I love Valentine’s Day. I love the idea that we have one day a year out of our busy lives as students to celebrate the idea of harbouring affection for another person. If so many people agreed with John Lennon in 1967 that ‘All You Need Is Love’ then why do so many of us now boycott the one day a year in which we formally celebrate it? In an academic-focused environment, the counter balance of a student’s life is inevitably going to get personal; our love lives, or sometimes lack of, are on show more than ever. We eat, work, party and sometimes sleep together. Is the new ‘up-close-and-personal’ lifestyle a reason for us to be tight-lipped about Valentine’s Day? I think not. Let us push past the lack of finances and the work-filled excuses and rescue poor Cupid from his prison.
Two years ago, two of my friends who had been dating for just over a year spent Valentine’s Day together. No card, no flowers and certainly no romantic meal. He bought her a vintage 1998 Game Boy Colour. Why? Because she had never had video games growing up and had become oddly attached to the cute mushrooms in Mario-Brothers. It was one of those pastimes she found hugely amusing at the age of 17, rather than 7 – worrying I know. Nevertheless, she was thrilled with the gift and in return, being an extremely talented art student, had painted him a customised A3 canvas; a scene she designed according to his favourite death metal lyrics. What they did embodies my love for Valentine’s Day; showing your love or affection for someone else in a completely individual way that only they can fully appreciate. The exhaustive time and effort that he spent into tracking down and bidding for that gift, whilst perfecting two pieces of coursework, shows that he cares about her. He set aside time and wanted to give her something truly unique; something else no one would have wanted. How is that not worth celebrating?
Seeing others couples together, in particular on Valentine’s Day, is a sweet little reminder that love is alive and kicking amongst our chaotic lives of essays, lab reports and too much alcohol. You’d think pursuing our crushes or making that first move – hell, even sending the odd secret Valentine – would be easy for imaginative creatures such as us. After all, didn’t we spend the last two years of our lives chasing after one another, whilst finishing our UCAS application? Considering our position as penny-scraping students, any romantic gesture, big or small can say more than you ever could verbally. So let’s not let it slip away! Just because we’ve lost our touch with the real world and have succumbed to the university bubble, doesn’t mean we can let our sentimental side vanish as well. Valentine’s Day is the opportunity for us to hold on to it; take time out of our schedules and remember what and, who matters to us the most.
So, this time round, I hope Valentine’s Day will hold some positivity for you. After all, it is one day a year, where traditions can change and we show him or her that we care, by doing just a little bit more in a unique way for our loved ones. It’s just 24 hours to do something different, to surprise them and make them smile. When you’re sitting in a lecture or walking on campus on February 14th, I want you to look around and see if you spot any couples, someone holding a gift or a card for someone. Take a look and smile to yourself; appreciate the happiness that they are celebrating and maintaining. Of course, if you are able to, celebrate your own – surprise and do something for them that only they will appreciate. I love Valentine’s Day. Life at university goes at a fast pace, so, like me, hold on to your soppy side amongst the crazy timetables and late nights. Make sure you don’t leave your feelings behind, for you never know who you might be celebrating with next time around…