Personal Experience: What High School Really Teaches

There are a lot of things I learned about myself in high school that I’m grateful for. It helped me figure out what to do and what not to do, in college, work, and generally around other people. While high school may seem tough, with all the classes and the extracurriculars and social drama, you’ll hopefully appreciate the things you learned later on.

One of the things I learned was what kind of space I want to work in. Some people love working in busy places with a lot of people. Others like working around books. Others, animals. By volunteering with everything from senior citizen centers to the local zoo, I realized I like quiet places that let me go at my own pace. I realize that I didn’t have to feel pressured to work in an office like what many of my classmates were aiming for. I like keeping to myself, organizing, and working with kids. I knew that I got the mid­semester gloom every March and that was a bad time to study, but a good time to tutor. It helped me figure out what kinds of jobs and internships to aim for when I got into college, and then there was a domino effect: Go with your gut and find what makes you comfortable and productive.

I also learned that people in high school aren’t the only people who will be part of your life. They’re the people you see every day for four years, but there is also the rest of the world. You learn about who you want to be around, and who you don’t. It may feel uncomfortable to be around certain personalities, but you figure out how to tolerate them and even how to get along with them. It is better that you begin to figure these skills out in high school than never. Sometimes you’re friends with the people you’re friends with in high school simply because they’re there, and that’s okay. You learn what to value in a person.

In college, you meet more people, and there are more complexities, but high school already began to teach you that. You figured out that you are good at being in big groups, or maybe you prefer small ones because big groups give you anxiety. You know you like food dates rather than movie dates. Little things like these become so valuable because they allows you to interact and relate with others. They may feel insignificant but they let you find happiness. That’s not insignificant at all, is it?

Work and social life might seem to be the only things that high school cares to prepare you for, but you also learn about yourself along the way. You learn what kind of person you are, but also what kind of person you don’t want to be. High school is this weird period where you haven’t really figured out who or what you like, mostly because the options haven’t presented themselves that clearly. But you get a sense of who you are, regardless. Learning about yourself is the most important thing, and high school can be a great place for that. Take it easy!

Image: Gratisography