It’s no surprise that upon entering the month of February, the sight of paper heart cutouts, the scent of fresh flowers being sold, the touch of affection from a special someone, the sounds of love songs drifting in the breeze, and the mingled taste of sweetness and bitterness among taken and single people would be abundant. Certainly, love is in the air because every year, on the 14th of the said month, we celebrate the very much anticipated Valentine’s Day. It is a day that most couples look forward to and at the same time, contrasted by feelings of disgust by those that are either bitter or single. But amidst the joyous festivities that this day so clearly holds, there are matters and issues outside the boundaries of love that cannot be controlled nor have been expected in the first place. Racism against black people and those of Asian descent, abuse against men and women, the misuse of social media platforms, changes in climate patterns, mental disorders, and the spread of the Novel Coronavirus are some of the few examples of what’s currently happening in today’s society.
There is a contrast in terms of the level of interest and enthusiasm about people’s viewpoints with regards to these issues in comparison to articles and posts that talk about love.
Nothing is wrong against openly expressing romanticism online or talking about one’s romantic interests. It is completely normal and understandable. However, it is noticeable that whenever serious issues are being brought up or talked about in programs, announcements, and symposiums, almost everyone falls deaf and undaunted. As if these do not concern them. As if these do not happen in the world they’re living in. Their attention flutters somewhere else; sometimes you would catch students stifling yawns or exchanging gossips under their breaths instead of lending an ear to even listen and grasp the essence of what is being discussed. Snap them out of their trances? Utter the word “love” and a collective gasp would surely fill your ears. Sighs of “ooh’s” and “aah’s” would reverberate within the enclosed space. What once were droopy eyes would suddenly light up in sudden attention. An excited buzz would swarm in the air as the conversation would momentarily shift to love.
In scrolling down our news feeds, we encounter different links and articles. But which ones do we usually click first? One that screams of a new on-screen couple or one that talks about the situation of the people who are in Wuhan? There is a difference in perspective and curiosity in the youth these days and it is evident on the posts that they share and the thoughts that they express online.
But the question still remains. Why are people these days, especially teenagers, so drawn to the topic about love yet swerve from issues that are just as relevant, if not more?
As shared by one of the male students from the University of Antique: “I think that one of the reasons why they prefer to focus their attention on love is because kids as young as 12 or 13 are already involved in relationships. Even though social media exists in today’s world, there are still some who remain unbothered by current existing issues because dating can also happen online.”
A female student also told her insights regarding this matter. “Between social issues and showbiz news related about love, I’m more updated on the latter. I think that it’s more relatable and because love is an emotion that we both feel and experience. It makes my heart race since I’m also an avid reader of Wattpad books.”
There are some students who believe that the height of interest depends on how others are raised in their households and where their enthusiasm truly lies.
One of the most talked about issue these days is the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. This is a virus that brings causes different illnesses, ranging from mild colds to more severe ones such as pneumonia and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Awareness has been brought to the students and precautionary measures were taken. Like what the old saying tells us, “Prevention is better than cure”. Students at the University of Antique were strongly advised on what to do in order to avoid the virus. Pamphlets have been handed out room to room in order to emphasize standard recommendations such as washing their hands regularly, the use of facemask (if necessary), having their temperatures checked regularly, and to avoid crowded places since the virus most often spreads among close contacts. Once respiratory droplets are produced by an infected person, there is a possibility that it could land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or inhaled into the lungs. There is much to uncover from this but as of recent, this is one of the most common mode of the virus’ transmission.
However, since we’re in the middle of the month of February and the celebration of Happy Heart’s Day, students simply can’t stay away from one another. The thought of being able to spend the day with their loved ones thrilled them so much that all worries about the virus seemed to be forgotten temporarily. Physical contact among them can easily be observed as they hug in the corridors or simply walk hand-in-hand.
Anarose Agustin from the Guidance Office said what she had in mind regarding the students during Valentine’s.
“It was stated that, for the meantime, there would be no skinship among students because of the threat of the Novel Coronavirus. But since it’s Valentine’s Day, I think that it can’t be helped. But we can’t generalize everyone who’s in a relationship about their awareness regarding this. I think there are those who care about what’s going on around them; it’s just that love seems to prevail at the moment.”
Whether a person is single or currently committed in a relationship, it is important that one should stay vigilant with his surroundings. Every once in a while, check the latest news updates or check the different trending issues in social media platforms. Today is that very special day in a year where people could express their love towards one another. Love can be shown not just through love letters, roses, and confessions but also raising awareness and emphasizing the importance of discussing issues concerning health, politics, climate and racial diversity, just to name a few. Loving is caring, that much is true. But to what extent can we show that we truly care? We have access to the Internet and we scroll through our feeds on a daily basis. One of the small and simple steps that we can do is to share posts that tackle the aforementioned matters that need more attention. There are cases where some incidents aren’t reported on the media due to the lack of coverage or notice; sometimes, the only sources that you have are the people who are experiencing it.
Seize this day as the day that we show our love. Not just the romantic kind but also the kind of love that encompasses around the globe and touches the lives of other people. Speak your thoughts up, don’t be afraid to tackle serious issues, and voice your opinions out.
There is love in speaking on behalf of the voiceless.
There is love in fighting for what’s right.
There is love in raising awareness and informing people about matters they’re not familiar with.
There is love in standing up to what you believe in.