Single and Not Tryna Mingle

February is one of the shortest and coldest months. These are basic facts, but there remains one unspoken aspect about the month that many students at the University of Maryland agree on: February contains one of the most stress and pressure-filled days of the year -- Valentine’s Day.

While many rejoice in celebrating the love-filled season with their significant other, people who are not in a relationship can find it to be a bit overwhelming. Staying in a committed relationship to oneself can be tricky, especially when navigating the heavy seas filled with social media tidal waves of appreciation posts and drugstores everywhere uniting to sell expensive chocolates with mysterious fillings.

“Pity the single people” on Valentine’s Day is a cliche rooted in insecurity, but it does not affect the mindset of some students at the university who believe that being single on Valentine’s Day (and any other day) is easier on their hearts, brains and wallets.

One of these students who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day without the added pressure of a significant other is sophomore psychology major Haley Zawitoski. She acknowledged that when she was younger, all of the hoopla about Valentine’s Day used to make her feel like she would be “alone forever,” but she has since come to realize that her “freedom is liberating.”

Haley Zawitoski (Courtesy of Zawitoski)

Zawitoski prides herself on being “self-sufficient” and “independent,” which are traits she has carried with her since childhood, and enjoys not having to work her schedule around others, unlike people in relationships.

Zawitoski especially enjoys her romantic freedom on Valentine’s Day, which she believes to be “over-commercialized” and thinks carries a lot of pressure when not spent with the right person.

Instead, she has plans with her girlfriends to celebrate the ever-growing trend of “Galentine’s Day,” a made-up holiday usually landing the day before or after Valentine’s Day where girls celebrate their friendships with one another instead of with significant others.

While she’s excited for “Galentine’s Day,” she remarked that she “think[s] every day is Galentine’s Day when you’re single.” Having her friends around serves as a constant reminder to Zawitoski that “there is a lot of love in [her] life and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from a boy.”

Another student who finds solace in his bachelor lifestyle is senior neurobiology major Douglas Yeager. He will be single for this upcoming Valentine’s Day unless he “find[s] a ‘baddie’ within 48 hours.”

Douglas Yeager (Courtesy of Yeager)

However, Yeager said he’d “much rather be single” so he does not have to “feel the pressure to do something” on the Hallmark holiday. Even though Yeager relishes the lack of pressure he has from not celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant other, he said he doesn’t think the holiday is cliche and that it’s about spending time with someone you care about.

According to Yeager, “if you’re single, it shouldn't be a pity party.”

While Yeager would prefer not to spend Valentine’s Day with someone he doesn’t fully know, he said he wouldn’t be opposed to “split[ting] some chips and guac” if someone asked him out on Valentine’s Day.

Being without a significant other doesn’t impact Yeager much, as he said he surrounds himself “every day with people that make me the best I can be.”

It can often feel like couple-based love is carelessly tossed around in society, landing in the hands of people who didn’t ask to see random love stories.

That being said, there are also people out there who aren’t currently in love with someone else at the moment, but are instead enjoying their friends and remaining in a committed relationship to themselves. Those people needn’t be pitied on a day that exposes relationships; rather, single people should serve as an example on how to practice the most important type of affection: self-love.