It’s that special time of year again when the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates come out, along with the dozens of roses and an array of stuffed animals and affectionate cards. Although Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a major way world-wide, many view the holiday as a slap in the face for singles.

“As if we needed an entire day to put those who don’t have anybody on blast. Valentine’s Day sucks for single people,” said Robert Sneed, a senior in communication.

College students may feel more pressure to have a Valentine because it is often expected of our age group. It was different in high school when you got gifts from your friends at lunchtime, could send candy-grams to them in class or spend the whole day with your family. Now that we’re older, away from home, and more of our peers are getting engaged, the Day of Love can seem rather depressing.

“I feel like most people on campus are in a relationship, so it’s like everybody has somebody,” said Dan Baker, a sophomore in actuarial science.

It can be even tougher when you see the hand-holding on the way to class, couples sitting by Mirror Lake, and over-the-top PDA pairs smooching right in front of you.

So how does a solitary soul cope with the Valentine’s Day blues? Some students say to make it a day devoted to yourself.

“I’m taking myself out to eat and going to a concert. I don’t care how it looks and shouldn’t have to wait for someone to ask me out in order to have a good time,” said Kristiauna Mangum, a senior in management and industry exploration.

People often neglect their first love on this holiday: themselves. We get so caught up in the significant other or perceptions of the public, that our truest love is set aside. Treat this V-day like your B-day.

Take the time to show for yourself love by doing whatever you want. Go to the movies, go shopping, watch TV all day or take a long, luxurious nap. And the love-fest shouldn’t stop there, but you should also show love to others, whether by reconnecting with another single friend, hanging out with a family member or serving in the community.

Singles have to have quality “me time” and be introspective. This may seem obvious because, who else will a single person be with? But this doesn’t mean you have to be in total isolation and watch sappy old movies for hours, listen to sad love songs and cry yourself to sleep.

But list out the traits you would like in a potential mate and take inventory of yourself by being honest, and come up with reasons for why you might be single. What is it that you need to work on and what do you expect from others? Use this list like your New Year’s resolution and see if, by adhering to it, you’ll get the results you desire.

Making the most of this holiday first requires you to release your old boos, who were probably no good anyway, because if they really liked it, they would’ve stepped their commitment level up. Don’t spend Valentine’s Day cutting up pictures of your ex or plotting to sabotage their current relationship so that you can slide back in.

Let them go completely, which means not bringing them up anymore or discussing how good your previous Valentine’s Days were. And if you’ve never had a Valentine, don’t make yourself feel terrible about it or act desperate for a date.

True love takes time, and it’s OK if 2009 is not your year. Sure, it may seem lame eating dinner with your mom or playing video games with your friends on Valentine’s Day, but at least you’re doing something besides moping, and that’s probably what St. Valentine would want.

So try to be happy for those who have someone special now, because your relationship status could be different next Valentine’s Day.

Heather Hope can be reached at