Anyone who spent four years as a high school student at a technical school can all agree on one thing; not a single regret. Technical high schools are one of the few places you can say you actually enjoyed being at everyday, even though you’re forced to go. I mean sure, it’s school and every seventeen-year-old hates waking up at six a.m to get an education, but the 17-year-olds who woke up at six a.m to get a technical high school education knew that once they were awake and there, it wouldn’t be so bad. You don’t have to worry about the cliques that are always an issue at regular public schools, or being stuck in a absolutely awful math class for weeks. Everything that is flawed in regular school systems, most likely isn’t an issue for vocational schools, and here are just some of the reasons why.

1. Shop is a nonjudgemental zone:

When your stuck in a classroom setting learning a trade with the same group of people every other week for four fours, you get to know people pretty well. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to become practically family with this group. Laughs, ruthless arguments, and mental breakdowns will be shared by the group within those four classroom walls. Some will be better at the trade than others, but no one really cares. You all try your best to help each other and are sometimes forced to look past your differences to work together.

2. All regular public schools think they’re better than us:

Every vocational student has heard it from an outsider, “we get a better education than you slackers!” We get so used to it that we just laugh it off at a certain point. We start to realize that it’s kinda cute how much they feel the need to defend their education in comparison to ours on a constant basis, clearly something must be bothering them. But in reality, we’re getting the same education as them, but also learning a trade at the same exact time. Our work load is doubled. But we don’t mind, we know how much better off we are.

3. You have a love hate relationship with your shop teachers:

Oh man, this is hands down the most undeniable fact if you attend or graduated a vocational high school. Just like your classmates in shop, your teachers are right there next to you for the four-year ride. But unlike your classmates, your teachers are acting more like strict parents rather than friends. Some days you feel like all you’re going to do is butt heads with them, but then other days you feel like they’re your best friend. Shop teachers genuinely care about your education as well as how you’re doing in life in general, and that’s so much better than some random history teacher you have for a year. These teachers know so many details about you, like your family or who you’re dating and everything else you can imagine.

4. Because you went to a vocational school, people assume you’re not going to college:

A lot of people that graduate from a technical high school will, in fact, go to work in their trade, but a lot won’t too. And that’s okay. College isn’t for everyone, but it is for some. Just because you got a technical education doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to go get a college education. All you can do is eye roll at the people who think it’s not a good decision to learn a trade and then go to further your education.

5. Which shop you were in said a lot about who you were:

From HVAC to nursing, to graphic design, which shop you decide to go into will say a lot about you. The nursing and dental students typically are the ones who are willing to do double the work, and sometimes it’s even worse than academic weeks. Painting and design students were usually the eccentric ones who were so artistic you envied them. Shops like plumbing, electrical and HVAC were usually the kids who could make you laugh for hours and always knew how to have a good time.

6. Academic weeks were dreaded:

Everyone knew it, at the end of the week of shop, academics was soon to follow. All weekend you knew math and history classes were going to be daunting you for a whole five days until you got back into the more relaxed atmosphere of shop. Nobody actually enjoyed academics like most did shop. You can’t have half the good time as you would in shop. The only decent thing about academics was seeing everyone you can’t in shop.

7. We actually enjoyed our high school experience:

There’s a lot of people in regular school systems who can’t wait to graduate and move into the real world. But that’s not the case for most vocational students. It means saying goodbye to friends that have brome family, and a place that holds some memories you know you won’t ever forget. High school was a time of freedom and figuring out who you were with some genuine friends by your side. When you graduate and get together with a group of friends two years later after graduating, you reminisce on how amazing your high school experience was and what you would do to go back. You go to college and hear all these people talk about how much you hated high school, but you’re the only one in the grow bragging about how awesome you’re school was. You’d give anything just to experience it one more day.