Do Relationships Negatively Affect Grades?

Do Relationships Negatively Affect Grades?

Imagine this. You are sitting in your room with your computer in front of you, trying to figure out a way to begin writing your article. Your mind is racing with negative thoughts: Why is she ignoring me? She must not like me anymore. You feel angry, confused, sad. Should I ignore her back? Should I try to talk to her about it? Before you know it, hours have passed and you’ve barely written anything down.

This is a common dilemma amongst many people our age. With an increasing amount of work, we struggle to find a balance between our academic and social lives. If you have a fight with a friend, you may find it harder to focus on that 3-page report you have due Monday, leading you to not write as well as you might have done if your mind had been concentrated on schoolwork and happier thoughts. Or you could have been up all night, tossing and turning because you kept replaying the argument you had with a friend. While it is natural for teenagers to be in relationships, it could negatively impact both a student’s academic and social life.

However, the opposite scenario would be this: students might sometimes try to drown their personal problems in homework in order to forget about them, maybe even resulting in higher academic performance. Often, these students have the ability to shut out whatever is pulling their attention away from work, which could even help them channel their frustration somewhere else. In the long run, though, it could have a negative impact on knowing how to forge positive relationships with people in a setting, such as a workplace.

If we look at it through an entirely different lens, someone who stays out late partying on a Saturday might have a harder time studying for a test on Sunday compared to someone who got to bed at a reasonable hour the night before. Therefore, an excessive social life has the potential to damage one’s grades.

Let’s examine the ideal circumstances: the life of a healthy, happy student. This is the student we all strive to be, but is nearly impossible to attain. This student has healthy relationships with friends, completes all homework on time, gets enough sleep, etc. You may be asking yourself at this point, “Who has this life?”. The answer is, no one. Not even Tut 4s, who have been at this much longer than a Tut 1 student could reach these standards. Even they need guidance from time to time, as they try to juggle finishing their Extended Essays and fulfilling CAS requirements, all while applying to colleges and taking standardized tests etc.

When asking for my friends’ opinions on the issue, many of them said the same thing: if the student’s relationship is negative, it can be distracting to the student. However, some said that if the relationship is positive, it can be a huge source of support to the students. Another interesting point they made was that relationships can encourage either competition or procrastination when it comes to school work. They also added that negative relationships can be detrimental, if there is a lack of trust and or if the relationship can be time consuming.

Although concrete solutions to these issues may not exist, we can learn to balance academics and social activities as best as we can. To do this, we can start by having open communication with friends and staying on top of our school work (don’t procrastinate!), as well as knowing when to get out of the house or really buckle down and prioritize homework. Secondly, we shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to teachers, counselors or our friends when we need support, academically, or socially.

It is important to recognize that it can take years to learn these skills. If you have an issue with a friend, don’t be afraid to speak up and say how you feel, because, in the end, it will be much more beneficial to your mental wellbeing, and will improve the outcome of your academic work.