What is love? How do you know you have found it? Is it the warm fuzzy feeling inside when you see your crush across the Quad, or is it the late night craving for that special someone to cozy up with?

High school is a time when we start to ask these questions, when romances bud further than the awkward middle school racy hand holding. Now as seniors looking back, experimenting has allowed us to discover more about ourselves than we ever imagined in our more youthful days. Freshmen year was just the beginning, an opening to a whole new world.

“Sweaty-hand-holding-movie dates began freshmen year,” Ashley said. (Ashley’s real name has been withheld for the purposes of anonymity). “After two dates you end up kissing and not only is it scandalous, it’s also gross. Fast-forward four years later it gets not PG.”

As many of us are well aware, the experimentation continues all four years of high school. To onlookers, high school is a time where the constant battle to be liked by your friends, romantic interests, teachers and parents all comes together while you body is changing, possibly not for the better. This stressful time is admittedly the perfect time to start dealing with love and relationships.

Keep in mind that in high school, especially Palo Alto High School, you are sheltered. Go out and make mistakes with your friends because most likely they won’t be your friends after college ends.

Love can mean all sorts of things to different people.

“Love is a battlefield” senior Becca Althoff said.

Others tend to think love is more intimate and not as harsh.

“Love is an intimate feeling between two people,” junior Rick Takeuchi said. “Much more than the physical crush. You are bound to each other, not only by friendship, but by watching each other and by cheering each other on no matter how bad times are.”

How to declare your love and get all the people you wanted to get with before the end of high school:

Because the group of students in your high school is determined not by your mindset, but by the choices of everyone’s parents, high school is a mixed bag of kids from all over the place. Keep in mind that you will never have the same mixture of students in the same place at the same time ever again. With this in mind, take risks, and if you like someone, tell them. The worst thing you can do is not let someone know and keep all of your feelings inside. When you tell them, be respectful yet epic.

We all have that one guy or girl that we’ve secretly crushed on for our entirety of high school but never had the courage to let them know. Now is the time to do that, with not even a week left of high school; break out the flowers, picnic, spontaneous beach trip and everything else you personally think is romantic. This brings us to the summer fling.

What is a summer fling? 

As we approach the end of high school and gain sight of sweet summer, of course we all wonder how we will prevent the inevitable loneliness that comes from friends going off to travel and leaving us here to brood alone. The answer is a summer fling; a no commitment, fun relationship and someone to spend your languid summer days with.

“I think a summer fling is just for people that want to go out and have a good time,” Althoff said. “It’s for those who want to get a little frisky in the summer heat; I support it.”

Summer flings are increasingly popular as high school students gain in age. As the gross and cooties factor fade, teens across the nation realize the enjoyment and pleasure gained from time spent with each other.

If you are worried about the social repercussions of hooking up, try a summer fling. By finding a partner in the summer rather than in the school year, word of mouth travels about a quarter of the speed it does during the academic year which can, in some cases, be a good thing.

How to successfully end a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend:

The trickiest subject regarding high school romance: how to say goodbye to the perfect guy or girl you’ve been dating for all four years of high school, who you thought you were going to marry and start a family with. Let’s get one thing straight: teenagers are not the best decision makers, and while we want to make all our life choices, some need more guidance than others.

People change in college, that’s a fact. In most cases, even if you really want to keep dating your high school sweetheart, the best option might be to break up. The three-thousand-mile separation will be grueling, and you’ll spend your entire freshman year longing for the three times a year you will see your significant other. Unless circumstances are in your favor, say you will be attending the same college or a college in the same area, the practical route to take is to break up and go to college. This doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch. If it was truly meant to be, you can always meet up again and live happily ever after.

More realistically, most high schoolers in long term relationships are aware that people change and they most likely won’t end up with their partner for the rest of their life, but that doesn’t mean they should break up and stop talking forever. Keep in mind that a whole summer awaits, and you now have the option to spend the last few months together taking that road trip you’ve always talked about or getting a room in Hawaii and spending a week. Whatever you do with your sweetheart, go out with a bang. Do something memorable, something that you want your partner to forever remember you by; in twenty years at the high school reunions, you want to avoid that eyes-down awkward confrontation because you dumped your partner the day school ended with no explanation and never talked to them again.

Conclusion: 

All in all, high school is a great time to experiment with love, but be sure to keep it casual as you have a long life to live after high school.

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