Britt: Make your friends Valentine’s goodies this year

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Hand-made Valentine's Britt has saved over the years. - Staff Writer / Paige Britt

One of my core memories from elementary school was celebrating Valentine’s Day. And not because a boy held my hand for the first time or one of my classmates asked me to marry them on the playground. It’s because we made tissue box mailboxes, and hand-delivered valentines to one another at our desks. We had every arts and crafts supply you can imagine at our fingertips: glitter glue, construction paper, markers, feathers, popsicle sticks. I obsessed over every detail of my little mailbox and admired each of my classmates. The night before we handed out our valentines and our candy, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. In my young life, it was the first time I had ever celebrated Valentine’s Day and the whole thing just made me childishly, unabashedly happy. I took my time the day before, handcrafting individual cards for each of my classmates with personalized notes. 

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gone through phases with Valentine’s Day. It eventually stopped becoming an event in elementary school, dwindling down to maybe getting to eat candy in class if you were lucky. Then the awkwardness of middle school tainted the day. Some people celebrated with friends, and the few people with boyfriends or girlfriends were “ooed” and “ahhed” at by the rest of us. This energy more or less followed us into high school as the day became more about relationships than anything else, with some people adopting the quirky, never-before-heard cynicism of proclaiming, “It’s not even a real holiday!” Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to the phenomenon of ruining someone else’s fun, but I can proudly say I did grow out of the immature need to be different.  

Now in college, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the way we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day as kids? It was pure, innocent fun spent celebrating the friends around you. I’ve been a part of some Galentine’s Day celebrations, hanging out with my girls the day before so we could spend time with our significant others on the 14th. We made themed snacks and took cute pictures wearing pink and red, but it pales in comparison to the full-on event it was in elementary school. 

To take this a step further, I started to wonder how exactly college students celebrate Valentine’s Day, or if they acknowledge the day at all. We’re all in a weird, murky in-between stage of life where we aren’t teenagers and don’t want to be treated as such, but the thought of making our own doctor’s appointments is panic-inducing. Not to mention the strange uncertainty of most relationships. If you are in a serious relationship, you probably don’t have any money (who does?) to do anything fancy, you might not know how to cook (instant ramen doesn’t count), and even if you do, chances are good that you live with roommates or still under your mothers’ roof. Nothing says romance like the roommate you only kind of like making Pizza Rolls while you’re trying to have a candlelit dinner. 

In asking college students what they actually do on Valentine’s Day, most said nothing or didn’t even realize the day was approaching. Some, however, plan on spending the day with friends. 

“Personally, I’ve never been in a relationship. Every year I’d never really celebrated it but last year me and my friend went to Playa Bowls and got cute little bowls. So I feel like it’s honestly fun to celebrate with your friends when you don’t have a significant other if that makes sense,” said Mary Lyden, sophomore psychology major. 

“I’m hanging out with friends. I think we might go out to dinner or something,” said Kylie Toto, sophomore health and exercise science major. Toto mentioned that her friends who are in relationships are just “hanging out”, and aren’t planning on doing anything special. 

“It’s not like they’re getting all dressed up and going to like a high five-star restaurant for dinner,” Toto said. 

Lyden mentioned the general struggle of being in college stopping people from celebrating Valentine’s Day. 

“It’s not that serious, but I feel like it gets more serious as you get older. Like for now like we’re all college students. We’re also financially struggling. So I guess when we’re older, it makes more sense to celebrate more if you’re in a really committed relationship with someone, but for now, I feel like it’s just more friend-oriented, where we’re gonna do something silly,” Lyden said. 

It’s refreshing to hear that some people have plans to spend the day indulging in something they may deem as silly with friends. If you have plans with friends this V-day, take it a step further and make or buy them a Valentine’s Day card. Maybe even make a little mailbox if you’re really feeling the holiday spirit. No matter how insignificant the day may seem, celebrate the people you love and let them celebrate you back.

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