Beyond the Classroom Learning Lessons for Life in High School

Experiences in high school are often perceived by young students to be “life or death” so to speak. Most young adults do not have the maturity to think outside of their own perceptions. They tend to be slightly over dramatic. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird would undoubtedly admit that these students do not have the ability or, more importantly, the desire to follow his advice of crawling around in the skin of someone else in order to understand their perspective; they don’t look at things from other peoples perspectives; they are, by nature, egocentric.

What these students fail to realize is that these “life or death” situations be it a bad grade on an assignment, a confrontation with teacher/coach, a friend talking bad about them, a boyfriend/girlfriend problem, will be of little or no consequence in five years. They fail to realize for the most part once high school is complete everything that occurred within that building is not relevant to anyone else besides that individual. It is not where you have been that matters, but where you are going that makes the difference. Usually graduates soon make new friends, go to new places, think new things, and essentially become new people. High school students are plagued with problems that result in high levels of stress; its important that these students can learn from these issues and mistakes to avoid repeating them when it counts.

I am not saying that high school will have no impact on an individual and who they will become. Because it does, and it is important to make good decisions in high school to secure a decent future. I am saying that the outside world (excluding college placement) cares nothing of what or who you were in high school. I am reminded of the incoming college freshman that sadly wears his letter jacket blanketed in patches indicating various honors as if they are screaming to everyone around them “I AM SOMEBODY!” Well, sorry no one cares who you were; they are interested in who you are, and who you will be. Even if an individual was successful in high school that does not guarantee them success. They will be pitted up against stiffer competition. They will face more difficult challenges with less help from others. So it is important not to let high school experiences define you.

To the people that say high school are the most important 4 years (5 or 6 in some cases) of your life, I say its time to throw out that old letter jacket and step out of the past and walk towards the future. The first year or 2 after high school is where a person is challenged to re-invent themselves on their own. Independence alone can make or break someone and often does the latter. It is what these individuals choose to do with their new Independence that will lead them to the roads that lead, ultimately, to adulthood. Some will choose to stay stationary, some will speed so fast that they miss all sorts of turns, some will take alternate routes, some will crash, many will get lost, and few will remain on the road headed directly for success. Those that do have chosen to take their experiences from high school positive and negative and place them in the trunk to use them only when they break down and need to draw on past experiences. Once the engine is running again its up to you, the driver, to navigate your own way to success. Where are you going?