As we find ourselves fully immersed (or not) in the curriculum of our classes, staring at books with strange symbols and drawings for hours on end and studying long after the midnight oil has run out, February has somehow come upon us. It's hard to believe that a month of school has already passed, but at the same time, it's also not so difficult to believe – many of us are already looking forward to spring break, which will begin on March 22, a little over a month from now. That's not the only notable thing we have coming up, though. As most of us know, some begrudgingly, Valentine's Day is in two days.
With the amount of commercial propaganda and awareness about Valentine's Day, there's no doubt that many of us will use this as a potential opportunity to get closer with those we love. For those who need a special way and reason to ignite a relationship, this is the time to do it. For those already in relationships, this is an opportunity for you to express your love and dedication to your significant others, and affirm your hopefully collective desire to stay together for months to come. However, there is one critical and often over-looked factor that provides the context for Valentine's Day — single people.
Every year, I always see the same pattern of single people rising up to protest Valentine's Day and point out its segregating nature. The amount of public attention and memes that also explode during this time of year, spanning from rants of horrible, former partners, to the forever popular "forever alone" memes, illustrates some examples of the criticisms that are directed towards the practice of Valentine's Day. Talking about such a strange and seemingly-trivial topic makes it look like a waste of space in this column, however. There is a reason for this, and I intend to address it accordingly.
Although Valentine's Day was originally a special day to honor the Christian saint Valentinus, who performed benevolent actions, in today's world, its purpose is to highlight and help foster the feelings of love and closeness between lovers. I have no problem with having a day being dedicated to such an honorable moral that acts as an island of light in an ocean full of darkness, evil and hatred. Some people, though, still view such a day as being bad, but on what grounds?
Is it because you're just jealous and don't put the time and effort, much less the desire, to enter a relationship? Such a problem should be solved privately, instead of being used as justification to lash out against those that finally have found happiness and a true sense of belonging. It does not seem right to take the happiness from someone else just because you cannot find your own. Perspectives like these end up making the world even more depressing and hostile than before. Instead, use Valentine's Day in an alternative way, and spend time with your friends. Love does not always have to manifest itself solely within romantic relationships – it can exist through the bonds between you and your friends, and everyone else who has supported you on your journey to where you are today. In lieu of calling Valentine's Day "Singles Awareness Day", perhaps we could rename it to "Solidarity Action Day", where we relax and have fun with our friends and give ourselves a break from our hectic, non-social studying lives.
In the words of a favorite techno-song of mine: Love the world.
—Jan Urbano is a junior in biological sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.