By Vivian Lam
Ah, Spring and its subtle manifestations of fertility: from the heady smell of burgeoning flowers, to the musky moistness of morning mist, the swollen oak knobs lengthening into sturdy branches for birds to perch and caterpillars to dangle at mouth level, the light sheen of sweat on our foreheads glisten under the sun as we sit on the exquisitely sculpted mounds of grass in the engineering quad and pop ripe cherries into our mouths, lick sweet watermelon juices running down our chins. All in all, it’s a pretty sensationally arousing experience.
And yet, in spite of nature’s subtle encouragement for all living things to get to know each other better, these efforts serve nothing more but to remind you of your raging allergies and just how alone you are in this densely populated yet largely romantically unavailable world. Even the squirrels have reached levels of friskiness you haven’t experienced since you learned that the box in the bathroom cabinet wasn’t just a pack of individually wrapped water balloons and rubber statuettes.
Perhaps you’ve recently discovered that forever only lasted for two years, two months, two weeks, two days, two minutes. Perhaps you’ve been single afTM your entire life, and have become convinced that this crushing feeling of loneliness has been stifling you from the day you were put in a plastic bin isolated among a sea of wrinkled neonates in a nondescript nursery. Perhaps you’re happily single afTM and just want an emphatically platonic friend. However seasoned your singledom may be, the question of whether or not you’ll “spot your flower” is almost rhetorical.
I know that this distinctly magical period of your life has been aggressively advertised as a place of self-transformation, adventure, and unbounded freedom. Certainly romance and swooning job offers were part of that package deal—I mean, what’s the main purpose of higher education other than finding a soul mate and finding the means to blockade yourself from the world with a white picket fence and continuous air conditioning?
But sometimes it’s hard to chill when the majority of your friend group has the license to physically attach themselves to another being and carefully document every vaguely cute selfie on Instagram and Facebook. You have every right to feel frustrated or sad when everyone in Tressider is gazing lovingly into a pair of eyes, a tinted laptop screen, a PSet due in less than 30 minutes. Do not repress your penetrating psychosomatic yearning into Freudian submission.
So perhaps you’ll find yourself standing before your reflection and throwing caustic curses at it—about how awkward, ugly, and incompetent you are; how you were destined to die alone in the company of 50 potty-trained cats and/or collector’s model train sets. But there’s absolutely no empirical evidence that you will die alone in this world as the resident crazy cat lady or the independent man who moans as they lie down train tracks in their Special Man Space.
Firstly, when you’re competing with dead, incoherently eloquent people, small font, and screens that light up the night at 3AM, it’s no surprise that it’s difficult to find someone who will really look at you—Stanford is not exactly a love commune (for the most part). The probability that you and some other person will have made intense enough eye contact to ascertain the rawest portion of their soul and their HMC signatures is, in all likelihood, quite slim.
Secondly, you’ve only lived some two, three decades of life (the majority of which was likely spent on crayon masterpieces and ritual protection from cooties). You have time. Even if you only end up finding someone at age 70 (unless you’re Ed Sheeran), there’s still plenty of potential for romance and intense action.
Finally, you shouldn’t have to change yourself to make people like you more. We live in a land of continual progress and self-fashioning, and it’s great to always seek self-improvement. But as much as there isn’t one straight path to “success,” there isn’t a singular type of human being that will ensure “love.” Find people who will accept you as you are, and never settle for anything less.
In the meanwhile, we’ll learn to be happy with ourselves. If anything, we can sign a non-procreation pact together and do our part to save the world from overpopulation and spare yet nonexistent human beings from the suffering and despair inherent in being alive. And we can still have a grand ‘ol time in these best few years of our entire lives.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
“I love watermelon juices”