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High school dorks need not despair


 As someone who didn’t have, ahem, a wealth of opportunity to explore the high school dating scene, my interactions with female classmates came primarily in the form of AOL instant messages and orchestra bus trips. By senior year, I’d received the “let’s just be friends” talk so often that I knew it by heart.

Was it any coincidence that I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol till my freshman year of college, and underlined my English texts with colored pencils and a ruler? According to a six-year longitudinal study that looks at teenagers’ dating patterns, partying habits, and study skills, the simple answer is: no.

The study, published online last week by the Journal of Research on Adolescence, followed 620 students—half male, half female—from sixth grade through their senior year of high school. Once a year, researchers from the University of Georgia’s School of Public Health interviewed the students, asking them about their romantic lives, as well as their drug and alcohol use. From teachers, researchers collected academic evaluations — how organized and hard-working was the student? How often did they turn in their homework and complete the assigned reading?

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