Thursday, May 16, 2013

Advice for High School Students

Dear kids in high school right now...

I have some advice for you. Advice I really wish someone had told me when I was in high school because it is kinda super important. It is about the very point of high school. See right now you're probably procrastinating doing some kind of homework that involves polynomial equations (functions? Something?) or reading some bit of assigned literature you'd otherwise be enjoying if only you didn't have to think about it. And for what? None of this is going to be relevant to your future employment right? You're not learning important things like how to do taxes? Well... yes, true. But does that make it pointless? No.

OK so you are simultaneously blessed and cursed right now because you're in high school and that seems like a difficult concept to grasp but it is true. See you're in a golden period of your life where not doing something you don't want to do has no immediate consequences. I managed to avoid doing multiple assignments, hand things in late, and generally not put in effort for half of my high school life. It's possible to get by without actually engaging properly, and some of you probably feel like doing that. "This isn't immediately relevant or obviously to my future so I don't need to do it." If things are hard you can just scrape by, graduate, and forget everything you ever learned about coefficients and all that other weird maths hoo-hah. I know I can't remember a damn thing about anything number related...

But here's the thing, and I'm putting it as nicely as possible so don't get offended... shut up about it and just do the work.

You heard me. Yes, High school may seem pointless learning a bunch of standardised stuff you really don't care about but that is simply a lack of forethought. I did high school. I survived. I'm out of it now and kinda in the real world. Thing is, the very point of high school is to suck. Yes. High school is designed to suck. That may seem blatantly obvious to you but it sucking is only a means to an end not the end itself. Sucking has a purpose. You are going to be faced with a bunch of horrible, bland, boring, uninteresting, and seemingly pointless hoops and loops to jump through which you don't want to do... and the point is to shut up and do it anyway.

Because that's life. High school is a life simulator. Sure, one day you may just get your dream job and there won't be any hoops to jump through so much as casually stroll past once you get there but until then things will most likely suck. You are inevitably going to be faced with things you don't like, like a difficult essay for a University course you're doing. A course actually designed to get you what you want. The real world requires work and the work isn't always going to be fun.

The grand practical skill given to you by high school is not whatever they are teaching you in class (though one class might appeal to you) but the skill of sitting down and doing something regardless of how you feel about it. I love my University courses, I really do. they're interesting and wonderful and looking back I have certainly learned a lot that I will take with me to a future career... but at times it has been awful, dreadful, and dull and I had to do it anyway to continue onwards to the good stuff... and that is just part of life. If you sit around being entitled and thinking you can cruise through things later on because high school lets you then when you step out into the real world you'll trip and fall face first into the ground. You'll be behind and need to figure out how to catch up, to sit down and work for hours on end despite your problems with the task at hand.

They're teaching you how to study. They're teaching you how to work. If they cannot give you a passion for their subject than at the very least that is the gift you must take away from high school.

So next time your schoolwork sucks remember that it sucks for a reason... and do it anyway.

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