This week – and Thursday in particular – is often either glorious or pure torture for high school students. (Or at least for the girls. I get the feeling there are plenty of high school boys who don’t really notice or care?)

Here’s what happened during my 4 years of High School Valentine’s Days:

Freshman year: A secret admirer gave me a stuffed Dopey doll (of the Seven Dwarfs fame). I hoped it was a different special someone than it turned out to be, but had a lovely time feeling admired nevertheless.

Sophomore year: Sat around grousing with a Senior friend about how horrible Valentine’s Day was when you’re alone. We decided to hang out that night, and ended up at an outdoors flower market and bought flowers for each other. There was a sense of innocence and ease between us. It was the start of a very sweet – if also very short – relationship.

Junior year: I was an exchange student in Germany, and was depressed in a general sense about my life. Looking back, I’m sure it was from a terrible lack of sun that I’m used to here in Texas.

Senior year: My boyfriend left a carpet of rose petals from my front door to my car door, where he had tucked in a calligraphy poem he wrote to me. Flowers were delivered to me at school, and he took me out for a romantic dinner that night. We probably made out afterwards, or maybe had sex. Romance at the highest level!

Looking back now, I think my sophomore year Valentine’s Day was my favorite. There was no stress, there was no judgment, there was no expectation about the night itself or about the good-bye kiss. My worst was hands-down my time in Germany.

What was your favorite Valentine’s Day during High School? What was the worst? What did you learn from those experiences?