Saint Valentine, patron saint of epilepsy, died in 273 A.D. His martyrdom is commemorated annually by single young people weeping alone because they don’t have someone to kiss and hold hands with in exchange for chocolate they wouldn’t eat anyway.
It’s no secret that the meaning of Valentine’s Day has become distorted over the years, and I’m not talking about the neglect of Saint Valentine – may he rest in peace. I’m talking about the fact that many college students either end up crying or hooking up with someone random instead of celebrating the love already present in their lives.
College students need to replace the toxic notion of needing to be “in love” on Valentine’s Day with a reflection of the genuine love they already have: platonic love, familial love, self-love, or a healthy love of knowledge.
Last year’s Bruin Connections was a painful attempt at helping UCLA students find their true love by filling out a Google Docs questionnaire about one’s likes and dislikes. This document was inspired by a post on the infamous “UCLA Free & For Sale” Facebook page on which one student advertised his potential as a viable Valentine’s date.
This attempt at a makeshift dating service was a lighthearted effort on the part of the matchmakers, but not on the potential lovers, as most of them did not even end up going out with their so-called soulmates. The service is back up and running this year, but with not nearly as much buzz.
This, coupled with the countless memes going around Facebook about how depressed students are “forever alone” on Valentine’s Day, shows that students spend an awfully large amount of time and energy on this negativity. The disconnect between the love that capitalism promotes and the organic love already present in their lives illuminate a tragedy on the sunny Los Angeles campus.
For example, when asked about what Valentine’s Day means to him, second-year cognitive science student Ryan Glatt said, “It’s a day of celebration, to go all out and spoil the person you love.” When asked about his plans however, Glatt said he was going to a date party with someone who he said was not extremely special.
Valentine’s Day exacerbates the loneliness many students feel due to their lack of a significant other. It’s midterm season in a politically divisive campus climate that already upsets students – we don’t need more stress. This is an extremely toxic and unnecessary way to look at a holiday that is otherwise supposed to be filled with chocolates and love. In reality, not having a boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t make you more upset on Feb. 14 than it does on any other day. In fact, it shouldn’t make you upset at all.
Students may find that taking time to appreciate their friends and family for loving them year-round is better than self-imposed loneliness or an awkward date with someone they might later want to avoid contact with on Bruin Walk.
With Valentine’s Day right in the middle of midterm season, it is the perfect time to show appreciation to your friends: give them some chocolate for their study break or give them a flower after a midterm exam – life really isn’t that bad just because you don’t have a valentine. Don’t try to find your soulmate for a few hours or melancholically devour your Café 1919 gelato while you watch The Notebook for the hundredth time. Call your mom and tell her you love her, or give your roommate some M&M’s.
Besides, it’s midterm season. Who has time to grapple with the existential questions of what love means to them when there’s so much studying to do?