Afternoon Views

Summer Levinson, a 21-year-old UF marketing senior, and Robert Matias, a 21-year-old UF chemical engineering senior, eat sandwiches and watch the sunset over Lake Alice Saturday. The view was a change of pace from eating in front of the TV, Matias said.

As Valentine’s Day looms, a lot of us find ourselves fending off feelings of distress, frustration and loneliness. It’s not hard to be single the other 11 months of the year, but February offers a unique blow to the self-esteem of lonely hearts everywhere.

I mean, does Target really need to turn its entire store into an homage to love? And why is every purchasable item all of the sudden in the shape of a heart? Maybe I liked my Dove chocolate pieces in the shape of squares. An unpopular opinion: I don’t think everything that was once neutral-colored needs to be dyed red or pink.

Around this time of the year, it is easy to get caught up in the cloud of pink fog wafting through the air and believe everyone is happy and in love except for you. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth — especially on a college campus.

I know, I know. It seems like everyone around us is dating. Your Instagram feed is full of pictures of your friends kissing their partner’s cheek. Every Snapchat story you see is a photo someone took of their partner from across a candlelit table, accompanied by the ironic caption, “First date, kinda nervous.” But, big surprise, social media is seriously distorting the reality of the dating world.

It turns out, only half of college women have been asked on six or more dates in college by men, according to an article from the Institute for American Values. This means that not everyone is hooking up like you may think. And about a quarter of college seniors are actually virgins, according to sociologist Paula England of Stanford University. So, no, not everyone is dating. And no, you’re not an anomaly if you are not going to graduate with one of those corny pictures of you and your partner kissing behind a graduation cap.

Despite what television shows like “Greek” or “Saved by the Bell: The College Years” showed us, college just isn’t a great time to be in a meaningful relationship. We spend half of the week sitting in classes, the other half in the library doing homework and somewhere on top of that we manage to participate in clubs, hold part-time jobs, exercise and maintain at least some friendships. This doesn’t leave much time for date nights or to deal with the emotional stress of dating someone long-term. Dating in college isn't always going to be the best idea for everyone.

It is true that a lot of college students do get lucky and meet their soulmate at the ripe old age of 18 in the hallway of their freshman dorm and never look back. But what fun is that? Sure, you feel safe and loved and you are able to relish in the stability you feel having met “your person.” But is it really worth it?

College is the time when you’re supposed to make mistakes and feel free to do what you want without the added pressure of another person and their needs. You are able to grow and gain life experience as you learn what you do and don’t want out of a partner. You have a chance to find yourself and genuinely enjoy who you are, before you find someone to share yourself with.

If you find yourself with someone to call your valentine on Thursday, congrats to you. But, for the rest of us, just remember that you’re not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you. Valentine’s Day is about all love — not just romantic love. So celebrate your love for yourself, your friends and your family.

And if you’re still sad about being alone on V-Day, remember that candy will be half-off on Friday.

Abigail Miller is a UF political science and journalism senior. Her column normally appears on Mondays.