One year ago, COVID-19 hadn't hit Tucson. Couples were getting ready to celebrate Valentine's Day and those without a significant one were ready to stay home or party.
A year later, a lot has changed. Classes have moved to a mostly online format, some restaurants closed for in-person dining and traveling restrictions have been implemented.
Valentine's Day arrived, but after a year like 2020, the in-person possibilities of meeting someone were lower for University of Arizona students. With few students on campus, the idea of finding someone was difficult. This pandemic has been a rock in everyone’s shoes specially for young people like Nicole Montez, a UA undergraduate student in law.
“You can't really meet people right now. It's kind of weird to meet people during the pandemic because like we don't have in-person classes, and through Zoom, it's just weird,” Montez said.
Perspectives on holidays changed overtime. It used to be normal to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family or closest loved ones, but since the spread of COVID-19, many had to cancel flights and meet over Zoom. The same goes with Valentine's Day, where many couples will be separated.
Valentine’s Day is a day to spend with your significant ones, where normally couples go out for dinner and enjoy themselves. What about when you don’t have a significant one to go out with?
Alfredo Hernandez, a UA undergraduate student in agribusiness economics and management explained Valentine's Day as a day for love of any kind.
“It doesn't have to be a couple like friends, love friends, a day to just be happy with your loved ones,” Hernandez said.
Erik Yohn, a UA freshman student, agreed with Hernandez saying that the general idea of Valentine's Day was love, mostly romantic love, but it also can include self-love or love for others like family members or friends.
Yohn added that marketing misunderstands the real meaning of the holidays. For example, Christmas was about giving back to people and receiving back. The same went for Valentine's Day, where everything should be about love and how grateful we are for having that person or those people in our lives.
“It's easy to get caught up when you see commercial after commercial and you go to the grocery store and there's Valentine's Day in your face like with the candy and the stuffed animals and you see a lot of these every day,” Yohn said.
Valentine's Day could look kind of insignificant after all the events people have been through. Especially for single students who are more worried about passing their classes and pay the rent for next month.
Many single students aren’t in the search for love, however, they are more focused on getting good GPAs, having fun and getting ready for life after school like Kayla Randolph, a UA undergraduate student in pre-elementary education.
“I am just focused on my education like putting in first before a relationship,” Randolph said.
Other students have part-time or full time jobs, giving them such busy schedules that a significant other is out of the question.
“I wouldn’t have time for a boyfriend,” Montez said, who has responsibilities to her schoolwork and job.
For some single people, Valentine's Day is not more than any other day in their calendars. Randolph’s Valentine’s Day was going look like any other day since she has to work. On the contrary, Montez was going to stay home and order pizza while watching movies.
Although it can be sad to not have a valentine, some college students take it easy and focus on the things they were already doing, hoping one day they will have someone to be with.
“It makes me more self-aware that I don’t have an intimate partner,” Randolph said.
For Yohn, being single was a time to reflect on yourself and in your character, making sure you know what you want and that you are ready for it.
“I'm missing out because I’d love to be with another person but that's just not in my life right now,” Yohn said.
Follow Diana Ramos on Twitter