A piece of Valentine’s Day advice

With Valentine’s Day upon us, in all its flower-gifting, date-planning, and love-soaked glory, it can be difficult not to get wrapped up in the extravagance of the holiday. I was quite struck this year in particular, noticing all the excited talk in the hallways about what everyone had planned for the evening. Some of the more ambitious couples even had whole itineraries planned out to last the whole weekend together. I wanted to take this time to bring some perspective to couples, as well as singles who might be a little love-drunk, on this highly lauded day of romance, so that they might get the most out of their time together. Consider this a cautionary tale.

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The Fault in our Existence

Maybe it was a bad idea to read John Green’s heartbreakingly beautiful novel, The Fault In Our Stars, right before Valentine’s Day, but then again maybe it wasn’t.

I feel like the problem with great literature is that it makes us question ourselves as people. No matter what good we do in our lives, we will never feel as accomplished as the characters in our favorite stories. We want to be everything that we read about in books. We want the kind of existence that a 200-page novel can create. We want to fall in love just as our favorite characters do. We cry alongside them, we feel anger when they do. Sometimes, we feel their pain, too.

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Dorm life decline

Are you a dorm devotee, or will you be keeping your distance by living off campus? Everybody has different housing preferences, and recently with the status of our economy, the declining population of dorm dwellers at Parkside is no surprise. Every semester, many students have to ask themselves if saving money by living off campus is worth sacrificing the experience of dorm life.

There is certainly an experience to have, but it comes with a price tag. Why else would so many movies reference the college dorm room environment? It exists, and it’s real. There is something magical about staying up at 4 a.m. with a group of strangers and watching them turn into your best friends. However, what you have to consider is that another significant purpose of on-campus living exists that isn’t catered to by media. Are you there for a suggested experience, or are you going there to complete your education?

While the close proximity that the dorms have to classrooms is most appealing to an aspiring scholar, some feel that the distractions they promote to students outweigh the location aspect.

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Banned Books Week

Imagine being told you could not read a book because it is “inappropriate.” Imagine someone else taking away your right to learn and read whatever book you want to because they might not agree what is being said in the novel. Banned Books Week is an annual reading of banned books in order to celebrate the freedom to read during the last week of September and is supported by the American Library Association; “This freedom, not only to choose what we read, but also to select from a full array of possibilities, is firmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press” (“Books Challenged or Banned in 2009-2010, http://www.ala.org/bbooks). Every year, there is a list of books that are challenged by parents and other members of a community who try to get the books removed from libraries around the country.

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