10 Important Lessons From High School
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10 Important Lessons From High School

High school teaches you a number of important lessons, not just in the classroom, but outside as well.

10 Important Lessons From High School
Fowler Hammer

1. It's okay to not fit in with your peers.

My school of 2200 people was 96% white, monolingual, and very mainstream cultured. It was a public school with the atmosphere of a wealthy private school. I was the only colored person in band, orchestra, choir, and tennis team. I became a "Token POC", the colored friend who is called a friend so my white friends could say their group was "diverse". And it wasn't just my color. I felt like an animal in a zoo when I ate traditional Indian food or spoke my language, constantly hearing, "Oooh! Say '———' in your language!" I didn't enjoy such attention, but I learned to ignore it over time. Sure I would have had a better time with them if I had assimilated. But no matter what your difference from the majority is, whether it be color, culture, creed, or any other personal asset, do not give up your identity for acceptance.

2. If you're going to get a job, make if fulfilling.

I watch my peers spend long hours in a job they hate. They're always crabby in school, and grow hostile when I suggest finding a more enjoyable job. Refer to the chart below. Think very carefully about your skills and interests, and ask yourself if they are valuable in the world and society. If you enjoy working with people, have a long fuse, and are skilled at it, working retail is perfect. If you're more mathematically and scientifically inclined, and prefer to work in a quiet lab setting, become a research assistant. Having trouble? I'd be more than happy to help you.

3. Be a morning person.

Most millennials hate mornings, especially on the weekdays. However, it is in the morning when we are able to think most clearly and act most quickly. I trained myself to sleep at 21:00, and wake up at 5:00. Turn off all technology by 20:00, get earmuffs/earplugs and a mask if you need them, lie still, focus only on your breathing, and relax. Repeat a mantra if you need to. If you still have work to do, do it in the morning. Nothing is more important than your health.

4. Don't be afraid to do things you're bad at.

It's always weird to step outside your comfort zone. To get through tough challenges thrown at you, you'll have to be something of a jack of all trades. In order to have an easier time talking to people far unlike me, I joined the speech team. I may not have been great, but I learned a great deal. I was able to come out of my shell and at least feel a little more comfortable in the crowd. I also developed a love for sharing my thoughts via text and speech.

5. Trust people.

I had difficulty trusting people for a long time. I constantly thought people were hiding their disdain and contempt for me. Over a couple years, I got over my trust issues, and I'm glad I did. Being able to reach out to someone in bad times is one of the most valuable relationships you can possibly have, and sadly it's personal anxiety that often blocks such relationships from forming.

6. Learn to eliminate bad habits.

Whether it be procrastinating on studying, skipping leg day, or showing up an hour late to an event, you should work to never make the same mistake twice. A system I follow is one I developed, inspired by The Buddha and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Every lunar cycle, I meditate on something that I consider harmful in life. From the full moon to new moon, I work that harmful element out of my life, permanently. It may have been something I adored, like Oreos or Dr. Pepper. Obviously, these two left a big hole in my life, so from the new moon to full moon, I replace them with something beneficial to me. I replaced Oreos with bananas, and Dr. Pepper with pomegranate juice. Do what works for you. By the moon, by the year, month, week, or even day if you're that ambitious.

7. Be very selective of your company.

You can tell a lot about someone by the kind of friends they have. Growing up I didn't have many friends, but the ones I had helped me grow enormously. They all possessed certain skills and knowledge beyond me, so they became my teachers. They all loved and cared about me, so they became my bodyguards. They all enjoyed pushing me to my limits, so they became my rivals. And I returned each favour. If someone does not better you in some way, does not offer you help when you need it, does not bring any positivity into your life, they are not worth your time. You are a valuable person. Don't let them diminish that.

8. Being smart/talented is never enough.

Remember how in Elementary and Middle School how everything was easy, and you barely tried and still got straight A's? Well, High School Onward isn't easy anymore. I made the mistake of half-assing my way though most of High School. I got my first B in Honours Biology, and my teacher actually talked to me after class, telling me I was better than this, and asking me why I refuse to work hard. My Honours Chemistry teacher actually yelled at me for it. He told me, "You've got a Ferrari for a brain. Why won't you drive it?" Don't make the mistake I made. Always give at least 100%.

9. There is no substitute for hard work.

This one is the next step up from Number 3. My Junior year, I started to pull myself together, and I started working hard. And now, I've become an A student again and got into a Global Top 20 school. My teachers, friends, and parents all pushed me to achieve my potential. Now, in University, everything rests on me. Get in that mental Ferrari of yours and go as fast as you can. It's an open road with no speed limits.

10. Always take notes.

Everything you hear, write it down. Whether you're talking to your friends, or sitting in a seminar with the CEO of Apple. Not only will it stop you from forgetting anything, but it lets the speaker know that you're listening. Don't be afraid to tell them to repeat what they said once or twice so you can write it down. This only further reinforces that you are interested in what they have to say, and it helps organise your thoughts. Fundamentally speaking, the reason we write is to clear our minds, moving our thoughts, feelings, and emotions from the mental notebook to a physical one. You may not be able to access a mental page again, but you will almost certainly be able to reread a page made of paper.

At the end of those 4 years, you may have hated it or loved it. I felt pretty neutral about my time, but these lessons will stick with me for the rest of my life. I'd like to know what your most treasured lessons are.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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