{shortcode-dac758fa9b995af17efab6de105a8a78e57b6885}My friends will tell you that one of my main three personality traits is making handmade cards for other people. So when I brought 20 rolls of washi tape and a whole stack of colored and patterned paper to college, I worried that it might be overkill. But by the time winter break came around, my stash of supplies was almost depleted. My trip home was a much-needed opportunity to stock up again, just in time for this year’s holiday of love.

For context, the last time I mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards was in 3rd grade. However, since my card-making skills were quite lacking back in elementary school, I decided that Valentine’s Day 2022 would be my chance to redeem myself.

So last Saturday, I grabbed a friend, made a quick stop at the Holworthy First Year Arts Room, and proceeded to turn her common room upside down as I pooled supplies on the floor. (See the picture above if you don’t believe me). In retrospect, this article should have been titled “How I Spent Three Hours on A Saturday Afternoon Making Cards to Procrastinate My Psets,” because that’s exactly what happened. I came up with an impressive number of dollie, washi tape, sticker, and stamp combinations.With a few dozen cards made, I decided that I had enough to give one to every single person in my Expos 20 class.

But on the big day, somewhere along my 12-minute walk to Expos 20, I had my third existential crisis of the week. What if my classmates thought I was weird for giving them a Valentine’s Day card and refused to partner with me for the peer review on Wednesday? What if one of their significant others put me — the random girl who gave the love of their life a pink construction paper heart with “XOXO” washi tape all over it — on their hit list? What if my hard work was left in the recycling bin at 11:46 a.m. on the way out of the classroom?

Suddenly, I could no longer work up the courage to hand my hearts out to the bros in my Expos 20. What value would they assign to my love? I tried, I really tried. But sometimes Flyby tries and fails. Still, with 30 cards left, I started brainstorming other people I could give cards to and soon, I had a whole new list of card recipients: my entire entryway (they’re basically my college homeroom, right?), the wonderful HUDS staff at Annenberg, and, of course, some close friends sprinkled in.

I roamed the Yard, knocking on doors, dropping off cards, and getting bested by the lack of elevators in the freshman dorms. Perhaps my favorite encounter of the day was when one of my friends beat me and gave me a card before I could give her mine. Hers was even complete with a heart eraser that smelled like berries. (Wow, the joy when love isn’t one-sided?!)

Overall, this experience warmed my heart and made my Valentine’s Day. There’s something special about expressing your love through cursive and construction paper for everyone from the guys who live two floors below you to your Datamatches (true story!) to your college best friends.

Maybe just handing out KitKats would have generated as much enthusiasm. But still, I hope that my carefully cut-out paper hearts have found a place in the hearts of their recipients.