The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
If you were a kid during the late 1990s to early 2000s, you will understand that the shows and movies of that time had us all thinking that we would be jumping from relationship to relationship throughout all of high school, as Abigail J. Zwier detailed in her thesis titled “Just Another Teen Movie: Analyzing Portrayals of Teenage Romantic Relationships Across a Decade of Top-Grossing Teen Films.” However, that is simply not the case for most high schoolers.
Despite the title, I actually did enter a relationship in my first-year of high school. It was extremely short-lived and lacked any physical affection like kissing. Fast forward to today, I am a Sophomore in college and have not seriously dated since. I would be lying if I said that I am not insecure about my lack of relationship experience.
In addition to feeding us the narrative that all high schoolers are sex-crazed party animals who are never single through the media, society places an overwhelming pressure on teens to have their lives and futures figured out by their eighteenth birthday, and there is no exception when it comes to their love lives. Whenever I visit my extended family, what do you think is the most common question I get? If you guessed “Do you have a boyfriend yet?” congratulations, you’d be right!
I am here to tell you that it is perfectly okay to not have engaged in romance during your four years of high school for many reasons.
Teen’s Brains are Not Fully Developed
It is a widely known fact that the human brain does not fully develop until age 25, what is not so commonly known, however, is the different ways in which teens and adults think and make decisions. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Health Encyclopedia, “Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part… Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.”
I can definitely attest to this. During high school, I frequently acted on impulse and let my emotions get the best of me. There is nothing wrong with this, though. It is only natural for someone whose brain is still growing. However, both parties of a relationship can easily get hurt by these emotion-driven decisions. Of course this is not to say that high schoolers should never date, rather, those who feel as though they missed out on high school love should know that it may not have been as pleasant as Disney Channel made it seem.
There is So Much More to Life than Relationships
While having a romantic partner can be very fulfilling and beautiful experience, it is not a necessity in order to live a good life. For many, this takes years of loneliness and failed relationships to figure out. However, the earlier you can learn this important lesson, the better prepared you are for the future.
With that being said, high school is an excellent opportunity to focus on yourself and enjoy life without a significant other. There are many ways to make the single life more fun in high school through cultivating meaningful friendships, discovering your interests and preparing for your future.
In my early high school years, I was so fixated on finding a boyfriend that I did not allow myself the time to explore the other parts of me that did not involve romance. It was not until Junior year that I really discovered what I want out of this life and who I am as a person, and I did that all without a partner!