How do Relationships Affect a Student’s Academic Performance?

Does dating lower grades? Our parents had never had to worry about this question since the only things their toddlers cared about was learning how to walk and talk. As their children grow order, they start feeling attracted towards certain classmates. It just starts out as your 4th grade crush, and the parents have to remind their child that it’s too early to have a crush, just focus on school. Once the child reaches high school, they are buried under huge amounts of homework and have barely any time for all their clubs and activities. However, they are still ogling at that fourth grade crush of theirs. Since a student’s performance in high school grades is crucial to their future in college, parents want their child to be clear of all distractions.

Granted, parents fear dating in high school for a good reason. James Baldwin, one of the most influential writers in American literature, is a “sharp social critic or race relations and sexual identity” who warns about the dangers of an early relationship. In his article, A Talk to Teachers, Baldwin writes, “ Children, not yet aware that it is dangerous to look too deeply at anything, look at everything, look at each other, and draw their own conclusions.” Meaning, the teen will continue to dabble with romance while his academic performance steadily decreases. In short, Baldwin believes an early relationship distracts the student, and as a result, they are unable to perform their best.

While this sample of students waited to find love, another study, by Quatman, Sampson, Robinson and Watson in 2001, researched high school students in California who were currently in a relationship

In J.D Salinger’s novel, Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield displays one of the side effects of falling in love during school. Holden stopped dating Jane Gallagher, but still continues to harbor strong feelings for her. When Holden’s roommate, Stradlater, jokes around with “giving her the time in Ed Banky’s car,” Holden explodes and attacks Stradlater. Though this is an extreme cause of love sickness, Holden’s reaction is a perfect example of a teen’s immaturity, and it also shows that he’s not ready for a relationship, just like many students.

For reasons like this, parents strongly object against early relationships since teens are not ready to deal with the potential rejection or heartbreaks like Holden experienced. The teen might become depressed and lose a lot of self esteem which devastates their performance at school. To prevent this from happening, parents advise their children not to get romantically interested in one another, and it’s for good reason. Mother knows best.

However, many researchers found evidence which contradicts the traditional view of high school dating. Several studies, including one from the ed-tech company StudyMode, show that dating has positive effects and have reported that “ the stereotypical picture of the lovesick student who puts dating above grades is no longer a reality.” The company surveyed 1,000 students at a university and recorded that 3 quarters of the students plan to get married up to 10 years after graduation while another 40 percent didn’t even plan to meet their spouse until after college. This study concluded that “students put a high value on education, and they’re prioritizing their educational goals above matters of the heart.”

Parents went through college and probably saw how badly a relationship can derail a student from their goals

The study found that the relationship caused the student to experience more stress when completely work before a deadline. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that while dating could raise an individual’s self-esteem, it could come at the cost of their academics.

Contrary to the conclusion from the study above, Dr. Mallore Gorrie conducted a survey to determine the amount of stress a relationship can put on a student. The study quotes Melanie Garcia, a student studying at FCC, who states “dating has affected her studies negatively because she couldn’t devote 100 percent of her time to her studies.” However, as the survey progressed, Dr. Gorrie found a large portion of students who all agreed that dating provided them a way of coping with the stress at school which has led to higher grades. The study concluded that the effects of dating varies depending on how much time is invested and what activities the couples engage in with each other.