Remember the simple days back in elementary school, when Valentine’s Day meant giving everyone in your class heart-shaped lollipops with a generic note? Your mom packed your lunch with chocolate and cookies and you counted all your valentines with your friends. Easy. Simple. Uncomplicated.
Fast-forward to college, and the February holiday now consists of navigating a weird minefield of awkwardness, relationship expectations and definitions.
College is stressful enough, from personal lives to classes and jobs. Then Valentine’s Day comes around and there’s the added pressure of figuring out how to show your love and affection for someone.
For college students, buying expensive flowers and gifts for a significant other can be out of reach. Some college students can barely afford a dinner out, let alone on Valentine’s Day. In fact, many restaurants up-charge on the holiday with expensive prix fixe meals, knowing they’ll make money off people who feel obligated to eat out that night.
For many couples, Valentine’s Day can be a milestone in a relationship, and for others, a source of stress. When it’s early in a couple’s relationship, it can be difficult to decide how to celebrate the romantic day. Are we eating in? Who is paying? Should we get one another gifts or just cards?
It is also common in college to be in an undefined relationship, which can add another awkward component if you’re not sure whether you should be expecting a present – not to mention if one person gets a gift and the other doesn’t.
February can be a time of irritating social media posts with couples gushing about their love for each other. For single people or those not in a defined relationship, these posts are annoying and can cause envy. If you are in a relationship, the pressure to post a picture-perfect representation of your love can be far too much for a person to handle.
So instead of worrying about defining relationships and spending ridiculous amounts of money to buy one another’s love, what if we took the pressure off? What if Valentine’s Day was just an excuse to spoil ourselves and our friends? Buy chocolates if you want, but give them to people who will eat them without wondering if there’s a deeper meaning behind your gift.
Instead of going out to a fancy dinner, go on a cheap picnic in the park. If you feel lonely, have a night in with a friend to watch “The Bachelor” and snack on popcorn. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful.