Ask An Editor: Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Q: I don’t know what to get my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Got any tips?

A: Shopping for significant others can be tricky. Here are a few options to (hopefully) win her heart:

1. Just ask
Asking is the easiest way to find out what she wants. You may feel awkward by being so direct, but she will probably appreciate that you really want to buy something she would love.

2. Stick with the obvious
If you have been together for a while, you probably know her favorite stores and restaurants. Gift cards to these places are great, especially for college students. If her favorite band is coming to town, try to score some tickets. Favorite lotion? There’s a Bath & Body Works coupon for that.

3. Listen and observe
When you are with her, be attentive to what she says and does. If she mentions she lost her makeup blender, go to a cosmetics store and pick one up. She will be excited about the sponge, but more excited you listened. If she looks at something in a store for more than three seconds and touches it, there’s a good chance she wants it. She will be impressed you noticed. Oh, stalk Pinterest too.

4. Pick some flowers
Flowers are simple and classic. Buy a dozen of her favorites. If you don’t know her favorite flower, pick some that are her favorite color. And when in complete doubt, you can almost never go wrong with roses.

5. Do something unexpected
Okay, don’t go crazy and rent a yacht or something (unless you have the means to do so), but doing something unexpected can be really neat. Go outside the norm. Handwrite a letter. Write her a song. Put together a photo collage for her wall. Paint or build something for her. Use your strengths and wit to do something cool – something she will cherish.

I hope you find the perfect gift.

– TNJN Editor


Have a question you’d like answered? Email your question to and an editor will respond promptly.

Ask An Editor: Should I try to move off campus?

Q: Housing decisions to stay on campus are due the second week of February. I’m a freshman, and I think I want to stay on campus, but all my friends are moving elsewhere. I feel weird being the only one left. Should I try to move off campus?

A: At last, the time has come for housing angst. Making decisions in college is difficult, especially when the decision regards substantial money sums and a place to nap. As a big decision, make sure it is your decision – do not let what everyone else is doing influence your choice.

I remember being in the same situation. My friends signed leases all over Knoxville while I was still trying to find the trash room in my hallway. I could not fathom moving off campus when I could barely find my way around my own dorm, let alone campus or Knoxville.

Sure, I felt weird being older and wanting to stay. But it was the right decision for me. I like being able to roll out of bed and walk straight to class. I like avoiding the famed University of Tennessee parking ticket often granted to commuters – commuters dismally late for class who opt to park on a sidewalk. I like having a place to nap between classes. Most importantly, I like the affordability of campus housing.

UT offers great options for student housing. Just walk by Volunteer Hall, for example. The building looks like a Hilton and is home to Southern Kitchen (whose sweet tea is manna from heaven). Word on the orange vine has it there are spots opening up there. Orange, White and Brown halls have comfortable furnishings and great spaces for studying. You just have to decide if price is right and if you want a private bedroom.

Are off campus apartments nice? There are quite a few lovely places to live. I like visiting friends with spacious living areas to unwind and chat. But living on campus has its perks too.

If you are worried about not seeing your friends, just remember: they have to come for class eventually. You can always invite them to your room/apartment or to lunch on campus.

As the cliché says, home is where the heart is. If you love campus, stay. Everyone is welcome on Rocky Top.

Best of luck in your decision.

– TNJN Editor

New Column: Ask An Editor

Do you have a problem you cannot quite solve? Have questions about campus? Need study tips? Want a lunch recommendation? The The Tennessee Journalist Editors are here to help!

This semester, TNJN welcomes a new advice column to help any Vol. Simply send an email with your problem or question to “Ask An Editor” will provide advice from an editor in a timely manner, and all persons will remain anonymous.

As the campus saying goes, Vols help Vols. We wish Vol Nation a great semester, and we are here to help along the way.

– TNJN Editorial Staff