You love ‘em, you hate ‘em, it’s the reason you even deal with school or it’s the bane of your existence. That’s right, high school relationships. In any relationship, with a romantic partner or not, if you want it to be strong you must lead a life of honesty, kindness, and persistence.
In high school or in the great journey that we call life, you are someone, a beautiful and special someone at that; and you, as someone, want others to like and appreciate you. For many of us, the more humans that like or appreciate us, the better we feel about ourselves.
I interviewed Franklin high school teacher Elisa Wong and when I asked her what she thought about social media’s influence on young adult relationships, she believes it shows off only certain parts of our lives: “how many people live an authentic life that’s visible through their social media? We tend to project what we want others to see, so how do you really know what is authentic when it’s not. There are so many people adults and young people alike who are putting out a false image of themselves, maybe it’s an aspirational image rather, but it’s not true or authentic, and some people are really good at seeing that and don’t fall for it, but other people do fall for it and get a false impression of who we are.”
In a sea of falsehood and projections, some young adults find genuine feelings, keep them, and achieve real happiness. Franklin student Stevie Marthaller (11) has been in a relationship with Kevin Carmona-Martinez (11) for two and a half years. I asked Stevie how being in a relationship affects being a student and her academics. She said “[the relationship] does affect my academics in a way. Often times it’s hard to juggle the responsibilities of school while also maintaining a relationship.” In Martinez’s experience, relationships are hard work but if you are willing to put in the time and effort in, it is possible to maintain a healthy high school relationship. This can start with paying less attention to social media and news outlets marketed towards young adults.
There are many modes of media young adults have access to in the modern-day. These result in an excess of fake news and a lack of authenticity on social media. In 2018 Seventeen Magazine published an article titled “10 Reasons Being Single in Your Teens is the Best” which features topics like “You’re Learning Exactly Who You Are” but also has fairly incoherent and overly juvenile points like “You’re Girl Squad Rivals Taylor Swift’s” and “No one gets jealous when you stare at Harry Styles’ dreamy green eyes for, like, 10,000 hours.” This 73-year-old publication has over 12 million subscribers, meaning this article was viewed by millions and was even used as a reference for an assignment in Wong’s AP English language class. When talking about the media’s influence Wong said: “There are so many adults and young people alike who are putting out a false image of themselves but maybe it’s an aspirational image rather, but it’s not true or authentic, and some people are really good at seeing that and don’t fall for it, but other people do fall for it and get a false impression of who we are.” That is the reason why there are so few healthy high school relationships because of this false portrayal of reality that many teenagers put on social media which clash with its harsh, truthful counterpart.
In this turning point in the life of a high schooler, it’s hard to find your place, your way, and despite the article, it does not mean you need to be in a romantic relationship to find belonging. You can be independent and wonderful and no matter what you do thrive.