It’s my last month here at West High. Soon I will walk across a stage in front of my family and peers, they’ll hand me a diploma and just like that I enter reality. My question to you is what will that piece of paper grant me? Does high school prepare us for the real world, or do the past four years of note-taking and all-nighters mean nothing?
Dear Senior Stressin’,
It seems like just yesterday we were unknowing freshmen, eyes too big and hearts too trusting. Four years quickly shorten to four months, four months turn to four weeks and before you know it you’re being handed that pretty piece of paper you spoke of. Before getting caught up in the “Okay, what now?” aspect of graduation, take a moment to celebrate. Be proud of yourself; you have pushed through the 2 a.m. homework grinds, dealt with the same kid asking to copy your work, sprinted to make it to class before the bell rings, along with an endless list of other annoyances. Believe it or not, these hardships pay off and do in fact prepare you for new obstacles you will face in college and onwards.
High school might not be a musical or a cheesy 80’s film with freeze frames, but valuable life lessons can still be found within the halls of the school. When you are assigned a group project with that one girl you cannot stand, or when you sit in your desk just as the bell rings and the teacher still marks you tardy, life lessons are probably the last thing on your mind. In some ways, high school reflects a job. Much like an employee, students are expected to wake up early, be on time, produce quality work and respect authorities. These aspects of education can be found in any professional environment.
High school might not teach us how to balance a checkbook or what to expect in a job interview, but it does provide us with critical social skills we will need throughout our life. Friendships made in high school inspire future ones; the people with whom you build relationships now often determine the types of people you will associate with as an adult. On the field or the court, in the pool or the bleachers, we learn how to celebrate wins or graciously accept defeats. The teacher who won’t accept late work is the boss who won’t tolerate mistakes, only in high school the teacher can’t fire you. How you learn to persevere is crucial in deciding how you cross the roadblocks ahead.
Each element of high school that students see as pointless is actually a lesson in disguise. Finals week teaches us how to handle stress. School dances teach us how to let loose. The lines during lunch teach us first come first served (literally). The ever-present gossip teaches us that not everyone we meet will like us, and that’s okay. Overall, high school teaches us how to love and laugh, smile and cry, stand up for what we believe in, make mistakes but never make the same one twice, and if you’re like me, how to cram an hour’s worth of homework in five minutes.
Although it’s unlikely you found yourself in high school, the past four years are special in that they shape your views of the world. I hope your experiences as part of the Pack are positive and that the memories you have made here at West High are always close to your heart.
Make it a great life or not, the choice is yours.