by Joanna Huang
Numerous hit movies and songs revolve around the thrills of dating and young love. If they are reflective of reality, then every high schooler could expect declarations of love, elaborate promposals and a relationship that lasts forever. Pop culture, however, can be deceiving. High school relationships are no more idyllic than any other relationship—they require time and effort that high schoolers are often incapable of giving. Instead of dating, high school students should allow for personal development and focus on personal pursuits.
Neuroscience research reveals that the teenage brain is still developing. The frontal lobe, which controls judgement, is the last part of the brain to develop. High schoolers, therefore, are prone to impulsive decision-making. The dynamics of the relationship, or even the start of the relationship itself, can be based on shaky rationale. Furthermore, teenagers have biological limitations in regulating emotions, making breakups more emotionally damaging. Adolescents are more likely to handle this magnified heartbreak with drastic measures.
Dating in high school can also keep students from pursuing their ambitions. In the face of ambition, high school dating can become a tiresome time commitment and a distraction. It is true that a boyfriend or girlfriend can provide helpful encouragement, but steady, lifelong friendships with those you have known for years can provide a less volatile, emotional safety net for those who crave emotional connections but want to still focus on pursuing their dreams.
Furthermore, dating oftentimes hinders learning and creates peer pressure. Students may feel obligated to date and social pressure can cause relationships to be based on a casual attitude of “I like you, you like me… let’s date?” simply to be able to labeled as dating. While dating, social media connects couples 24/7, encouraging expectations to promptly receive or respond to messages instead of studying. Peers, not used to adult etiquette, may find entertainment in unashamedly pressuring their friends to go a certain direction. But, ultimately, after breaking up, small social circles and having the same classes can force people to constantly come in contact with someone they have an uncomfortable history with.
High school relationships are not necessary to complete the high school experience. In fact, teen dating can be time-consuming, distracting to personal and educational pursuits and involve much drama. According to the Huffington Post, less than two percent of marriages in North America are between high school sweethearts. If high school relationships were really meaningful, people would stay in them, but they often are not.
So, right now, your main focus should be you. It is hard enough taking care of yourself while adjusting to more responsibility. If you are looking to experience more than the sensationalism of pop culture, independently grow and dream to the fullest before you settle down.