Pink hearts, cards in the mail and fellow students making out in every corner; the Valentine’s Day season has yet again inspired the outcry of its usual hopeless romantics and cynical singles.
Modern Valentine’s day is centered entirely around the idea of romance and expressions of love targeted towards other people, most often a significant other. However, in the midst of high school and personal development, students often don’t take the time to dedicate love to themselves.
“A lot of people don’t prioritize taking care of themselves because there are so many other things that have to be done in life,” junior Sophie Marshall said.
At such a critical time for personal development, both within school and out, it’s concerning to think that students are neglecting to monitor their own mental health. Advocating for one’s own needs is important, yet is often dismissed because it seems conceited, Marshall said.
The topic of self-love seems to have turned into something of a nonchalant joke rather than a critical piece of an individual’s mental state. Junior Raymond Guo said that students, especially those who are feeling depressed, could genuinely use self care as a means of self-love.
“You can definitely do stuff for yourself that is extrinsic, like just going out somewhere and getting nice food for yourself,” Guo said.
However, freshman Johan Olsson said not every student has the time to spend for themselves in this way. He said that society and college oftentimes expect students to spend their time on subjects pushed onto them, rather than on ones they may want to pursue out of interest.
“There’s a set timeline that everyone needs to follow. At this age, I need to focus on college and my career. You know what? That can be really stressful,” said senior Andrea Reyes.
Reyes also said being patient with oneself as a method of self-love during stressful times should be a priority. In the face of failure or falling behind in classes, both things that Reyes said can take a toll on one’s mental health, taking the time to visit one’s counselor or taking a mental health day can be valuable.
“You never want to sacrifice your mental health for doing well in school,” Reyes said.
With this, the definition of self-love includes taking control of how one spends their time. Junior Anna Groene said that there’s also pressure to spend time with families and significant others, especially with Valentine’s Day. To her, self-love is taking a break from that and spending time the way she wants to.
“As you get older, you start to expect someone else’s admiration for you [on Valentine’s Day],” junior Anna Groene said.
Senior Arin Gallagher said that it was empowering to take charge of himself by learning to lessen the priority of the input of others in his daily life. When he chose to listen to himself instead, he said he gained self confidence.
“I stopped doing what was expected of me and I started doing what I want to do,” Gallagher said. “Do what you want; don’t be afraid of what people expect from you.”