10 Things They Don’t Teach You in High School (And Should)

In my humble opinion, it’s better for kids these days to be home-schooled, tutored and/or use Internet programs to learn. Reading and writing are definitely important skills, but you don’t need a classroom to gain these skills.

As stated by Angela Chase (Claire Danes) in My So-Called Life: “School is a battlefield – for your heart.” I need not state the incessant bullying and cruel nature of high school’s hierarchy, but even when it comes to learning, the standard high school does not open enough doors for teens when it comes to discovering their true passion. The word “curriculum” in itself sounds scientific. What it provides is only a scintilla of what kids really need to know.

And so, here are 10 things I believe students should know, or at least be aware of, that they don’t teach you in high school.

1. Popularity’s a subtle hex. Even if you just happen to fall into friendship with popular kids, most times it’s the losers who have the most success. Rule of the thumb: Before the sweet comes the bitter. After the bitter comes the sweet.

2. College isn’t necessary. Only if you want to be a doctor or lawyer do you need a college degree. If you must attend school after 12 years, go to school online. It’ll save you time and money. Otherwise, unless your dream is to be a pencil pusher, there are plenty of options out there. The Internet does have its perks. And why do you think so many students go to college without having a major? I say it’s because high school doesn’t teach you what to be passionate about.

3. Even if all your friends go, don’t think prom and school dances are necessary “rites of passage.” If you enjoy enduring bad music, miserable caterers and wasting money on a dress/tux/jewelry/hair/manicure/shoes/makeup, then go for it. But especially if you plan on attending college after high school, you might easily regret the money you spend at a two-hour event where most times everyone just sits at their tables and waits for the after-party. If you must go, or even if you want to go, buy a dress that you might wear again. (Obviously females have it harder in this matter).

4. Grades are not THAT important. Unless you want to get into Harvard, most colleges will accept anyone, even with steady Cs. If you disagree, that’s fine, but I know people who got into good colleges without being straight-A students. Remember that you have more options than what your teachers or guidance counselors might tell you. Of course, if you can get the As, that’s great. But remember, there are more things to bother yourself with in high school than merely your classes – and in no way am I referring to petty drama.

5. Extra-Curricular Activities: Take part in them. I know firsthand that as a freshman it’s often intimidating to take part in such activities when they might involve kids older than you. But I knew more as a freshman than I did as a senior. If you don’t join in your freshman year, that’s fine, but I find that most kids who don’t join early have no ambition to in their later years. If you don’t end up liking it, quit. But these after-school activities can help open doors and show you different career possibilities (They might even get you free days out of school). If your school doesn’t have any clubs you’d enjoy joining, start your own. These are the things that stand out own your potential school resume, beyond even grades.

6. Friendship isn’t forever. You may think you and your BFF are inseparable, but think again. Maybe years after graduation you and your friends are still close, or perhaps you keep in touch by emails, Facebook or random phone calls. But do not fret if you lose contact and/or are betrayed by people who you used to be close with. It’s the sad truth. Are you familiar with “Sex & the City”? Well, even the friendship with those four women is not quite realistic. But the point is that even if you lose your friends after high school, the friendships that are truly lasting typically come later in life, whether or not you go to college.

7. You and your boyfriend/girlfriend won’t be together forever. This may be obvious to some, but I think it should be stressed. Even if you and your partner are divinely meant to be together, even if it’s written in the stars, even if life didn’t happen to the two of you, it is simply not wise or realistic to believe that high school relationships last long. Not just because you may meet someone else, but because life has so much to offer after high school that often occupations and hobbies will tear you apart. Unless you and your mate are exactly the same person, eventually you will want different things, unless you don’t want to experience and experiment with anything else in life besides young love (and hopefully this also covers why forming a “pregnancy pact” is a horrible idea).

8. Teachers have favorites. Disappointing, but true. Even more so though, are figures like principals and office ladies who have grudges against certain students. This is particularly prevalent in small schools. I know a girl who was gypped out of several promising endeavors, namely valedictorian, despite her good grades, and simply for her reputation. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t a big loss for her. But if you believe in the butterfly effect, little things like this can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, even to “authority” figures.

9. Music – It’ll help you get by. I know often it’s frowned upon, but wear your headphones in the hallways. Get lost in it. This is perhaps the one and only thing that truly helped me survive high school. It is your friend when you have none, your ally when all you have are enemies, your confidant when all your “friends” tell your secrets. Of course, this is true when it comes to one’s entire life in general.

10. There is life after high school! I know this may be obvious, but it’s true. I know men without even a high school diploma who make more money in construction than those who go to college (factoring in, of course, all the financial debt). If you’re not concerned with money but perhaps substance, know that there are diverse people out there, people who may just share your interests and passions that no one else in high school, let alone your family, will.

“We don’t need no education” may be a stretch, but it rings truer than you might think.