PRO: Relationships benefit student growth
Written by Ken Yu
High school relationships are a topic that continuously faces heavy scrutiny among both students and faculty. There is no need to discourage them. In fact, they should be encouraged when the opportunity arises for one to develop. Relationships will ultimately benefit students in all aspects of life.
High school is not an easy journey, and students’ need for support greatly increases during this period. A relationship is an outstanding way to meet this need. Some household situations make it difficult for students to maintain their mental well-being, but a relationship with a significant other helps relieve that difficulty by providing an alternate and trusted place to confide in. Even for those fortunate enough to have multiple sources of emotional support, having a significant other provides a much more intimate space for students to truly be themselves with those they cherish.
As relationships mature, so do those involved. Students are exposed to unique experiences tied to essential skills through the form of planning dates, budgeting for gifts, and time management. These situations are only a slice of the experiences that can help build a student’s individual skill set. More importantly, students also grow their social skills as they develop emotionally, learning how to read subtle body language as well as improving their communication skills as they weather through the highs and lows.
Admittedly, relationships can become toxic and harmful and students have been warned they are “too young,” and that they do not know what it entails. While true, students are not as naive as they are made out to be, especially in the current culture of increased awareness and information about toxic relationships and support for those who find themselves in these situations. Students can also learn from these experiences, becoming able to identify when things become harmful from their firsthand experience as well as being in the position to support other students in similar situations.
High school relationships are not the superfluous flings that most perceive them to be. They are memories, whether they are ones warranting a bitter smile or embarrassed laugh. These same memories will undoubtedly help students grow and broaden their variety of experiences in preparation for life outside of high school.
CON: High school relationships are waste of time
Written by Nan Jiang
High school relationships almost seem like a mandatory walk of life. Experiencing a higher level of affection is something that teens struggle to pass up. Although relationships can be tempting, at the end of the day, they are mere distractions that lead nowhere.
A student’s main priority is their studies, something that actually helps them. A relationship during high school does nothing but distract students from their studies. It is complicated and mentally taxing to cultivate a relationship while limiting time for other responsibilities like schoolwork or after-school activities. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires a person to be dedicated to an interpersonal connection, a commitment that most teenagers do not have time for.
Most teenage relationships fail to survive after high school. It is hard for two people to maintain a relationship after graduation. Not only do they have to adapt to a new college or postgraduate lifestyle, they also have to worry about maintaining a connection with their partner, who often attends another school. This forces them into an uncomfortable long-distance relationship, which most are unprepared for.
The richest life experiences in this time period of a student’s life come from within themselves. The teenage years is the time when most people develop into who they will be for the rest of their lives. Having a relationship during this time adds a complicating factor into the personal journey of self discovery that teenagers must undergo. Teenagers need some years of maturing before they are truly ready for a relationship. A couple of years into high school, someone might grow into a whole other person. Without definitive personalities and preferences to go off on, it is impossible to keep a relationship alive.
A high school relationship is justified as a learning experience for the couple, however, the learning experience is not nearly worth the price the couple must pay to get it. It comes way too early in such a critical time in life to be truly useful down the road. It provides nothing for the couple in the long term, and quickly becomes nothing more than a bad memory lingering in people’s minds.