Single this Valentine’s Day? You can still have a blast. We’ve compiled a list of activities to help you make the most of this holiday — no significant other needed. (In fact, you don’t have to share your chocolate box this way. We’d call that a win.) Here’s to celebrating Valentine’s Day single at college.
Learn the History of Valentine’s Day
Did you know that our celebration of love may have originated from a Roman feast called Lupercalia, held on Feb. 15? Guess how the holiday was celebrated. No, it wasn’t with heart-shaped boxes of drugstore candy. No, they didn’t give each other oversized teddy bears. And no, they didn’t eat three pints of Moose Tracks and cry over season two of Fleabag while stalking their ex’s social media. We’re talking ancient Rome. They ran around hitting people with the hides of sacrificed goats and dogs.
Let’s clink our candy hearts and say cheers that we do not live in ancient Rome.
Decorate Your Room
Now that you know what this holiday could have meant for you, you’re feeling pretty good about V-Day, aren’t you? Time to channel that energy into festive decorations. Stuff that pile of homework under your bed, and get ready to embrace everything red, pink, and heart-shaped.
- Craft this themed bookmark so your science textbook can feel the love.
- Create a heart paper chain so you can countdown to all that holiday chocolate.
- Make this Sweetheart-inspired garland and stamp holiday messages on each paper heart. (It may be the only way you’ll see “Be Mine” on a Sweetheart this year, as a printing error left many of the actual candies blank. Don’t have an existential crisis because your boxed candy has no love for you. It’ll happen to everyone, which possibly makes 2020 the kickoff to the apocalypse.)
If you want a challenge, you can also tackle this Modern String Art Heart, which involves hammering nails into a Mason board and weaving string around them like some kind of criminal mastermind. (Please inform your roommates what you’re doing so they don’t panic.)
Bake These Treats
Valentine’s Day is not about love, my friends. It’s an excuse to eat sweet treats.
- Do you have access to an oven? Bake these heart-shaped shortbread cookies.
- No oven, no problem. Whip up this chocolate parfait that’s friendly for residence halls.
- Want something fast and easy? Melt white chocolate in the microwave, then use it to adorn store-bought madeleines.
Do an Act of Kindness
Think about Valentine’s Day as a chance to spread love to the people who matter to you: Send cards to your friends, bring flowers to your BFF, call your grandma, surprise your roommate with a cup of coffee and a white chocolate madeleine.
If you want to take this idea a step further, consider volunteering. (Those dogs at your local animal shelter may not know about Cupid, but they’d sure like some extra love this holiday.) Visit the Volunteer Match website to find the right activity for you.
Don’t have time to volunteer? Donate to a charity. The average American was expected to spend nearly $143.56 on Valentine’s Day in 2018. Even if you give just $5 to an organization, you’ll be saving money and making a positive difference.
Take Care of Yourself
OK, it sounds cheesy, but loving yourself is the best thing you can do this holiday. Give yourself a small luxury, like these shower steamers. Treat yourself to a day in nature. Go to a movie. Practice self-compassion. (Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness as you’d show a friend in your situation, explains this New York Times article.)
Read a Poem
This section is for all you English majors. Poetry may be a Valentine’s Day cliché, but that doesn’t mean we should toss the tradition altogether. And why do the poems have to be limited to romantic love? Today, read a poem that reminds you why you love the simple things in life, from cold plums to early spring.
Host a Singles Party
You’ve already got the decorations and treats, so why not invite your single friends over for a party? If you and your guests are legal drinking age, you can serve a Valentine’s Day punch. Otherwise, try this nonalcoholic sangria. (Be a responsible host if you do serve alcohol: Ensure your guests don’t drive drunk and keep the party from involving any goat hides whatsoever. This is not Lupercalia, y’all.)
It’s a singles party, so the goal is to get to know each other, right? Try this easy mingling game:
- Before guests arrive, write a bunch of names on name tags. Choose names of well-known historical figures or fictional characters. (If you want to make the game themed, you can pick characters from romances, like Romeo and Juliet).
- When guests arrive, stick name tags on their backs and make sure they don’t see them.
- Guests won’t know what their name tags say, so they have to ask everyone else Yes/No questions until they get it right.
(Just make sure you hide your attempt at Modern Heart String Art so you don’t scare the guests.)
Celebrate Galentine’s Day
Once a fictional holiday in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is now a popular celebration on Feb. 13. Follow the lead of Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and embrace the best things in life: Waffles and friendship. All you have to do is take your BFFs to a luxurious brunch and tell them how much they matter to you. Bonus points if you give them each a handmade card. (It’s not a needlepoint pillow with their face on it, but we can’t all be Leslie Knope.)
If you haven’t yet found the Ann to your Leslie, don’t worry. Get some cool classmates together and use the brunch as an opportunity to bond.
Go Out with Friends
Get your friends together and attend an on-campus activity, on one of USF’s campuses. You can also organize a group excursion, such as:
- A kayaking day. (If you live in the Tampa Bay area, we recommend you check out Weedon Island and Fort Desoto.)
- An Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
- A laser tag afternoon.
- A karaoke night.
- A class. (Think painting, cooking, paddleboarding, yoga).
- A beach hangout. (If you’re a USF student, you know that beach days can happen all year long, even in February.)
Not feeling the group activities? Grab your BFF and take advantage of all those couples discounts at restaurants, bars, and spas, suggests this Glamour article.
Stay in with Netflix
Get your favorite takeout. Eat some Valentine’s Day chocolate. Avoid your roommate who found your attempt at Modern Heart String Art and now has questions. Cue up your favorite TV show. Congratulate yourself that you’ve made it through this holiday — and nobody tried to throw a weird animal hide on you. That’s what we’d call a good Valentine’s Day.
In all seriousness: If you’re feeling lonely this year, you’re not the only one. We’re here to help. Drop by the USF Wellness Center to treat yourself to some self-care or a listening ear.
About Emily Young
Emily Young is a freelance writer and editor based on the gulf coast of Florida. A proud USF alumna, she cares about connecting readers to resources and helping students find success.