By Victoria Lavelle
Remember back in first grade when Valentine’s Day was an occasion to shower your classmates with heart- shaped candies, pink cupcakes and cute “be mine” greeting cards made just for kids?
Parents and teachers would surprise the class with chocolates, treats and candy hearts that tasted like chalk.
Students would gather around the classroom to count Valentine’s cards with their friends. Back then, the holiday was simple, easy, and stress free.
Today, those days are long behind you, yet the tradition of Valentine’s Day still lingers. It’s
the only day reserved each year dedicated to loving and appreciating someone you fancy.
Additionally, a vast majority of college students view Valentine’s Day as an occasion designated for couples only. After all, most of the media hype surrounding the holiday encourages puppy love, public displays of affection, and spending cash out the wazoo. That alone is enough to exacerbate stress and anxiety.
However, each year folks typically spend copious amounts of money on material items for their significant others. The holiday has become overly commercialized and has diverged from what many perceive to be the true meaning of love.
The February holiday consists of navigating a scattered minefield of awkwardness and romantic
expectations for college goers. College is already stressful enough with classes, homework and studies. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, it can become quite a distraction.
For students, dishing out money on expensive flowers and overpriced chocolates for a significant other can break the piggy bank. Let’s face it, some college students can barely afford to eat in the campus cafeteria, much less dine out on Valentine’s Day.
In fact, several restaurants cash in on Valentine’s Day with prix-fixed menus, hoping to make a small fortune off couples who feel obligated to woo their other half.
Yet, what about the other students across campus who aren’t matched up with a special mate? For them, Valentine’s Day can be a reminder that they’re single and alone.
It’s not difficult to understand why many young adults feel left out during a day that idealizes a flowery combination of hearts, cupids and arrows, and flirtatious butterfly kisses.
Unlike the elementary school years of times past, students today now have the added pressure of social media to contend with on Valentine’s Day. The endless stream of posts on platforms like Instagram and Twitter with couples gloating and boasting about their love for each other can be just as nauseating as overstuffing your face with too much chocolate.
For single people or those not in a defined relationship, social media posts on Valentine’s Day can often invoke envy. Reality is, everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated on Feb. 14 and beyond, but it doesn’t necessarily mean students need someone to do it for them.
While being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t ideal, it also isn’t that bad when compared to the
55 percent of young adults who claim to have been in an abusive relationship by age 24, as reported by in a study the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
In 2020, students have the unique opportunity to recognize and appreciate all the diverse types of love around. Furthermore, the social changes that have transpired over the past decade are plenty reason to celebrate.
Moreover, students should not solely reserve Valentine’s Day for romantic couples, but rather
for empathy, compassion, and admiration for those who have a positive impact on their lives
There’s absolutely no reason to sit around and sulk on Valentine’s Day. No need to feel down or alone, nor wither away in self-pity.
Instead, consider breaking from the standard traditions of Valentine’s Day and celebrating the relationships you have with your professors, peers, and family. It’s imperative that students show love and kindness to everyone on campus, including to yourself.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we should remember the importance of compassion in a world flooded with partisan disdain and other political and social issues.
Regardless of whichever way you go about celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, keep in mind it’s a holiday for everyone. Ultimately, the day will be whatever you decide to make of it, so get out there and love the people around you — and don’t forget to love yourself in the process.
Contact Victoria Lavelle at firstname.lastname@example.org