Totally, Absolutely Legitimate Horoscopes

Aries (March 21-April 19)

The GMO-free cosmic forces of the universe suggest that soon you may find yourself tempted to be “healthy” or “productive.” Though these concepts sound appealing to your more rational side, you will find that sitting inside all day binging Netflix is the best way to align your inner energies.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

The energies of romance are on your side today; your love interest will make awkward eye contact with you for a few life-altering moments. You should definitely propose on the spot, as the stars are clearly aligned in your favor. If you are rejected, it is likely due to your love interest’s chakras being conflicted, and you should not take it too personally.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Though your friends beg you to stop making bad jokes and puns, you should most definitely continue to do so. The forces of nature are on your side, and every distasteful pun you make will secretly bring joy and laughter into your friends’ hearts. When they stop talking to you, it’s because they are in denial of your comedic genius. Don’t worry — they will come around eventually. Your humor rejuvenates and uplifts the inner souls of those around you, so don’t hold back.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

You may think that it’s a good idea study for that upcoming test, but the elusive energies of luck are definitely on your side, so you should spend your time procrastinating instead. With the forces of fortune on your side, you will most certainly pull a high A; there’s no need to look over that silly twelve page review sheet.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

In the near future, you may be tempted to impulsively buy something that others say is a waste of money. In actuality, their minds are clouded by a negative force, which will prevent them from seeing the truth in the situation. You should follow your heart and purchase whatever you like as it is the destiny the star forces have
decided for you. Saving up money to be “financially secure” is a concept that only appeals to weak-willed people who are not truly living life to its fullest.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

You may be feeling restless or under the weather recently. This is due to your classmates emanating negative energies, which are actually influencing your soul’s spiritual balances. The best solution to this problem is to be a positive force in your classmates’ lives by bringing them happiness and inner fulfillment, which will give your soul peace in return. Singing a few uplifting songs during class time would be a highly effective way to lift this negative aura, but if this is too forward for your tastes, there are more subtle methods. Leaning forward and chanting mantras into your classmate’s ear during a test can have an amazing impact on reducing their stress,
and they will surely thank you for it afterward. You may be kicked out of the room for “being a disturbance,” but no great revolution ever goes without its complications.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

The cosmic forces are on your side today, and you should take some great risks. Approach a stranger! Buy some thing on an impulse! Walk to NYC! Drop out of school! Your shy disposition holds you back, but go forward with confidence as nothing can go wrong today. Do not listen to those who doubt you as they are simply trying to hold you back.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

One of your friends will soon come to you with an issue of utmost importance and will ask for your advice; you are someone who is more than qualified to help them out, so assure them that they have come to the right person. Take your friend to an empty room, then ask them to meditate with you; their problem can be solved by dissolving negative energies, so with a bit of meditation, any issue they have will be resolved within minutes. If your friend refuses to meditate, force them to. They are just in denial and will benefit from your spiritual genius.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

You will likely have an upcoming paper to write in your English class. Instead of actually writing it yourself, you should have your little brother/sister/pet do it instead as their natural energies are currently more aligned with the stars than yours are, and they will have greater success than you ever could. It’s not cheating, since you are merely unlucky due to your soul’s misalignment.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Though getting a full night’s sleep is said to be healthy, the cosmic energies suggest otherwise. Staying up late and procrastinating for several hours is the most effective way you can find your purpose in life as the earthly forces have deemed it so. Your inner spirit will be most in tune with the universe if you get as little sleep as humanly possible.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)

Due to negative energies plaguing your household, it would be a good idea for you to burn large amounts of incense in your room to lessen their strength. The spiritual power incense holds is well-known. The smokier your room is, the stronger your barrier against negative energy. If you are worried about the fire alarm going off, feel free to disable it.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20)

Recently you may have had issues connecting with other people and properly displaying your emotions. This issue is easily solved through interpretive dance. As dance is a highly emotional art form, you can easily convey what you are feeling to those around you. The next time your teacher gives you a pop quiz or a bad grade, connect to them through spiritually-charged choreography. No one can resist the power of dance.

In Appreciation of Canine Companions

Let’s talk about dogs. Is there a better animal on this earth? No. And this is why.

Sometimes I stare into my white lab mix’s face while she’s sleeping beside me and lovingly tell her, “you are descended from wolves.”

Abbey, my dog, is the calmest and sweetest creature on the planet (of course I’m not biased), emphasizing to me the irony of her razor sharp canines and causing me to inform her every so often of my incredulity.

Abbey’s useless canines are thanks to the phylogenetic history of her species, and they highlight how similar and yet so different she is from from her evolutionary predecessor, the wolf.

For a long time I failed to appreciate the fact that dogs evolved to be human companions. (As a human, I am incredibly honored.)

Most scientists think the modern dog emerged around 30,000 years ago from “proto-dogs,” ( look them up — they’re both cute and terrifying) the population of which consisted of all the wolves whose fear and aggression levels were low enough to allow them to follow migrating human civilizations and eat their trash. Gross, but an effective domestication strategy.

Ever since, dogs have been integral to the success of the human race. No exaggeration. Dogs likely helped humans hunt their first big animals, such as woolly mammoths. In fact, the effectiveness of hunting dogs may have been the reason humans were able to driveNeanderthals out of Europe roughly around this time same period.

But dogs are more than just a human tool. Dogs and humans share a unique bond, a bond emphasized by pet owners for centuries but just recently proven by science. A 2016 study from the University of Lincoln in England found that dogs can recognize human emotions by looking at pictures of strangers’ faces. They, like people, gravitate towards the left side of the face, which is often more expressive. No such ability was found for dogs and any other animal, including closely related primates.

Though few societies today rely on dogs for hunting food, the species continues to provide humans other ways. Drug sniffing dogs can detect unexploded land-mines in areas with a history of conflict. Dogs are even being trained to smell the early stages of cancer in patients’ pee or notify diabetics when their blood sugar is too low. When was the last time your cat saved your life?

There are not enough words in the English language to describe how grateful I am towards the dog. They are truly an incredible species in both history and ability. I challenge you to name an animal so loyal; so diverse; so helpful and yet so kind. (Frankly, I know dogs with better values than some humans.)

On a slightly different note, dogs are a delightful case of evolution in which cooperation and domesticity were considered fitter than aggression and strength.

I don’t mean to be a cat hater, I swear, but in my mind there is no comparison.

Firearms: CONTROL-ALT-DELETE

Students in Parkland, Florida, came to school on an ordinary Valentine’s Day morning. What they didn’t know was the terror that they would have to endure later. Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year-old ex-student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed seventeen people in yet another mass shooting. While this is a major  tragedy, we cannot forget the shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and more.

These mass shootings have a direct correlation to the adaptation of the Second Amendment. Second Amendment was written in 1791, two years after the adoption of the Constitution. This amendment stated that Americans have the right to bear arms, or to own a firearm. Ever since the passing of this amendment in 1791, the gun has modernized to fit the wants of American citizens and the US military. From revolvers to shotguns and from pistols to automatic weapons, guns have become a part of American culture that will be difficult to alter.

The issue with the Second Amendment is that different people interpret the meaning of it in different ways. This leads to the confusion we have today over modern gun reform and the debate between pro and anti-gun.

Mass shootings are happening on a regular basis. The first major mass shooting to bring national attention to the issue was the shooting at the University of Texas- Austin bell tower in 1966. Ever since, hundreds of mass shootings have occurred, seemingly with more people dying in each one. The largest mass shootings have been the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, and the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The latest shooting, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, brought major attention to the solution, and not as much the shooting itself.

With all of the recent activity involving guns and mass shootings, there needs to be some regulations. Guns should have many restrictions put in place, such as background checks, age restrictions and banning of automatic weapons to ensure the safety of others over the personal freedom of gun owners.

But why should we have gun control?

The United States has much higher rates of gun ownership than any other country in the world. The US makes up less than five percent of the world’s population but still accounts for 31 percent of all mass shooters. Our homicide rates are over 25 times higher than any other first world country, with the runner-up being Finland. Americans own more guns per capita than any other citizen in the world, and Americans own about half of all civilian guns worldwide. With statistics like these, it is clear that America has a major gun problem.

With that many guns at the people’s dispense, it isn’t a surprise that we have so many issues with gun-related fatalities. In 2018 alone, there have been over 10,300 gun violence related injuries, with there being over 2,700 subsequent deaths. While millions of people harmlessly own guns in this country, we need to put the safety of future victims in front of personal freedoms.

Lawmakers should first focus on making sure people are unable to purchase an automatic or semiautomatic weapon — period. Automatic guns are weapons of war that have no ethical use in the hands of a civilian. The only people who should own this type of weaponry are highly trained police officers and any trained soldier in the military. There is no logical reason for a normal civilian to have this type of gun, let alone a mentally unstable person like some of those involved in many of today’s mass shootings.

One specific gun continues to be used in the nation’s largest and most devastating shootings: the AR-15. Shooters used this semiautomatic weapon in Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Las Vegas, Pulse Nightclub, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and others. The excuse that this gun is a way of personal protection is completely
absurd, especially when one could have a pistol or a taser and use it just as effectively. This gun is not necessary to have, and it is an example of the first steps we need to make towards gun control.

In a poll conducted on a small group of Carrboro sophomores, almost all were in agreement that there should be more gun control than we currently have. 92.3 per- cent said that there should be, while 7.7 percent said there should only be partial gun reform. In the same poll, 76.9 percent said that automatic and semiautomatic guns should not be allowed for purchase by a normal citizen while 23.1 percent said that they were not sure.

It is clear that firearms have a negative impact on our modern society and cause lots of unnecessary deaths. It is time that we, as a community, stand up and fight the current position of our government on guns. After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, many people felt distraught with grief for loved ones lost and wounded. Mass shootings have become a pattern in this country, and that in itself needs to be changed.

Events like these leave us wondering: When will the next one occur? When will another shooting be condemned, and then not acted upon? When will it happen to me?

Backpacks weigh on CHS students

Let’s face it: most of us go through the school day with sore shoulders. Why? Well, students today bring many things to school daily: laptops, binders, notebooks, pencil cases and charging cables. All of these items are stored in the backpacks we carry every day.

Even in the modern day, where many schools are making their transition from paper to online assignments, the load that many students bear each day has not been lessened.

I personally struggle to haul my backpack around on a daily basis, and it seems that I’m not the only one.

In a Jagwire survey of 25 students, 92 percent said that they were weighed down daily by their heavy backpacks, and the majority of that 92 percent said that they carried a lot more than they thought was required.

Most of those surveyed carried a laptop, notebook or binder for each class and textbooks on occasion. I carry so much — including two binders, a three-subject notebook, a laptop, a regular notebook and separate textbook, a notebook for an online class, a pencil case, chargers, an umbrella and my wallet — that my backpack weighs more than 10 lbs.

This issue of backpack weight at Carrboro’s seems to be related to a lack of locker use, as 92 percent of those surveyed also said that they did not have a locker. Of the two people who said that they had a locker, only one of them said that they used it.

The reason for that is likely the same as it is for me; I don’t have the time to visit my locker between classes, and it’s much more convenient to carry all my things around with me.

It seems we care more about the convenience of having everything with us more than having less weighing down our shoulders. This is most likely a result of the amount of time students are given to travel between each of their classes, as three minutes is not enough time to visit a locker and make it to class.

There is also the option of storing your stuff for afternoon classes in lockers and visiting it at lunch to retrieve them while putting away morning class material. Yet there’s a problem in that too since you’d have to retrieve things at the end of the day as well.

If you’re like me and you have to catch a bus, then you too probably likely feel that it would be a pain to visit a locker and try to get all your things as quick as possible.

I’d say the best solution to avoiding the death of my shoulders is to get a lighter load, but how?

A good option is to buy lighter supplies. So ditch that fancy binder and opt for some expandable pocket files and notebooks with lighter paper. Choose only three to four pens to bring to school, and discard any documents you won’t need in the future.

Avoid bringing large chargers for laptops and such if your laptop can survive on low-battery mode, or don’t bring a laptop at all, since CHS often provides them in classes for students.

You should re-organize your backpack often as well, though being a little more minimalistic will also help save you time in that process of reorganization. It doesn’t seem like teachers will stop making you carry all those multi-subject notebooks and binders any time soon, so us students have to take action ourselves.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

Teenage tipping point

You and your friends are at a restaurant. You’ve finished eating and have gotten your bill. Ignoring the tip line completely, you pay only for the food itself — you’re on a tight budget as you use up the last of your birthday money or meager savings from your part-time job. After all, the tip is optional.

If what I just described rings a bell, we need to talk.

When I started working at a restaurant, I didn’t understand why my coworkers would covertly groan at the sight of, say, five teenagers entering the door. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily offended by teen stereotypes (no, we’re not all lazy, and yes, we can function without our phones.) But their vexation makes sense to me now. It isn’t uncommon for a table of teens to order $75 worth of food but leave only three or four bucks in tips (a five percent tip, in case you’re mathematically-challenged like I am). Teammates binging after a grueling practice, friends celebrating a sixteenth birthday, servers preparing for financial letdowns — it’s a disappointing pattern.

The truth is that most employers pay their servers just over $2 an hour. This low wage may shock people as most would assume everyone in food service makes at least the NC minimum wage of $7.25. But, as outlined by the US Department of Labor, there’s a caveat: if a server makes $30 in tips per month, his or her employer can opt to pay a so-called tipping wage of $2.13.

On a good night, when there is sufficient flow of customers who all tip fifteen or twenty percent, a tipping wage isn’t an issue. In fact, servers can make significantly more than they would under a $8 or $9 hourly wage. But on a bad night, when customers skimp on tips (yeah, I’m talking to you), an hour of work is barely enough to buy a Starbucks coffee.

There are various reasons why one might not tip. Sometimes you have to wait too long for food. Sometimes the food tastes bad. Granted, these problems are annoying, but they are no reason not to tip; you tip for the service, not the food. Did your server bring you your drink, take your order, answer your questions, and bring your check? Then tip them. (Keep in mind that they’ll also be cleaning your table after you leave.)

There are many questions about tipping that I’m unqualified to answer: for example, is a tipping wage really the best option? Would a fixed hourly wage be better? These questions are important ones, but in the meantime, we can all agree that $2.13 an hour just isn’t enough.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

Class rank: a broken system

For those who do not remember, or don’t know at all, CHCCS students take a math exam in the fifth grade that determines their eligibility for participation in an accelerated math track throughout middle and high school. Score in the 95th percentile or higher, and a student begins taking advanced math classes earlier than their peers, in turn allowing their high school GPA (and class rank) to rise.

Throughout CHCCS, this practice warps class ranks. As detailed
in a letter that the district has distributed — though not widely so — via email, CHCCS class rankings have an outsize dependence on a student’s math courses. This letter itself was written by former Carrboro Principal Dr. Laverne Mattocks.

In the letter, CHCCS’s class rank inadequacies are detailed: “By beginning high school courses in middle school, students on the accelerated pathways often complete additional advanced math classes in high school allowing them to potentially accumulate a higher weighted GPA than students who did [not] complete high school courses in middle school,” said Mattocks.

This system of sorting students into accelerated and non-accelerated math tracks splits them into two sections. One section is inherently restricted in their possible class rank and GPA achievements, while the other gets a head start on building a strong academic profile.

The manifestation of this effect is as follows: any student who did not gain admission to the accelerated math track in middle school is at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to their high school GPA and class rank.

How much of a disadvantage? Those students who did not take advanced courses in middle school and who continue on the standard math track in high school are unlikely, according to CHS parent Joy Diamond-Speer, to score a GPA high enough to put them in the top 30 percent of their class

Just let that sink in for a second.

The result of one math test, which students took in their final year of elementary school, is the determinant of whether or not they are easily able to achieve a class rank in the top 30 percent through all four years of their high school careers.

Not only does this class-ranking fallacy feed into the endemic achievement gap that CHCCS struggles with, it also disadvantages an even larger sect of students: those for whom math is not a strong subject.

This article is a challenging one for me to write, as I’m a student who has excelled at Carrboro High. I’m also seemingly anomalous when it comes to class rank; I was not a part of the accelerated math track, yet I have worked hard and achieved a top-tier rank.

The only way I was able to achieve that, though, was because I took advantage of something of a oddity in the math courses at CHS: Math III-PC. This means that I took Math III and Precalculus in a single course, which is something that currently entails a double period of math in a student’s schedule.

All of this is to say that achieving a top-tier class rank at CHCCS is already of outsize difficulty, yet it’s all but impossible if you are not a student who excels in their math courses as early as fifth grade.

The CHCCS district has met with CHS parents, including Joy Diamond-Speer, in regards to this issue, yet they “haven’t gotten clear information on a plan to change the system moving forward,” Diamond-Speer said in an email.

Furthermore, very little is being done to help current students understand the current state of class ranking at CHCCS.

There needs to be more transparency from the district when it comes to the system behind ranking students, as well as other metrics of student achievement in high school such as GPA. It benefits administrators, teachers and the student body alike for students to understand how these things work. We students are quite used to being compared, measured and scored, but we much prefer it when we know just how those things are being metered.

How much GPA really matters

With every day more letters in response to seniors’ college applications arrive in Carrboro students’ mailboxes. With each one, some students will be able to rejoice and relax, while others will not. Some seniors will find out that they didn’t quite make the cut, and will head back to the drawing board to reconfigure their dream to fit their second, third or even fourth choice school. Maybe their dream school was looking for someone more well rounded, maybe their essay should have been edited one more time or maybe their GPA just wasn’t good enough.

The thought of someone’s future riding on a cumulative grade point average, accrued over the course of four of the most vulnerable and formative years of someone’s personal life, is inconceivable — yet some admission counselors consider it indicative of an applicant’s worth, and GPA is used to argue for or against thousands of students’ acceptance every day.

GPA is only one component of the application process; however, it is often used by a student as the metric to decide if you could realistically get into a given school. For example, someone with a 2.1 GPA would most likely not apply to Harvard, where an admitted students average unweighted GPA is 3.95. (Unweighted GPA is calculated on a 4.0 scale.)

This conditioned way of assessing the likelihood of being accepted into a school can build a defeatist mentality in students, often causing them to avoid applying to schools that seem like too much of a reach. The definition of a “reach” school varies from person to person; to one person it may be a school with a marginal acceptance rate, and to yet another it could be a school with an average GPA one point higher than theirs.

Although GPA is beginning to carry less weight on an application, this three digit number can sometimes be the difference of getting in versus not getting into the school of one’s dreams.

Due to the GPA’s trivial importance, schools are beginning to institute what they call “holistic reviews,” meaning they will look at an applicant’s qualifications collectively, and make a decision based on all parts in conjunction with each other. These holistic reviews are being created to ensure no single metric serves a large role in deciding a student’s admission or denial. This millennial way of assessment has given students some leeway in certain areas of their applications — such as GPA — where there was none before.

While GPA is becoming less signifi- cant to applications on the whole, things like a student’s ACT score, how many extracurriculars a student partakes in or how many service-learning hours a student has accrued are becoming increasingly more important.

As you apply to college, take a deep breath and consider your chances from multiple angles – not just on whether or not your GPA is “good” enough.

Second semester senioritis

January 29 marked the start of the last semester of high school for the class of 2018; the momentous occasion comes along with the inevitable crash some (most) seniors experience. Whether you call it the senior slump, senioritis or senior slide, seniors become unmotivated to complete their daily academic tasks.

The cause of the slide comes from the lack of motivation following the completion of college applications.

“Everyday, I don’t feel the need to finish work, or do work, particularly because I am done with all of my college [applications],” said senior Rhiannon Curtis.

Due to the four previously rigorous years of high school, most seniors only need to take a couple more courses to fulfill the graduation requirement, meaning that many of their courses are electives.

“The fact that I only have two classes that actually matter toward graduation, and the rest do not matter at all adds to the lack of motivation,” said Curtis.

Though senioritis can often lead students to procrastinate or plainly not com- plete some assignments, the cramming comes in at the end of the grading period.

“I focus on major deadlines, like tests and projects, anything that can have a major impact on your grade,” said Curtis. As inevitable as the senior slump can be, coming back from it is the most essential part.

CHS School Counselor, Bari Sholomon, advices seniors to be cautious of letting things slide.

“If you’ve already been admitted into college, just remember that a college can rescind an offer of admission, especially because this year admission has been so competitive,” said Sholomon.

The main concern with senioritis is college admissions offices noticing a major downfall between first and second semesters.

If you feel yourself becoming less motivated as the year goes on, make sure to narrow your focus on specific classes.

“You will have APs at the end of this year, so if a college takes those scores it will be less classes you will have to take when you get there,” said Sholomon.

Even though college seems like the goal, it is just the beginning of another four, or more, years of learning. Maintaining a solid academic rhythm will ease the transition into your next step.

“You should definitely think about the present rather than the future. When you are a senior, your whole year surrounds organizing your future, so you lose track of what is important right now. If you think about how everything right now impacts your future, it will motivate many to work right now,” said Curtis.

GMOs: our friends, not our foes

Whether I’m getting coffee with a friend, grabbing a quick bite for lunch or just picking up some groceries, I spend a lot of time at Weaver Street Market. (I know I’m boujee, but have you tried their tofu spring rolls?)

For those of you who somehow have not made it to this classic Chapel Hill/Carrboro institution, Weaver Street is a health food co-op which, like many higher-end grocery stores, prides itself on foods that are high quality, organic and non-GMO. I love Weaver Street, but this third criterion bugs me — a lot.

GMOs have been a topic of hot debate over the past decade, but especially in recent years. Still, many Americans are fairly uniformed on the topic.

A 2016 study from the University of Florida found that while 84 percent of those surveyed were in favor of labeling products containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients, 80 percent were also in favor of labeling foods containing DNA. (Ironic, because all plants contain DNA.)

Let’s start with a simple question: what are GMOs? GMO stands for genetically modified organism. GM plants have had new genes inserted into their DNA, oftentimes to make crops larger, pest/drought resistant or healthier overall.

In 2016, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a far reaching report asserting that there is no evidence for GM foods being less safe or healthy than foods that are not genetically modified. Almost all contemporary research agrees. However, some individuals are still skeptical.

The stigma against GMOs may come largely from a perception that they are unnatural and therefore unhealthy. Though we can wrap our minds around transfusing blood from one person to another, it’s too far-fetched, apparently, to transfer DNA between organisms.

To all the anti-GMO activists, I hate to be the one to tell you, but we’ve been modifying crops for way longer than genetic engineering technology has existed.

Take a moment to Google “watermelon painting, 17th century.” Looks nothing like the fruit we know and love, right? Watermelons are just one example of how crops have changed drastically thanks to humans. Like genetic modification, other well-accepted plant breeding techniques, such as artificial selection and hybridization, fundamentally change a crop’s genome. Without them, your dinner table would look incredibly different — in a bad way.

I find it disconcerting that people can look at all of the scientific evidence proving that GMOs are safe and effective and still think they’re scary or dangerous.

To the anti-GMO activists: you cannot pick and choose which scientific literature to believe and which not to. You cannot yell at anti-vaxxers or creationists to “believe in science” or “come into the 21st century” while also asserting that “Monsanto is NOT going to put that gene in my tomato,” without being a hypocrite.

Another thing anti-GMO activists should know is that their actions have real consequences. One huge point in favor of GMOs which has not been brought up yet is their ability to save literally millions of lives in developing countries.

Foods like rice and sweet potatoes can be fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients, preventing malnutrition in susceptible populations. Anti-GMO rhetoric not only ignores these life saving advancements, but decreases their popularity and likelihood to be funded.

Like with any technology, there are ways for GMOs to be abused. For example, wind can spread pesticides intended for crops that are engineered to be resistant to the pesticide to non-GMO crops, killing them. However, this is not an argument against GMOs as a whole, it’s an argument about one way they can be used: an important distinction.

While I’m always one for a good discussion, in recent years that of GMOs has been dominated by fear, misinformation and unhelpful Gwyneth Paltrow ads. Let’s believe science on this one and start worrying about more important things.

Illustration by Ruby Handa

How Many Valen-times Must I Buy You Chocolate?

For me, Valentine’s day is the day I don’t get any Singing Grams, but in all fairness, it’s more fun to sit back and watch others get sung to anyways.

My problem with Valentine’s Day is that, for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a societal pressure to buy stuff for someone else, even if it’s something small, like a small box of candies. It’s gotten to the point where Walmart has its own guide on what gifts to buy based on the stage of one’s relationship.

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day celebrations miss the point of the holiday. If you’re meant to celebrate loved ones and friends, why have we settled on buying each other cards with clichéd text and candies attached?

More than likely, it’s because showing up without candy made you look bad. One of my worst memories from elementary schools was not getting a lollipop card combo from a kid I thought was my friend. I may have cried a bit.

Behind the seemingly innocent celebration lie advertisers trying to take advantage of the holiday to sell their company’s goods. I can’t say I blame marketers for doing their jobs, but these practices do conflict with the holiday’s spirit.

However, is Valentine’s Day the only holiday to blame? Most others are on a completely different level of sales-based propaganda. Christmas, for example, has become so commercially oversaturated store chains adorn their aisles with the typical shiny string and tree ornaments before Thanksgiving. Not to mention the Holiday “sales” where the seller drastically increases the price of their goods only then to return them to original price and claim a price reduction.

Valentine’s Day gets a bad rep because people see that it isn’t the innocent holiday from their childhoods, but just something one has to deal with in general in our commercially driven society.

Though at first it may feel like an evil force designed to make you spend money, I’ve come to realize it doesn’t differ from anything else sold or traded in life. I try enjoy the holiday and try not to think about marketers or sales and such.