Valentines in Sparta: The beauty of blooming romance


Renata Bayazitova

High school relationships come into the forefront as the season of love sweeps through White Station. While commonly under scrutiny, these bonds can prove to be bountiful.

Each year, Valentine’s Day paints the halls of schools everywhere in flashy pinks and vivid reds. Where these high spirits may inspire eyerolls for some, for couples, the occasion is preceded by much anticipation and preparation. Relationships cultivated during teenage years are subject to heavy criticism from every direction, with many parents and students alike frowning upon the idea. However, if fostered carefully, these connections can be enriching in multiple ways.

“Many people believe that these relationships cannot last, or that they’re not genuine,” Katoria McMullen (11) said. “They believe that it’s just a waste of time, because we’re still young. However, you get to experience growing with someone, and they help you find your true self.”

Relationships, whether long or short-term, provide students with opportunities for introspection and growth. In adolescent years especially, having an intimate relationship can be extremely helpful, providing one with someone reliable to confide in. Oftentimes, partners motivate each other in various ways by just being present. 

“[One benefit] when it comes to relationships is that you have that comfort that you’re not alone … That your partner is someone always with you, that you can rely on and enjoy time with,” Bonnie Nguyen (11) said. “I’ve learned to be comfortable with being vulnerable.”

While some may argue that relationships are simply a distraction, significant others can encourage one another to do better in school. With most students taking similar classes, there is ample opportunity for time together. From study dates to having classes together, common ground provides chances for couples to incorporate learning into time spent together. Even a simple walk to class in the company of a partner can be enough to inspire a better day.

“On bad days or days where I do not feel like going to school, I feel like I have something to look forward to,” Angel Armenta (12) said. “My partner has pushed me to work harder and do more than I initially thought I was capable of. They believe in me, and it drives me to try harder not only for myself but for them too.”

While relationships at this age can last, often factors like college or increasingly busy lives threaten their longevity. Nonetheless, being able to grow with another person and learn to accommodate each other’s needs provides one with experience that may be useful later in life. Relationships improve communication, and being with another person can spur developments in areas such as maturity or emotional intelligence. 

“High school relationships are necessary for teenagers to learn from in order to be able to have mature, sufficient relationships in adulthood,” Nguyen said. “You learn a lot just from the experience itself, and [since] relationships take a lot of time and energy, you will get to know what you specifically want in a relationship.”

High school is a critical period for everyone. Many teenagers suffer from self-image issues, and one way to ease this is through a relationship. Prior to entering their relationship, Marry Adams (11), like most other teenagers, was subject to the influence of others’ opinions. Despite possible insecurities, when in a relationship the compliments and indulgences that are sure to follow serve to ease these doubts. This can help to nullify the glaring judgments of fellow teenagers.

“If you’re with someone who supports you, you get more stability in your life especially if you are having trouble with your self-esteem,” Adams said. “It feels like someone genuinely appreciates you.”

Despite the potential benefits of a relationship, these commitments are not for everybody. As well as being incredibly rewarding, they also demand much time and effort being invested. There is much to consider before pursuing a relationship in high school, such as extracurriculars that demand more attention or high-stress academic programs that may hinder both parties. Additionally, rushing into romance often does not produce a fruitful connection.

“Stop looking and let a relationship come to you,” McMullen said. “When it’s your time to be loved in a relationship, it will come.”