Let’s Be Real: What Is Love (In High School)?

Poets, songwriters, and philosophers have all asked the question: what is love?

But I have a twist on this age-old inquiry: what is love…in high school?

Long after The Beach Boys and High School Musical capitalized on young love, the demographic and methods of love in school have changed drastically, some for the better, some for the worse. Therefore, a topic as big and as common as this has never gone unnoticed in my eyes. In high school, most time love is something of a first experience. Teens learn the ins and outs of love, and the ups and downs of what it brings. Students can get together and break up in the blink of an eye and for no solid reason, and some can last forever. This is different for every single person.

So what in high school makes love so volatile?

One answer to that question could simply be basic anatomy.

Hormones and bodily growth are an immediate contributing factor in the realm of classroom affection. However, it is also one of the most detrimental. It’s a play on cause and effect, really. You might crave the prettiest girl or the most muscular boy in school, but at the cost of the potential that you sought them out only for looks and sex appeal rather than a lasting relationship. It is in teens that hormones tend to dominate the decision making process when it comes to love and relationships. Sometimes, the hormones and desires subside, and manifest into something powerful as you realize that there is more to that person than meets the eye.

Sadly, there are a lot of times in which the relationship built on appearances breaks down twice as quickly. Most cases, by the time you discover who your girlfriend or boyfriend is, it’s already too late, and you could miss out on someone truly amazing. Choosing a person who relies solely on looks for a lasting relationship over someone who genuinely cares for love is a very common and often misguided mistake, and that can lead to disastrous opinions and outlooks.

Another characteristic of high school love is speed.

It’s not running fast that I’m talking about, but rather word of mouth. News of a fresh couple spreads like wildfire in high school, and for good and bad ways. That relationship that everyone saw coming could lead to it being a very highly talked about subject in the hallways. To some, that brings joy in the fact that your friend, or you yourself, have found someone truly worth your heart. But to others, it gives them a dark opportunity to spread rumors and try to start something. The ones who truly care for a relationship will only demand the truth out of their partner, so they won’t listen to the rumors. Things like these are often birthed from jealousy or hate for one or both people. Bullies will try to tear the couple apart with lies and fake stories in an attempt to make someone look like a terrible person. It is up to the strongest, most honest people to ignore the hate and love to the best of their ability.

Perhaps there is another topic that I am missing, and that is the idea of availability.

This can often be described in high school as two questions: “Who do I want to date?” and “Who do I not want to date?” To me and to many others, reliance on looks doesn’t cut it. There has to be devotion, loyalty, and a good personality in someone. And that’s what’s missing, I think, in a lot of high school love stories gone wrong. Something that falls into this bracket is the type of people that get together. Typically, although not always, teens tend to date within their respective social circles. For example, a football player would date a cheerleader, or a sci-fi fan falling in love with a writer, and so on and so forth. As I said earlier, these social circles do not always dictate what relationships are formed, and it certainly shows. Some of the longest and most successful relationships and couples are built outside of stereotypes and boundaries.

It is also important to note that while in high school, our perspective on love can change rapidly.

What you want in a relationship now might be different than what you wanted a year ago or a year from now. It’s vital that you get to know your partner very well because you never know what might happen, which leads into my next topic, and it might be one that not everybody wants to hear.

Cheating is nothing short of love’s crime. It disgusting, deceitful, and only seeks to hurt the other person.

In high school, I have seen time and time again the consequences of cheating and what it brings upon each person. Cheating delivers upon the victim a brutal mix of anger, heartbreak, and sadness. It often leaves the teen wondering where they went wrong, and asking the pivotal question: “Why?” Naturally, heartbreak is a part of love on high school. It may take a long time for someone to get over what they had just gone through. It may leave them questioning love altogether. But through personal experience and through others experiences, it should be known that there will always be someone out there to help you through the tough times.

Love is just as delicate as it is powerful. We should always respect it and hold it on our highest pedestal because you never know when you might meet the person you want to spend forever with. In high school, love is special to everyone. We all want different things out of it. It is important to enjoy it the way you want. Spend time with the person you love, and put your heart into everything you do and say. It makes the best of every moment you spend with that person. Always value love and always love your values.

So I ask you: what is love?