High School was suppose to get us ready for the real world, but did it really? There are so many things I wish I knew in high school that would have prepared me for the real world, but below are my top five.
Planning my Days
If I had a structured approach to doing homework and hanging out, school wouldn’t have been that difficult. My biggest problem in high school was my erratic lifestyle. I didn’t sleep at the same time consistently every night, I hung out with friends randomly, without a plan and I didn’t dedicate any time to my homework, I just did it at occasional breaks during my day.
Planning my school days and days off would have made my life so much easier. I would first consider planning my days around school responsibilities. The first and foundational step to that is to go to sleep early. I need to set a bed time for my self and a morning routine because all of my stress came stemmed from my terrible sleep schedule. Once my sleep was in order, I would go about planning my school days. One thing I would do differently is to consider doing homework before even getting home. Perhaps at a Starbucks or the library. Somewhere that I’m not distracted, but at the same time comfortable.
After that, I get all my school responsibilities off my shoulder, there is no longer a lingering pressure that will stress me out and distract me. Now, I can comfortably watch TV and chat with my friends. That leads me to the last change. I would give myself enough time to get ready for bed. So for example, if I get my bed time at 11pm, I should be closing shop at 9 and be in bed a little after 10 to help me wind down and get ready.
Saving money was another foreign concept to me. I would save some money in high school, but it was to buy sneakers and games. I never knew the value of putting some money aside for when I get out of high school. That’s understandable because to be honest, high school didn’t teach us how to survive in the real world, so it wasn’t in my range of expectations to know what I had in store for me.
By saving money and creating a spending system, I could have had money on deck at all times so whenever I needed to go to the movies or take the bus, I had money available. Not only that, but when I graduate, I already have a system that will help me manage my money when I start making more of it. I would also have money left over and avoid debt in the future.
All I had to do was understand the long term value of saving and how I can spend comfortably and save a lot. As a student, I had little to no personal expenses. That’s a very powerful thing that I failed to take advantage of. I couldn’t see outside of the school bubble and it all for granted. All the gift money, good grades money and holiday money went straight into games and trendy clothing!
When you’re in school, you’re in a bubble. You’re in what I call a school ecosystem. Certain things in school hold more value and get you further in that social setting than others. Being physically attractive in school was a big deal. Some really important effects came from wearing the latest trend, matching colors and wearing clothing that fit.
There are several side effects of looking good and one of them is that you feel good and often are more social because of the positive feed back you’re getting. Also, being attractive boosts ones confidence which usually promotes them to take more risks socially and get accepted into more peer groups. A great grooming routine, diet and some exercise also help. Diet and exercise can help with weight and skin conditions for people in school. Weight is a big thing and a lot of children get teased about it. It sucks and schools need to teach about weight acceptance, but there’s no sure way to tell how long that will take and how many will follow that trend if it does take off. In that case, just play it safe and lose the excess weight.
Acne is a big problem for kids that are going through puberty in school. Avoiding processed foods and simple sugars can help relieve the liver of unnecessary stress. When the liver is working normally, hormone management during the puberty transition will run a lot smoother.
The bottom line is that wearing nice fitting clothing, losing weight, grooming well and being mindful of your overall image is definitely an important thing that is severely overlooked in the school ecosystem.
Being Social in School
This world is all about other people. If people dislike you, you’re less likely to get jobs, find your soulmate, have quality friends and even make friends. The better you are with people, the more successful you are in pretty much all aspects of life. There’s a strong correlation between high social value and success in life. This doesn’t mean kiss everyone’s ass so they can like you, but it’s very important to avoid a few simple social “glitches”. These glitches can create a lot of unnecessary problems for you in school and especially in life.
- Stop getting offended so easily- A lot of people misinterpret their peer’s intention with language and get offended. If you find that your friends piss you off easily, you might want to reevaluate why you’re bothered. Sometimes friends are good to do only very specific things with. Like you might have a friend that’s a good dance partner, but they are horrible at keeping commitments. It’s probably best to do your best and avoid being involved with them in their areas of weakness and focus on just dancing. If you’re getting offended, just ask yourself why and how do you know the intentions in question. If someone is constantly letting you down or insulting you, just avoid them.
- Keep your composure- Do yourself a favor and don’t let your emotions get out of control. It’s really easy to have a mood swing, but it’s really hard to avoid showing how you feel. Try to pay attention to your actions when you feel a certain way and think about how you would feel if you ran into someone acting like that.
- Avoid meaningless competition with your friends- There’s no need to run the fastest, be the arm wrestling champion in class or even have the highest grades. Stop trying to compete with people. This usually at some point leads to animosity and competition just for the sake of watching a friend’s defeat. These kind of interactions are meaningless and wasteful. Instead, just focus on being the best at whatever you’re interested in. Don’t use anyone else as a milestone, just try to beat your own records
All you have to do is avoid those three common problems, appeal to people’s values and avoid sensitive topics, you should be in great shape. You’ll be popular with your peers, have the potential to make friends a lot easier and hold meaningful relationships longer.
Problem solving is by far the most important on as in all of the above is rooted in it. If we aren’t actively trying to solve a problem or create a new standard for ourselves, then we are just letting things happen to us passively. Having a framework to which I use to solve my problems would have been such a useful tool in school. For starters, schools teach us about the gold standard framework.
The scientific method is the gold standard when it comes to problem solving. However, we are taught the scientific method in very restricted application. We try to solve and plug things into the framework that have to do with what we’re learning about in class like mold, chemicals, cloud or rock types, etc. We are never taught how to use the scientific method to figure out what to wear in the morning or to find out what bike is the best to buy. That might sound stupid, but when you understand this method of breaking down information end up making less mistakes over the long run. After a while, it’ll become just another reflex of your brain.
Let’s use the clothing example from above:
Question: What should I wear for school tomorrow?
What will effect my choices?
The weather tomorrow
If I have matching shoes
If I’ve worn this outfit too often
How easily it can get dirty
I’ve looked in my drawer and see a red short sleeve shirt, green shirt, blue hoodie and a brown long sleeve. I have a pair of red shorts, white pants and navy jeans.
Hypothesis- The best combination is the brown long sleeve and my navy jeans. I feel like they’re the best solution because they are simple, accommodate for the weather and are less likely to get dirty compared to other clothing in my drawer.
Put on the clothing and check them out in the mirror
Ask multiple people for their opinion on how you look
Research online which clothing colors hide dirt the most
Analysis: Analyze what happened in the experimentation stage.
Conclusion: Based on the data and experimentation above, what came out to be the most probable outfit to be most successful for tomorrow?
Obviously this is a simple problem, but I just wanted to use this as an example to illustrate how this method of thinking can work in any situation. If you use this framework for everything, you won’t even need to remember it.
As long as you understand the principles behind this framework, you’ll just intuitively understand what you need to do in order to come to better conclusions in life. I only wish I was taught about the importance of this in school!
These are the Five Things I wish I knew in School. What are yours? Feel free to comment bellow!