Teen Relationships Create Academic Downfall


Alison Arevalo, Contributor

All students come to high school knowledgeable of high school stereotypes, parties, gossips, and relationships. Many students who get in relationships never really think much of it because in their heads, “it’s just for fun.” As one matures over time, the impact of relationships become greater and greater. Sometimes, it can even be negative.

Teens nowadays are maturing at a rapid pace. Some teens are in these toxic relationships due to problems at home. Despite that, one is never going to know how to handle what relationships throw at them.

What some teens don’t understand is that with relationships comes great responsibility and a great sense of “feeling” involving new emotions and vulnerability. The present culture of teen dating isn’t even classified as dating. It’s mostly about hookups or one night stands in order to “not feel” which means to not be vulnerable and also to not worry about attachment. Students even go to the extent of opening dating profiles such as Tinder for hookups. What is most shocking is that these students aren’t even 18, which is the allowed legal age for people to open a Tinder.

I asked Doris Martinez, a senior at San Rafael High School, how she felt about some of her classmates having Tinders, “Are you serious? We’re so young and some of us aren’t even 18 yet,” she commented.

Isa Quinteros, a senior at SRHS, had strong opinions about his classmates having Tinders, “That is honestly so dumb like why would you put yourself at risk like that? What if you get kidnapped, drugged, or even killed? That’s so scary, do they have something to prove or what?” he said.

Esmeralda Quinteros, Isa Quinteros’ mother, shared her thoughts on the subject. “You kids are better off focusing on your education rather than on boys or girls who aren’t worth your while because in the end, who is the person you should take care of more? It’s yourself.”

Students are at very high risk of exposing themselves to dangerous situations as well as putting the other person they “matched” at legal risk without them even knowing. The statutory rape law in California states that any sexual act involving a minor is a crime, regardless of whether they gave consent or not.

As I’ve stated before, students are essentially trying to have meaningless relations in an effort to “not get attached,” because every person’s worst fear is falling for someone or having a one-sided relationship.

One-sided relationships are where two people are in a relationship but only one person feels or shows romantic expression towards the other person. What doesn’t make sense is how some teens go into a relationship without wanting to actually be in a relationship.

This is where relationships start taking a toll on students. The lack of interest from their partner can be very distracting for them. It tends to make them prioritize school less and this causes a downfall in academic performance.

Laurel Freeman, a Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA) worker, has said that toxic relationships and most normal relationships, can affect academic performance. Freeman, as well as the rest of the volunteers and workers at MAYA, help out teens who have experienced abuse in their relationship or who need to talk about their relationship because they feel like something is wrong.

MAYA works with Huckleberry’s Teen Tuesday Clinic, and whenever they have patients come in, they make them fill out relationship screening questionnaires to determine whether or not their relationship is healthy or if they should look out for warning signs

Ms.Freeman said, “The most common things we see is ‘digital abuse’, that’s how we frame it on the warning signs, meaning if your partner has gone through your phone or gone through your social media without you knowing”. Another thing was when they emotionally abuse their partner, meaning they withdraw attention in order for their partner to do something or to agree with them.

She shared a freshman college student’s experience with a partner who showed unhealthy possessive traits. The situation involved his possessive partner waiting for the college student to fall asleep to use his thumb in order to unlock and check his phone.

Ms.Freeman had many stories of people who had very shocking and upsetting experiences in relationships. Most of them ended with them running away from the person, moving and changing names, or in extreme cases, getting restraining orders. Most of these experiences involved teens and young adults going into college which messes with their education.

Some victims have to constantly look over their shoulder due to fear that their ex-partner will come after them. The sad truth is that these events cause so much trauma and stress, the affected partner ends up dropping out of school.

Relationships are great when they are healthy and when there is mutual respect. In most cases, it is better to wait until one can go into a relationship knowing what a healthy relationship looks like. Being accurately informed and having this information can be largely beneficial to both parties and can especially save people from distracting themselves from something that actually matters, like school.