Vanderbilt Valentines: students talk relationships on V-Day

On the holiday dedicated to relationships, the Life Staff asked around to find out how students feel about finding love on campus.


Shun Ahmed

Vanderbilt students talk relationship culture on campus.

Charlie Shattock, Staff Writer

Everyone knows that feeling: you’re single on Valentine’s Day, and despite your best attempts to ignore this nagging thought, pictures of couples all over your Instagram and Snapchat seem to mock you incessantly.

On a day dedicated to relationships, a lot of those who aren’t in one may feel a hint of pressure to change their single status. The Life section wanted to know: what does the Vanderbilt student body think about this pressure?

“I think relationships are pretty good because if you’re in it—no matter if you stay together or don’t stay together—you’ll learn something coming out of it, either about yourself or how well you work with others or what you actually need in a relationship,” junior Chip Dale said. 

But, Dale pointed out that while relationships can be a learning experience, they can do more harm than good if the person seeking a relationship is not ready for one. 

“It’s actually good to be single because you need to love yourself before you could love anyone else. How could you let someone love you if you don’t even know what it is to love yourself?” Dale said. 

This raises an interesting question: how do you know when you’re ready for a relationship? 

“A lot of people believe in love at first sight. I think that’s nice—to feel a spark with someone—but I think when you begin to want to make someone else’s life better that’s a better way to look for one specific person. I think you’re asking the million dollar question,” first-year Nolan Siegel said.

Another difficult concept to grapple with, especially in college, is dealing with pressure to be in a relationship. Whether the context is marriage or just short-term dating, managing this pressure can be difficult. Some Vanderbilt students say the severity of this pressure has much to do with how you think about it. 

“I don’t wanna put the pressure to get married on myself—I could go my whole life without getting married and still be happy, and maybe much happier than people that force themselves to get married because of the pressure,” first-year Bill Roberts said. “That pressure’s always constant but as you get closer to the age of 30 it definitely ramps up a little bit.”

But as several students pointed out, there are plenty of fun activities for those who want to spend their Valentine’s Day with friends and escape the stigma of being single. 

“I think there is some pressure to be in a relationship, but I think there are some good things like ‘Galentine’s Day’ that are fun. It could definitely be worse at Vanderbilt,” sophomore Gracie Sweeney said. 

No matter your relationship status, there are plenty of ways to get sentimental this time of year. Whether it’s celebrating “Galentine’s Day” or taking your friends out for a fancy dinner, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the holiday apart from the emotional turmoil of a traditional college relationship.