High School was a fun time, but it was also arguably the most important time of our lives. The reason is because whatever we learn in high school is exactly what we’re going into the real world with.
I’ve always been critical of how our educational system prepares young adults who are about to be sent out into the real world. Here are three things I wish I knew right out of high school.
College Isn’t Everything
There is a lot of focus in high school about preparing you for college. It’s understandable that education is preparing you for higher education, but all without proper context.
The main purpose of college for many people is to get a higher paying job. This is done by specializing in a skill and gaining the credentials to provide as proof of your competence in that skill.
The first problem is understanding that having the credentials to offer a more valuable skill in the workforce isn’t exclusive to college. Trade schools can offer the same kind of value.
If you become certified as an electrician, an auto mechanic or a chef, you are now beyond the entry level employee. You have a valuable skill that’s worth more to employers so you’re going to be offered higher paying jobs.
The Second Problem
The second problem is that employment isn’t the only way to make money. There is self-employment (which is a branch of employment) and then there is business ownership. You can create value and market yourself as a product. If you get certified as a personal trainer or know a second language that is valuable, you can create your own program and charge people money for it. There are a lot of successful self employed individuals who make as much money or even more than conventionally employed people.
Each of these methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. The real problem however, is that in high school, there was no emphasis, in fact no mention of your other options as a young adult.
Routines and Scheduling
When you’re in school, life is easier because everything revolves around being a full time student. Your parents are responsible for your basic necessities like food, shelter, etc.
Right after high school however, you become a little bit more responsible for your life. Once you start making your own money or get your drivers license, you will start to manage your own lifestyle and resources.
You will start to slowly grow more and more independent. Suddenly things become a little more complicated.
It’s no Longer Simple
It’s not as simple as having to go to sleep when your parents nag you and get up at 7am so you’re not late for school anymore. Now, you have to control your own sleeping habits a little bit better and your own goals. You will need to decide what you want to do with your life and what your best approach to it will be.
Suddenly you’re in a situation where you desperately need structure. A lot of young adults make the mistake of taking a back seat to entropy. Letting life lead them to wherever it wants. You just end up staying up late, rushing to work late, and getting sucked into mindless entertainment on your down time. It’s somehow all okay too as long as you’re getting SOME work done……
You are doomed without having a proper morning routine. Managing your environment for distractions and having clear cut plans for your clear cut goals will leave you wasting a lot of time.
The worst part is that it will only get worse unless you proactively get involved. I wish they explained this to me in high school!
Don’t get too Invested in Love
Some of us don’t even wait until we’re out of high school to start dating, but either way, it become a lot bigger of a problem out of school. Most people aren’t actively seeking a partner.
They go about life and eventually run into someone that likes them at work, school or a frequent place of gather. Before you know it, you’re head over heals for this person and impulsively invest too much time and resources into this person. Just think about how much money you’ll be spending just to hang out with them. You’re also likely to neglecting some of your responsibilities to tend to some of theirs and push some of your goals to the side to make time for them.
The problem is even worse when it’s your first time dating. You being to feel things you’ve never felt before and the burst of excitement becomes very hard to contain.
The reason why all this becomes a problem is because of lot of young adults commit too soon. Unfortunately, emotions are difficult to fight against so under those conditions, it’s hard not to. One thing that would have helped me however, was someone older to explain the situation to me realistically. Even saying something like “this isn’t something special, it’s actually a typical response. Keep calm and stay in control”. Even something like that would have helped at least give me something to come back to.
Casual Dating is Healthy
Meeting different people and dating casually is very healthy for young adults because the get to meet different kinds of people and helps them develop an abundance mindset.
Not everyone you meet is “the one” and if your partner and yourself have a disagreement, there are other people in the world. Those words are easier said than done, but they’re definitely easier when you have proof of it.
If someone had explained to me right out of high school to meet all different kinds of people and not take dating too seriously, it would have saved me a lot of trouble in the future. A lot of young teens don’t have enough experience to know what the honey moon phase is and just commit too much too early with no guidance.