, whatever that may be.

In February, the Mastermind team is looking to highlight the importance of building genuine relationships. Whether related to networking, making friends, community involvement or romantic endeavours, we’re looking to bring forth content that inspires you for the month ahead.

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