What High School Doesn’t Teach You

What High School Doesn’t Teach You

By Ashley O’Hare

Four years. Many people spend four years of their lives confined at a desk in front of a whiteboard, listening as a teacher drones on about a lesson before inevitably getting distracted. When going through the precious teenage years, a person can be vulnerable. While teaching a student the correct way to find the area of a triangle is ultimately harmless, high school in itself is not what it is commonly thought to be.

High school does not prepare its students for life after graduation, (AKA the “real world”). Whether or not someone knows how to properly write an essay in MLA format doesn’t matter if they don’t succeed in their job interview to earn money to pay for college. Regardless of one’s knowledge of Darwin’s theory of evolution, nobody will get far without knowing how to take care of themselves. Dealing with loneliness, balancing a checkbook, finding one’s true self, dealing with failure, maintaining a healthy diet on a budget- those are the real lessons a teenager should be learning.

What is loneliness? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term as “being without company.” Loneliness, however, is not the mere absence of physical company. What personal experience will prove is that one can still feel lonely when sitting in a room filled to the brim with people. Even when surrounded by hundreds of opportunities to initiate a conversation, the feeling of loneliness can find a way to creep up inside somebody’s throat and silence them. Figuring out what to do when faced with those situations can be virtually impossible when running into it blind and alone.

Balancing a checkbook is about more than knowing how many pennies are in somebody’s bank account. Knowing how to balance a checkbook helps people keep their lives in order. Having financial stability is important. Without it, stress can engulf a person— which can lead to something as simple as a facial acne breakout or as extreme as losing their vehicle. 

Finding one’s true self is perhaps one of life’s greatest challenges. Throughout high school students are expected to have at least an idea of who they want to be and what they want to accomplish in the world. However, a person does not suddenly discover who they are when their high school diploma is placed in their hands. People are forever changing. One does not plan out who they are going to be for the rest of their lives. That’s the beauty of life— it always finds a way to surprise people by throwing new obstacles in their path. There are moments when people feel powerless. It is often thought that a person has hit rock bottom when they are sobbing, but that’s not true. A person is at their lowest point when they are numb and can’t find the energy to cry. Dealing with those feelings should be talked about with teenagers to better prepare them for those moments.

Dealing with failure is something that everybody goes through. There is not a single person on the planet who hasn’t failed at something. Whether it is a math test, a job interview, or a relationship, there will be a time when things simply don’t work out. Talking about this and not treating the topic as something that is taboo will make people better at standing back up when life pushes them down.

Lastly, maintaining a healthy diet is vaguely taught in high school. Knowing that vegetables and fruits are healthy is not the whole battle. What is difficult is figuring out how to stay healthy when one’s budget cannot accommodate for fresh salads and lean meats every day. This can lead to health issues later on in life and copious amounts of bills from doctor visits.

In conclusion, high school is helpful in teaching students straight forward lessons. While this can help the development of the brain, it does not help teenagers prepare to be on their own Knowing how to solve an algebraic equation will not help anybody when they are drowning in debt. Life lessons should at least be spoken about in assemblies and addressed in open conversations.

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