BY LAURA CALDERON
As stores begin to stock their shelves with chocolate and teddy bears in preparation for Valentine’s Day, students across the County College of Morris without a significant other refuse to be saddened by the love inspired holiday.
Whether choosing to spend the day surrounded by friends, near family or simply ignoring festivities all together, students across campus refuse to spend the celebratory day alone.
According to CCM hospitality management major Shannon Dean, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show appreciation and affection to another individual, not necessarily a significant other. Since graduating Jefferson High School in 2015, Dean has remained extremely close with a small group of friends who she constantly communicates and hangs out with on a weekly basis. The close-knit group chooses to spend Valentine’s Day together every year, whether they’re in relationships or not, to make sure no one feels excluded.
“For as long as I can remember I have spent Valentine’s Day surrounded by my closest friends,” said Dean. “We get each other candy, teddy bears, cards, and even the occasional bouquet of roses. It’s like our own little tradition to do every year. It’s a holiday before anything else, like Christmas, everyone should have fun.”
Christina Ramos, nursing major at CCM, has always spent Valentine’s Day close to home and looks forward to the occasion every year. “Valentine’s Day is a huge celebration in my household,” Ramos said. “My sisters and I come together every year and spend the night watching our favorite romance movies and eating all the candy we could find. We make it a day for ourselves, not for other people.”
According to Ramos, Valentine’s Day should be considered a selfish day for all those who are single. A time to just have fun being yourself without the added pressures or expectancies relationships entail.
“The best advice I can give to someone celebrating the holiday alone is just don’t,” Ramos said. “Yeah, stores and movies commercialize it to seem like you have to be dating someone but that’s so not the case. Go to the movies, go shopping, go have dinner. Do something instead of choosing to feel bad for yourself.”
Without traditions with close friends and family, however, there may not be much to celebrate. Stephen Connors, a graphic design major at CCM, has chosen not to celebrate Valentine’s Day and plans not to acknowledge the day at all.
“Valentine’s Day is like celebrating a birthday,” Connors said. “You know it’s a holiday, and people try to make it special, but it feels like any other day. I’m single. I don’t plan, and I’m not gonna stress it.”
Whether spending the day with loved ones or enjoying the day alone, students across the County College of Morris are choosing to Valentine’s Day the same way – happy.