Heart-shaped, lace doilies stuck to red construction paper with glue dripping from edges. Tootsie pops poked down the middle of a Care Bears valentine. On the desk just a few seats over, handfuls of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles valentines telling you to "Cowabunga into a radical Valentine's Day!" Pencils with heart-shaped erasers placed delicately on the corner of each student's desk by a favorite second-grade teacher. Valentine's Day of years past seemed so simple, but with the years, our memories change just as we do. Valentine's Day was not just another holiday in grade school. All holidays meant a party, but on Valentine's Day the room moms always brought extra candy and streamers galore.

As kids, we knew this day was our chance to waste an entire day of learning just to spend hours dropping unmarked valentines in each classmate's brown paper bag mailbox. Okay, so we actually did some work, like our vocab in the morning while the moms set up. Still, it was just like a snow day! Come high school, even eighth grade, the parties became extinct.

The importance of our education was stressed now more than ever. Grades started "counting" towards college, driver's ed became essential, and you no longer told Tommy Too Cute that you liked him through a valentine; instead, you asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Things had changed. Suddenly it was just a Hallmark holiday to you and your single friends. Enter college. At this point, if you were dating someone in high school who was your valentine, a number of scenarios were possible, including, but not limited to: 1.

The guy / girl turned out to be a complete jerk and is now dating your ex-best-friend who still has your favorite shirt in his / her closet. 2. He / she chose a scholarship out of state over you (as if! ). 3. You were just too strong to be held back by the chains of commitment and opted to wring out his / her heart like a soaked kitchen towel.

Choose your scenario then consider why you are single on this Valentine's Day in college. Realize that being single is not something to be upset over. Look around at all of your friends, your family, even your roommate. This year celebrate with one of them. Spend that $3.49 on an overpriced pop-up Hallmark card.

Stuff your face with a giant heart-shaped box of Walgreen's chocolate. Rent Sleepless in Seattle and cry. Who needs an excuse to rent a classic, eat chocolate and shop, even if it is just in the card aisles of Hallmark. Perhaps you are rolling your eyes at this paper muttering, "Annie! Have you at all considered the possibility that some of us do have significant others? In fact, the love of my life sits quietly to my left gazing at my every move as I read your Pulitzer Prize article on Valentine's Day.

I'm not in mourning over an ex, I'm in love!" Well, my friend, hats off to you. Take this day to stick a post-it adorned with sweet nothings on that special someone's windshield. Send them a rose in their 9 a.m. history lecture or mail them a lace doily valentine a week in advance. As the years pass, the tradition of Valentine's Day changes. And with age, comes wisdom.

Whether you " re vibrantly single or contently committed, remember this February 14 how simple it was in first grade. Our valentines weren't colored inside the lines, we gave the boy we never let swing us a candy heart and we even shared our crayons. Most importantly we thought with our hearts.