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What I Wish I’d Learned in High School

It’s funny really—we take classes that we don’t want to, to meet the expectations of people we may never know. These classes known as Gen Eds provide us with the foundation for college. So in high school, we memorize chart after chart, diagram after diagram, to vomit it back up on the next test they put in front of us. But what about the things that really matter? What about the things that we don’t talk about, that we should? We constantly find ourselves asking:

when will I ever use this in the real world? 

There are things that high school just can’t teach—life lessons that you can only get from outside the classroom, like how to heal a broken heart, or what to do when your current friend group crumbles. Sometimes, it’s already hard enough trying to get through a school day full of assignments and due dates. But no one really teaches us things that we ought to know to be better-equipped people when we go out to face the real world. 

For one, I wish I would've been taught how to better balance my personal life along with my life at school. I think we too often forget that each of us have so much going on outside of the school walls. It’s almost impossible to juggle a sport, a club, theatre, a social life, or time with friends and family. Balancing all of these can cause what we know as “burnout,” or mental exhaustion from constant activity or stress. If school offered more opportunities that allowed students to better express emotions, we would each be more knowledgeable on how to best help not only ourselves, but those that may be struggling around us. It’s difficult to regulate emotions when still developing, while also being expected to handle everything as if it’s no big deal. It's not always easy to realize when people are struggling during the school day.

We are not born with empathy, we observe it, and then we share it.  

With this, I also wish the high school would provide more explanation as to what ways are the best when studying and how to study for a specific class. We usually find ourselves asking those who have already taken the class what the best ways to make it through the class are. And although it’s nice to feel ahead of the game with secret input to pass the class, shouldn’t the teacher know the most effective way to prepare? High school should teach students how to best manage their time and the best way to perform well in classes. 

I know what you’re thinking. Well ya, a lot is going on in my life right now, and what about the future? How am I going to pay for college? How do I buy a house? What the heck is a 401K? The main thing students needed more of in high school, was learning about how to handle the real world. We are simply left to figure it out on our own and yet somehow still be

judged as we learn along the way. Now, don’t get me wrong, being educated is one of the greatest superpowers. I’m just reminiscing about high school as I reach the end of my time here—what I wish I had learned besides solving for x or memorizing the quadratic formula. I wish I had learned how to handle the emotions that come with balancing both a school and social life. I wish I learned more study skills or how to best manage my time. I wish I knew how to handle the real world that is waiting for me when I walk out of these doors. 

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