25 Things High School Didn't Teach Me

25 Things High School Didn't Teach Me

What are taxes and how do you do them?
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It’s actually sad how many important life skills our high schools fail to teach us before shipping us off to college or into the real adult world. Here are a few things high school didn’t teach me:

1. How to study.

Here I am in my sophomore year of college still trying to figure out how to study for my exams because I was never actually taught how.

2. How to pack my stuff and move.

I had no idea how difficult this would be until I had to do it.

3. How to do my taxes.

Also, that taxes are a thing you need to do.

4. How to deal with the FAFSA and student loans.

Seriously, why do they not yet have a class on these things?

5. How to create a grocery list.

What kinds of things are supposed to go on grocery lists? How do you plan meals?

6. How to create a resume.

Turns out "I used to be in some clubs and one time I worked at that one place." isn't sufficient.

7. How to write a cover letter.

I'm not even really sure what a cover letter is, to be honest.

8. How to resolve unpleasant situations with other people.

I never really had any difficulties with this in high school (or now, for that matter), but I think they basically just sent you to the office and sat you down and yelled for a while and told you to stay away from the person you were having issues with. What if in the future I have a terrible roommate and I need to effectively communicate with her? How am I to know what to do then?

9. How to stay safe when going out.

It’s amazing how many people get to college and don’t realize that they shouldn’t let a stranger hand them a drink.

10. How to save money.

Also, how important it is to save money.

11. How to vote.

I was lucky enough to have a great government teacher who made sure we all became registered to vote, but nobody ever gave any other information beyond that. Perhaps voting is just one of those things that’s so simple now for them that they feel it requires no in-depth explanation?

12. How to pay bills.

Do I mail them? Are they online? Do they come EVERY month?!

13. How to manage stress.

Because high school stress doesn’t even begin to compare to college stress, and college stress probably doesn’t even touch real world, post-grad stress. How in the world could our high schools be okay with sending us out into this mess without first teaching us to keep our stress levels in check?

14. How to use social media without hurting future prospects.

There was not nearly enough emphasis put on the fact that employers can and will check your social media pages for inappropriate content, and that what they see could potentially prevent you from landing a job.

15. How to stay organized.

This is referring to both life in general and actual physical organization of material stuff.

16. How to be a good public speaker.

Also, how to not be utterly terrified of publicly presenting.

17. How to find the motivation to go to class every day.

In high school, there really was no option of whether or not to show up to class. That isn’t the case in college; whether or not you go depends entirely on you and the amount of motivation you’re able to muster up (which isn’t much when it’s -20 degrees outside).

18. How to make friends.

If this is a skill I did learn before I graduated high school, I must have forgotten it before getting to college.

19. How to budget.

I've bought Jimmy Johns 4 times this week.

20. How to effectively manage my time.

What am I supposed to do on weeks where I have two meetings, a test, a quiz, a paper due, and various other homework and social commitments? How am I supposed to get it all done?

21. How to buy a car or house.

I’m not to this point yet, but I will be at some point in the future and I’ll be completely lost.

22. How to identify and end poor relationships; how to create and maintain good relationships.

Friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships are all tested, and it would be good to know how to handle them.

23. How to balance a checkbook.

I was actually shocked to learn that people still use checks…even people my age! Also, I’ve come upon situations where it would be really handy to have checks, but since I was told back in high school that they’re basically no longer relevant, I didn’t bother getting any.

24. How to change the oil in my car.

This would be a sort of useful skill to have since it’s something that needs done so often. (Not that I actually think I’d change my car’s oil, but still… a good thing to know).

25. How to actually make decisions on my own.

What would I ever do without my mother?

Cover Image Credit: U.S. News

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1. Dispute ALL tickets... even if you were going 35mph over the speed limit.

ticket

How can it hurt? If anything you can save yourself some money.

2. If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late.

Your boss, your teachers, your co-workers... They all notice. Be the early one.

3. If you find yourself waking up feeling miserable, start the day by making your bed and washing your face.

Coming back to a made bed after a sh*tty day can change the world.

4. It's okay to fall off track once in a while. You'll only be wiser for next time. (Don't push it, though!)

When I say fall off track I don't mean COMPLETELY off... Just make sure you hold onto something that reminds you to keep going. You'll figure it out... Sometimes it takes years and that's okay.

5. Don't fight your family. They ARE always going to love you.

family

I used to fight my family and try to push them away... It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done looking back. So, even if you say, "I'm never going to like them!" Trust me you will. Unless they're actually toxic a**holes...

6. Mom actually, seriously, literally, insanely knows everything.

It's crazy, I swear my mom is psychic. Or she can see the future. I used to do the opposite of what she said and my life was messier... Now that I found out about her powers I listen and things run smoother. Weird. Love you, Ma.

7. If an elder in your family tries giving you money as a gift or to cover lunch... Reject it first.

They won't stop insisting and they will force you to take the money even if you say no 3,000 times. So why not earn some brownie points and act like you seriously didn't need it. Meanwhile, you know how badly you need it.

8. An e-mail and/or a phone call goes a long way.

Don't pester... But if you're the one who calls to "follow up on a resume," a week or two after you applied, you're the standout!

Also, as a college student, I find e-mailing and staying in touch with professors builds a relationship and engraves your name into their brains. As long as you're good at writing e-mails and a good student, they'll usually instinctively like you more; seeing how much effort you spent on communicating.

9. If you hate school, just suffer through the attendance, and make sure the teacher knows your name.

Even if you actually have no idea what Descartes sixth meditation is about... Just show up, do the work consistently, and build a relationship with the teacher. They won't fail you if they see effort. (Just don't give them a reason to!)

10. It seems like the end of the world sometimes... it's not.

"And this too shall pass."

11. If you hate yourself one day (or even all the time), just pretend you don't.

Did you know our facial expressions can influence our emotions?

12. Line up another miserable part-time job before quitting your current one.

work

Waitressing, customer service, reception... We've all been there and it usually sucks (Unless your parents spoil you too much). So, if you need to get the hell out of there, make sure you have somewhere else to go before you quit. And give 'em a notice in advance, don't be a d*ck.

13. Traveling is the best thing in the world.

travel

I don't need to explain much more. I think we can all agree we want to witness the beautiful parts of this world we've never seen before.

14. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold the door for them...

...hit them with the classic under-your-breath-but-you-know-they-heard-you type of "you're welcome!"

15. Respect authority, even if you think you're right.

cops

Just FULLY cooperate and it WILL be easier. It's also great to make friends with authority figures. Talk to everyone! Make connections and maybe you'll learn something new.

16. Spend time outside and in public.

After high school, you aren't forced into a classroom five days a week where you will have to socialize. After high school, you can decide to chill in your room and do nothing. But seriously don't make a habit out of it, you will end up feeling like crap when you realize you have no friends.

17. Don't roll your eyes at people.

So rude. Eye-rolling just makes it look like you're admitting you're wrong and you have no defense to whatever made you roll your eyes.

18. Life's a b*tch and then you die... But guess what? Even B*tches have fun!

mean girls

News flash, we are currently all in the process of dying. Stop worrying so much and try to have fun even in the dullest of moments.

19. If you're speaking about something professional, call don't text.

You do realize we still have a call feature on the iPhone, right? Use it.

20. Decorate the Christmas tree with your family amidst your teen angst.

 christmas

It really seems like a horrible excursion to pile into a mini-van, cut down a tree in the freezing cold, and then hang shiny balls while developing a rash on your hand from the prickles... But down the road, you'll regret not doing it.

21. The D.A.R.E. program makes it seem like drugs are just freely handed out.

drugs

That sh*t's expensive. And you don't want to do it, anyway (Minus weed it's harmless, just wait until you're old enough!) .

22. Smile and say hi to as many people a day as you can.

You never know if you just made someone feel a little better or accepted.

23. Make sure the E-brake is OFF.

brake

It will sound like you're dragging a dead body attached to your car and will ruin your brakes. Just double check.

24. Use all your resources even when it seems pointless.

Even if you learn absolutely nothing, you gain connections.

25. What's most important in life?

Connections.

26. Know how to swim.

swim

It is a basic skill everyone should know. You don't need to be Phelps. Just doggy paddle if you're really that bad.

27. If you don't have a firm handshake, learn how to, a**hole.

handshake

If you are a lady shaking a man's hand, strive to have a firmer grip than him. You'll either scare the sh*t out of him, gain serious respect, or get complimented on how great your handshake is! That's my favorite compliment if I'm being honest.

28. Step back and think before you explode.

Seriously dude, don't press send. You probably used the words, "like" and "literally" too much in your text, anyway. Wait 10 minutes and see if it's worth it.

Also, it's better in person.

29. Question everything.

question

Never assume you're safe or well-informed. There could be a murderer in that restaurant... Question anything that you aren't sure of. Hell, even question what you are sure of.

30. Don't trust a headline or statistic until you know it's credible.

What if you're looking at a bar graph from 1968, not 2018? You might think this is obvious, but there are clearly plenty of people who share false information. We've probably done it ourselves before. We should all work on that.

31. Park far from the store.

parkng

Walk, you lazy youthful soul. Unless you require a handicap spot or weather conditions are poor.

32. Take the stairs.

"I have no time to workout!" *takes elevator*

33. Don't text people when you want to tell them how you feel.

It only makes you feel good for like 20 seconds and then you'll probably read it back saying, "What was I thinking?"

34. Have something to be proud of.

Otherwise, you'll get lost. Life is confusing.

35. Listen to old school music, the classics, and artists who inspired what we hear today.

music

We cannot let the real instruments die people. Do you know how fun a jam band show is?

36. If you're inspired, act fast.

Don't let inspiration slip away. Sometimes it's easy to forget that great feeling.

37. If you start, finish.

Finish what you start and do the best you can at it. We all have off days, that doesn't mean you suck if you mess something up a few times.

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.

beer

You don't want your favorite bikini stowed in the wrong plane when you go on vacation. Plus you spent all of your money on Corona's and can't buy a new one.

39. Change your oil.

Love your car and it will try to love you back.

Good Luck!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fahey

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To Any Student Who Has No Idea How To Deal With The Last Few Weeks Of School

We've all been a mess at some point, but high school is usually when you start getting crushed by the massive expectations of everyone and everything you have to do.
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Dear very stressed student,

It's that time of the year — late May. For some reason, your teachers thought it was a good idea to hold all the major projects and tests until now and suddenly expect you to be able to study for and do well on every single one of them. And then there are extracurriculars to deal with. It might be an end of year music exam or the last game of the season. You feel like you're ready to explode from all the pressure and just can't wait until everything is over. Sound familiar?

The truth is, every student has experienced this, especially high school students. This is only my first year in high school, yet the pressure that everything adds to me builds up over time, and when the due dates come up, it's like a cold hard hand slapping you in the face, ordering you to toughen up. No one enjoys that, and it certainly doesn't help with morale.

One thing that most people don't understand is that these end of year examinations don't completely define your success. They certainly don't define you as a person. Some people can handle stress better than others, and not every test is going to be something you excel at. The next time you feel overwhelmed, try sitting back and thinking about all your accomplishments and the good things you've done to get to where you are right now. Surely if you're so stressed, you worked hard in the past to get yourself to that level.

Congratulate yourself, give yourself a little pep talk and move forward. Remember that in about a month, you'll look back on this time and laugh at yourself and how desperate you acted.

You also absolutely positively don't want to procrastinate! I know that it is tempting, and I know that your device may call to you. You must understand that you only have to stress about most of these things for a few more weeks, and then you get a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, no matter what you're doing in the summer. And sorry to break it to you, but hardcore studying for five hours straight will do nothing good for your memory or your health. The night before the exam, you either know something or you don't, so cramming will just hurt you.

Instead, try to make sure that you really know what you know and let instinct guide you on what you don't. Your first guess is usually right in pretty much everything.

SEE ALSO: My Ultimate Pep Talk For Students Stressing: What To Do When Everyone Expects It All From You

Make sure you go into whatever you're doing with a clear mind, with 100 percent of your focus on the task at hand. It may not seem like it, but it is a huge commonality for people, especially teenagers, to be thinking about something else or doing something else when they are supposed to be focusing all their efforts on what they need to do at the moment. I've experienced this firsthand and often caught myself contemplating life during my EOC testing when I was in the middle of writing an essay or reading a passage (oops!).

The truth is, you cannot completely control your thoughts, but you can train your brain to weed out thoughts that may be unnecessary at the moment. Meditation helps to focus your thoughts immensely. Just sit in a quiet spot and focus on one image or word. If other thoughts come to you (which they will), just leave them and refuse to think about them. Act lazy!

Take a deep breath and relax. Whatever needs to be done will be done, and you will end up doing it eventually. In the meantime, there's no point in stressing about something you have no control over until it's upon you. A little optimism never hurt anybody. Good luck on your exams, and walk into them with a smile.

Best,

Kashvi Mundra

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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