Less than 2% of the high school graduating class of 2016 will marry their high school sweethearts. The majority of the class of 2016 did not even have a high school sweetheart, also known as a significant relationship during the four years spent in high school. Most of the members of my high school graduating class never even told the person they liked that they had those feelings.
Now, the high school graduating class of 2016 has become the college freshmen who constitute the class of 2020. I cannot help wondering how this transition affected the relationships, text-lashionships and secret crushes of the (now) class of 2020. Am I alone in losing all communication with my high school romantic interest? Are as many couples still together, making it work, as it seems? Did a lot of people break up before leaving? Are some people still friends and hiding their feelings entirely?
Well, I am a researcher, and I wanted to know these answers for myself. I decided the most accurate, concrete way to objectively see a relationship's dynamic is through the last text one person sent to the other. Some of these texts were sent months ago, and some minutes before they were submitted. The different timelines show part of the condition of the relationship. Sure, the messages are out of context, but the text alone can paint a pretty accurate picture of the relationship in question.
It was no surprise to me that the texts spanned a wide range of relationships.
Some couples are still together, going strong across massive distances.
"Happy happy happy happy half year" – MS, Wellesley
“Distance is nothing. I mean it, I would go five years without seeing you if it means I can spend my life with you.” – JN, Columbia University
“I miss you already, but this is just another step towards our life together." – HS, Tufts
Some are attending the same school, and find themselves closer than ever.
"My homework for my UWS is to watch a TV show… so it's good so far. But yeah, I’ll be missing you too." – LR, Brandeis
On the other end of the spectrum, some have broken up because they want the opportunity to meet new people in college or because they want the chance to just be happier in college.
"I think we should start seeing other people because we're going to college. – HD, Brandeis
"Idk i just don't think the relationship is healthy anymore, yes I love you, dear lord I love you, but I can't do this. Can we skype?" – KL, Boston University
"I'm over it, don't do this to anyone else. no one deserves this. I hope you have a good summer and find whatever you're looking for." – IK, Brandeis
Sometimes there is no closure before leaving for school. If you ask me, this is the worst way to leave things, because it feels like you have not really left them permanently. It feels more as though when you return home for the next break, there is a chance that things could continue.
"I should've tried to see you once more. But hopefully I’ll see you soon.” – LO, Boston College
"We can talk later" – HS, Tufts
"It's fine we can hang out some other time. It's kinda crazy today anyways" – LN, Wellesley
"See ya around" – FA, Harvard
"Haha okay okay I’ll try." – ID, James Madison University
"But just let me know" – RL, Emerson
"Yeah that works too" – MT, Tufts
Some texts I received were more casual — a result of remaining in constant contact (even just as friends).
"I just got a really funny voicemail from your butt." – RG, Boston University
"I just saw your missed call. Is everything okay?" – LP, Northeastern
“I had a feeling you went to that :) what did you think?? wait did you meet ****?!?” – RL, Brandeis
"Can you get me a blanket?" – ML, Tufts
Some students' articulation of the feeling of missing someone significant from high school really pulled at my heart strings.
"Haven't slept at all tonight but wanted to remind you that you truly matter to me" – JR, Brandeis
"Man I just really needed to talk to you, to hear you voice. It’s really hard not having you here, and not getting to see friends all the time. I just really needed to talk to you. I still do.” – XX, Boston University
"One of my pictures on my dorm wall is of you and it made me wonder how things are going. How have you been?" – DH, Tufts
Others texts were angry and definite.
"Good thing you will never have to ever ever again” – MW , Boston University
“K I’m out ✌” – ABW, Wellesley College
"Too late" – TR, Northeastern
The idea of never seeing someone again provides courage that most people did not originally have. Some used this courage to make a confession.
"I really don't know whether I'm supposed to say anything more, but I'm trying to just do right by myself. I hope you know that I love you. I know that this is final, and I'm not trying to start a conversation, because I don't think that either of us want to have one. I just wanted to tell you one last time. Good luck, sincerely. Please don't respond to this." – SK, Boston University
A few texts really displayed the love present within the relationship.
"Just whatever you do, don't fall in love with the city life over me. I can't lose you." –QW, Simmons
"i love you stop being so hard on yourself you've accomplished so damn much " – RS, Simmons
Some of the texts speak for themselves.
“So much sex last weekend” – BT, Brandeis
"Nothing I was just saying hi" – SM, Boston University
"Hey I need to you log out of that weird Uber account we made for prom so I can use it, thanks sorry to bother you" – JB, Emerson
"Snap me for the streak." – AH, Wellesley College
"Don't be sad! I'm sure one of the other 8 or so girls you've hit up since you became single will let you get your d*ck wet! " – SW, Tufts
“If you don’t want to then never mind, but you actually might not hate him he’s pretty okay and he’s nothing like me” – RL, Brandeis
"ayyyyyyy lmao" –BE, MIT
"Okay go ahead and call me" – EL, Harvard
"I'll be there in like 30 minutes. I'm bringing food. Just not chips and guacamole. Does pizza sound good? Well it's gotta" – NLK, Northeastern
“Miss u” – DN, Brandeis
"At least we'll be in the same time zone" – EY, Wellesley
“Tell *** I love him" – ZS, Brandeis University
“I’ll be here.” –OH, Simmons
"We were good friends before, breakups don't have to be like this." – PB, Boston University
Thank you to everyone who participated in this project. I am grateful to you all for sharing your texts and your stories with me. I hope this displays for everyone in the class of 2020 that however you may have left things with your high school love interest, you are not alone.
All texts were submitted on a volunteer basis by students in the class of 2020 attending school in the Boston area. All names have been abbreviated into initials for the privacy and piece of mind of the participants.