Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

I consider high school a time of self-discovery. I personally feel that high school has been the most formative experience for me as an individual – I’ve not only developed a much stronger set of opinions regarding issues most important to me, but I also have a greater capacity for self-reflection and overall awareness of the world and its intricacies. I’m observant and much more mature when faced with challenging situations. I sincerely feel that these personal characteristics, which I consider among the most important to my character, would be severely underdeveloped had I made the decision to be in a relationship(s) in high school.

It’s no secret that a lot of people feel pressured to be in a relationship in high school – it’s almost a rite of passage to the next stage of a teenager’s life. This mindset has become so embedded in our culture that a lot of youngsters end up in relationships even if they’re not attracted to the person they end up “dating”. I have witnessed this rather interesting phenomenon on more than one occasion and in these situations, it really seems rather pointless to be in a relationship when a friendship could be much more meaningful.

I’ve never felt it necessary to have a relationship in high school, especially after seeing how much time my friends dedicate, at all hours of the day, to their significant others. In this day and age of technology and social media, teenagers can communicate with their partners on a multitude of different online platforms in addition to text messaging and video phone calls. These methods prolong interaction for perhaps much longer than is actually necessary to maintain a healthy relationship. Some of my peers sacrifice so much of their personal and academic lives to be in a relationship that they seem to end up regressing, instead of progressing, an unfortunate consequence of neglecting the activities, hobbies, passions, or close friends who also make them better people. There’s also a noticeable lack of worldly awareness among those who choose to pursue relationships in high school; some of these individuals aren’t as informed about current affairs and important news as they could be because they’re living in a comfortable bubble in which nothing else exists.

Having maturity and insight is an integral part of any relationship – romantic or otherwise. A great deal of maturity in a romantic relationship however, is demonstrated by understanding that what we see on TV or in the movies isn’t reality. From what I’ve gleaned from Twitter, a social media platform on which people love to complain about their loneliness or wish for romantic love stories like The Notebook, most of my peers expect to have storybook romances that just aren’t feasible in real life. The simple fact is that in high school, teenagers don’t really know what they should want from a relationship or how to conduct themselves in a proper one. A large part of this is due to the fact that many teenagers don’t take the necessary time in high school to understand themselves before they pursue relationships.

High schoolers have a tendency to view the phrase ‘the single life’ in a negative light. This has ended up happening to such an extreme degree that the phrase is used to mock, insult, or suggest a personal shortcoming. In fact, more than anything else, being single or being in a relationship is what seems to give high schoolers their identities, and that shouldn’t be the case. High school is the crucial time that you should use to have fun with great friends, learn more about yourself, and hone personal skills and interests. Avoid the stress and drama often borne out of high school relationships because, though I hate to be cynical, it’s not necessary to spend so much time working on something that may not survive past your high school days.

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