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Jan 22nd 2018

10 Memorable Ways to Spend Valentine's Day as Student

There's pressure to observe Valentine's Day, dating or not dating. Some students are thinking of skipping meals, so they can have dinner at a nearby fancy restaurant. It didn't occur to them that they need calories before (or during) paper writing. Some students don't like the public display of affection (PDA), reminding them of their singleness. They consider (attending) a seminar, but they must buy plane tickets. And there are a number of students who like to organize a campus event around relationship issues awareness. It's a great idea, but the timing may not be right.

The history of Valentine's Day goes back to the heyday of the Roman Empire, and it has nothing to do with love. Emperor Claudius II ordered the execution of two men, both named Valentine on the fourteenth of February in the third century A.D. The Catholic Church honored their martyrdom, a gruesome episode that Rick Riordan would overlook in the next book of "The Trials of Apollo" series. Valentine's Day also fell on Lupercalia, an ancient fertility festival. It was tied to human sacrifice, though.

Valentine's, like Easter and Christmas, would end up commercialized in popular culture. It was trivialized by manufacturers of greeting cards, but tell it to Hallmark. You can't beat it, so you must join the love train.

Showing Your Affection on a Budget

Watch the sunrise/sunset. The final scene of "30 Days of Night" showed Eben and Stella watching the sunrise together, sharing a kiss. It could have been a romantic moment until Eben's body turned into ashes. You prefer Eben and Stella over Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, much to the chagrin of your (college) buddies. There won't be any argument over this activity, but finding an unobstructed view can be a problem. Watching "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" might be an alternative.

Watch some old movies. You recall your mother's eyes welling with tears while watching the very last scene of "An Affair to Remember" (If you can paint, I can walk. Anything can happen, don't you think?) The studio era was ruled by old producers, and some have Weinstein-like behavior. They know that a good move must have memorable lines, which you can quote with your (forlorn) dorm mates. Don't take it too seriously.

If you don't like old movies, then look for not-so-recent pictures. Richard Linklater's trilogy, namely "Before Sunrise" (1995), "Before Sunset" (2004), and "Before Midnight" (2013), is most recommended for its realistic depiction of how the passage of time affects a relationship. You wish you can meet your Céline (or Jesse), but you hardly know the French language. Google Translate will save the day.

If you're a true romantic, then find a copy of "Bright Star". Fans of John Keats would owe a debt of gratitude to Fanny Brawne, who kept those love letters that the poet sent to her. It was a match made in heaven until Keats contracted tuberculosis. (Keep in mind that there wasn't a cure back then.) Keats's poems weren't well received during his brief lifetime, prompting some aficionados to wonder if his letters to Brawne changed the public perception of the Englishman. It could be an engrossing essay topic if you're studying Romanticism, but watch Jane Campion's depiction of their affair first.

Don't forget pizza and beer. You don't need sumptuous food to make it special. You can rearrange the pepperoni and turn it into a shape of a heart. It will be good enough.

Take advantage of the free campus activities. Your best interest is your college's primary concern, so there would be many activities to celebrate Valentine's Day. If you're gutted for being single, then you might be lucky to find another student offering donuts. If you're an art lover, then someone might be showcasing interesting craft. Don't expect a mistletoe, as it might be beyond the budget limit.

Look at your reading list, again. Modern literature was made popular by rebels looking for love in the wrong places. (Think of the Time Traveler.) If you still have free time, then you can browse the pages of some books again. Search for those memorable quotes. You might not need to use it for your next assignment, though.

Treat yourself. You must love yourself. One more slice of pizza will do if you don't want to burn a hole in your pocket.

Do your best John Cusack impersonation. The most unforgettable scene in "Say Anything" shows Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) trying to win the heart of Diane Court (Ione Skye), the class valedictorian, by playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" loudly. It could be a cool thing to do, but you don't want your dorm mates to give you dagger looks. You can opt for a headset and listen to Michael Bolton's songs. You can also imagine Nick Jonas for a few minutes (and hum "Jealous"). Make sure that no one is watching you.

Spend some time with your friends. You don't have to do any of the above. We all need company.

We Also Need Family

If you miss your parents, then you can spend the night in your good, old home. Your mother's best dishes might be the best meal on this special occasion. There's nothing to be ashamed of it. (If you're dating another student, then this might be the best time to introduce your special half to your folks.)

There's no excuse to skip Valentine's Day, as there are many ways to enjoy yourself. You might think twice about “Fifty Shades Freed”, though.

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