Love in high school is nothing short of crappy. It seems utterly pointless to a good majority of students, especially hearing the fact that less than 2% of all married couples in America were high school sweethearts. It seems as if my peers date for the fun of it; they date whoever they find mildly attractive, with no more crushing or real dates. It is a matter of putting it on their Instagram page for a few months, and then progressing onto their next partner.

But that is exactly what dating in high school is for.

High school is where you learn a lot of lessons, and not just in between the cold, hard brick walls of a classroom. You learn a lot about yourself, what you love to do, what you can and can’t do, and what you like and dislike. And romantically? It is unheard of to be the perfect significant other between the ages of thirteen to eighteen, or even at all. Yes, even the PDA-obsessed couple who hold hands down the halls, and the awkward band kids who realized they had feelings for each other, and the athletes who became more than just a pair of friends may all make their relationships seem like a teenage dream, but it’s silly to believe it is. I’m pretty sure my generation, “Generation Z”, understands that these relationships aren’t what they see in the movies.

In fact, high school love, from what I have lived, watched, and dreamed, is incredibly tricky. There is no correct way of handling it. No one our age can get it just right. There are a hell of a lot of tears, drama, fighting, late nights staring at your ceiling, insecurities, break downs, scream matches, and complete insanity, and sadly, that is only the beginning of that sort of stuff.

But.

It is also the beginning of late night phone calls, inside jokes, warm summer days laying in the grass, laughing so hard you’re crying, hugs, borrowing jackets, football games, homecoming color coordination, dog walking, cute dates, kisses that feel like fireworks, movie nights, off-key singing together, food fights, and that warm, overwhelming feeling of the first time you care about another human being as much as you do yourself. That enveloping, fuzzy feeling that makes you scared as hell, but at the same time, makes you smile so hard your face hurts.

You are young; there is margin for error. You will mess up many times, and you will get dumped. You will get heartbroken. You will dump people and break their hearts, and you will get screwed over. You’ll have crushes on people who don’t feel the same, and people who you talked to only a few times will have a crush on you.

Take your time and spend your teen years having fun. Dating or not, high school is a journey of self discovery. Don’t let anyone deter you from what you truly want to do.