Dear high school,
Looking back at my high school education, I’ve noticed more and more of your flaws and thought I would point them out to you.
1. The English language and its grammar
For some unknown reason, it seems to be that primary and secondary educations are putting less of an emphasis on how to actually speak and write the English language. This semester of my sophomore year in college, I am taking a course called Grammar and Usage, as it’s required for my writing major, and thank the lucky stars I subconsciously know English or else there would be a breakdown in communication. I hear of stories being so angry at people who don’t know the difference between two/to/too and there/their/they’re. The reason why: because people aren’t taught the difference.
Here’s a little grammar fun fact: “two” is the cardinal number, “to” is the proposition, and “too” can be included in the optional adverbial slot. “There” is an expletive with a grammatical function but conveys no meaning, “their” is the possessive form of the third person plural personal pronoun, and “they’re” is a contracted version of the third person pronoun subject and BE verb “they are.”
2. How to write a resumé and cover letter
As the time for applying to internships and jobs approach, I found some of my resumes and cover letters from when I was applying to colleges and decided to read them for sentimental purposes… How did I even get into college? What was I even thinking? I never realized how much of a bad writer I was until I read that. I’m surprised any colleges even accepted me. But then again I was able to see how much I have grown as a writer and professional. Hopefully, I won’t produce another cover letter like I did during my high school days.
3. Anything useful in economics (macro and micro)
The idea of economics scares me. I liked Macro (but mostly because I was able to comprehend that easily) but Micro… not so much. Two years later and because I’m a college student and actually have a job, I have the opportunity to fill out my taxes. And yet, I have no idea how! I think it would be beneficial to talk about this application of economics to the real life, such as student loans, mortgages, tax forms, rent, bills.
Sadly, I never learned those things and the only material I remember from my days in AP Economics senior year are the supply and demand curve. At least I know that when the demand for a product goes up, the supply should, too. But you have to also consider the equilibrium point because that’s when you’re going to achieve anything.
4. The true meaning of the scientific method
Whenever there was a project or an experiment in our science classes, my teachers stressed the idea of one and done and now let’s move on. But after taking an Astronomy course my freshman year (and spending three weeks just talking about the scientific method) I was not really surprised that my high school had it wrong. Here is how the scientific process is supposed to go:
The Scientific Process
- Make an observation
- Make a hypothesis (needs to be testable)
- Make a prediction based on the hypothesis
- Design an experiment
- Conduct the experiment
- Gather data
- Analyze/ Interpret data
- Conclusion/ Discussion - relates data to hypothesis
- Share science and findings with others
- At conferences, peer review journal, etc.
- Does data support or contradict the hypothesis? (similar to step 1)
- Is hypothesis falsified?
- If so - modify hypothesis (similar to step 2)
- Is hypothesis falsified?
This is how my school made it seem:
- Make a hypothesis
- Make a prediction
- Be given an experiment to perform
- Conduct the experiment
- Gather data (though questionable if correct)
- Make a half-assed conclusion about the data to prove your hypothesis
- The end.
I think high school is missing a few things in between, such as there is no such thing as “proof” in science but evidence. But isn’t it nice to know that your high school education went to waste?
5. The difference between debate and argument
High school likes to mix, as well as combine, these two terms: “debate” and “argument." Through the lens of high school, an argumentative paper must prove that your point is right and the best option whereas all counter-arguments are wrong. And that’s the mentality we have in debate, one side is right and one side is wrong. But YOU’RE wrong high school. That’s not the purpose of an argument and a debate for that matter.
As a writing major, we are required to take an Argument writing course where we don’t prove one side is better over the other. Instead, we have a conversation about a topic. You provide evidence (not proof) that your claim is most desirable. More importantly, in any and all arguments, you try to find a common ground. You don’t want to completely change someone’s mind to throw away their own morals and beliefs but to understand the other side and find a solution that fits both ends of an argument. It’s about learning and adapting your own views once given the counterpoints and evidence. An argument is supposed to be flexible.
6. What I wanted to pursue as a career
If your high school was like mine, they would have stressed the importance of the business, technology, math, and science classes. Now imagine someone who hated all those areas (business and technology specifically) being forced to take those classes. Not a pretty sight.
I was interested more in the English electives as I wanted to go into something more liberal arts. Took Introduction to Acting, didn’t like it; I wanted to be behind the scenes. But then my junior year, we had a new tax fail to pass which resulted in budget cuts at my school. Guess what classes they got rid of — all the English electives. Guess what classes they kept — all the STEM classes.
I wanted to take a playwriting and media class my senior year (as that was the only time I could take it before I graduated) but due to time conflicts, I could only take the media class. I liked it enough to major in Writing for TV, Film, and Emerging Media to come to realize I wasn’t prepared for it at all.
7. Who I wanted to be as a person
I always felt like I had to hide who I was in high school. I was already the outsider with barely any friends, the teacher’s pet who followed the rules and did the work, the socially awkward because I didn’t talk to the “it” crowd when I knew they would just talk down on me. While that is true and that is a part of me (I’ll admit and accept that) it’s not who I was. But because everyone expected me to put on this persona I almost forgot and lost myself.
It never ceases to amaze me when people from high school see me and are shocked when I say I’m nervous about college (thanks, anxiety) because I did so well in high school. Or when they see my tattoo because they never thought I was capable of doing something like that. Or when I seem to understand the word “fun” because I was so quiet during high school. Well, guess what high school, you never let me develop my identity so of course, your perception will be drastically off.
Thanks, high school, for absolutely nothing.
Someone who won’t refer back to your methods