Valentine’s Day: College Edition

With all of the studying, eating and occasional napping, it’s a wonder that college students even have time to breathe. The burden of these hefty tasks, often combined with the lack of a steady income, makes it difficult for students to decide the best way to celebrate their loved ones. This is specifically true on what is perhaps the most controversial and stress-inducing day of the year: Valentine’s Day.

Students at the University of Maryland had differing ideas on how to celebrate Cupid’s day. Some opted for a cozy night-in, while others wanted to paint the town a romantic shade of red and head into Washington, D.C., for the evening.

Regardless of the destination or activity, there was a unanimous opinion that being fiscally responsible was at the forefront of the students’ minds… and hearts.

This Valentine’s Day will be the second time that sophomore journalism major Kate DeBlasis and her boyfriend sophomore architecture major Nicholas Thompson will be celebrating together. While they’re not completely sure of their plans for this year, they have narrowed their ideas down to going on a picnic, out to dinner or potentially even bowling.

Kate DeBlasis and Nicholas Thompson (courtesy of DeBlasis)

As DeBlasis put it, “nothing too wild,” which Thompson followed with “we’re living on a budget… college”

Spreading the love on a budget is nothing new for this couple, who’ve been dating for a year and a half. Last year, Thompson surprised DeBlasis with an impromptu picnic outside of their residence hall, complete with Lunchables, fruit cups and a picture of wildflowers that Thompson set as his laptop wallpaper, “so it felt like we were at a nice place at a picnic, but we weren’t,” Thompson said.

DeBlasis continued saying that even though it was cold and they were sitting on a towel on dead grass listening to Will Smith, “it was a nice little surprise.”

This low-budget, meaningful gesture for Valentine’s Day was an idea that was also echoed by sophomores Gabriella Melendez, an English major, and her boyfriend Julian Durr, an electrical engineering major.

Gabriella Melendez and Julian Durr (courtesy of Melendez)

The couple, who have been together for 11 months, will be celebrating their own version of Valentine’s Day on Friday because they both have to work on the actual holiday. However, this change of schedule doesn’t hinder any of their plans because they’re trying to spend “as little money as possible” and want to keep the night lowkey, probably by ordering food and “having a makeshift picnic or dinner.”

Saving money not only applies to their actual date, but to their gift-giving choices as well.

Melendez, a self-described romantic, said she has a homemade gift for Durr, even though he believes the holiday is “too commercialized” and “money-oriented.” Durr also said “I am broke. But, I will shower her with my love.” However, the potential for gifts ultimately didn’t seem to phase the couple who both agreed that the holiday is all about being together.

“I just really want to spend time with him,” Melendez said. Durr concluded by saying: “I still hate Valentine’s Day, but I love her.”

Senior finance major Liam Mercer had a more traditional plan for celebrating the day with his girlfriend, Zoe Budacz, a senior hearing and speech sciences major. Mercer said the couple would most likely go out to dinner in Washington, D.C. to a “medium fancy” restaurant. However, Mercer said the duo would take the Metro into the city to save money because they “ball on a budget.”

Liam Mercer and his girlfriend Zoe Budacz (courtesy of Budacz)

When asked about his thoughts on Valentine’s Day gifts, Mercer said couples should “get creative” and “pick things that are related to your connection.” For his part, Mercer purchased a coffee mug with Budacz’s face on it in reference to one of the couple’s favorite shows, “The Office.”

While everyone has different ideas on the perfect way to celebrate one of the most romantic days of the year, it’s clear to these couples that the most important part of Valentine’s Day isn’t about the destination or amount of money spent or even celebrating on the exact day – it’s about spending time with the person you love. And nothing’s more romantic than love itself.