Revenge of Lessons I learned the Hard Way

While working on yesterday’s article, I came up with a few additional points that were a little too general for the audience I was addressing and made the piece a little too long. However; after looking at the feedback from yesterday, people seem to want more. So, I fleshed out these points a bit.

Your High School Friends Probably Won’t be Your College Friends

            This one can hurt a lot once it starts to sink in. Looking at who my friends are now, there really isn’t anyone I stay in regular contact with who I was close to in high school. For most of us, college is a huge period of growth and change, and the person you grow into may not necessarily be compatible with the person that your current friends are growing into. That’s not even factoring in if you go to different schools, or if one of you doesn’t go onto college at all.

Then, there are also going to be the ones that you just don’t want to be around anymore. In the case of one close friend of mine, he stopped going to classes so that he could smoke weed and eventually dropped out pretty early on. Another became incredibly self centered and manipulative to the point that nobody wanted anything to do with him. And, the one that may hurt the most is the one who didn’t change at all since we left high school together five years ago. Whenever we see each other, it feels like I’m with that same 16-year-old, but I’m 23 now, and it hurts a little.

You may be fortunate enough to stay close to those you are close to now, but don’t take it as a given for the future. Drifting apart as you get older is really just a part of life. It’s also magnified when swept up in college life and venturing out on your own. Just try to be understanding when it happens, and keep yourself open to new opportunities.


Figure Out How You Learn Most Effectively

I had a rough patch with some very poor grades in elementary school, and would up being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder around the time I was 10. My parents tried to counter this by simply trying to remove any and all possible distractions, and telling me that I was not to move until all of my studying was finished. Now, if you know much about ADD, then you probably know that this is pretty much the worst thing you can do, and all it really did was get me to hate schoolwork all the more. I can’t really blame them; I know at least my mother had the best intentions. Eventually, my parents just gave up trying to push me and gave me some breathing room. That turned out to be the best thing for me.

After a lot of trial and error, I learned that I have to meet the ADD half way. I almost need to have some sort of noise in the background, having something to keep my hands busy helps with the restlessness and makes it easier to think, and taking frequent breaks is an absolute must. That, and there are certain when I know that I’m too tired to properly absorb anything, and need to sleep. Also, I found I retained a lot more through discussion than I did by just reading. So, I made it a point to participate as much as I could during class so that I could get the most out of what was being taught.

A friend of mine is more of an audio learner, so he scans all of his notes into his computer, and puts them through a voice synthesizer program to create MP3 files of this material to listen to. Another friend learns best when sequestered for long periods of taking highlighters to her books and notes. Try different approaches, and the sooner you can identify what works and what doesn’t, the better off you’ll be.



If High School Really is the Best Years of Your Life, You’re Doing it Wrong.

            According to Wikipedia, the average American life expectancy is roughly 80 years. Let’s do some math here. Assuming you attend high school from the ages 14-18, you’re hitting your peak before you hit the 25% mark. Then consider that those four years are only 5% of that 80 year lifespan.

The point I’m trying to make here is high school is really only a small part of the bigger picture, and I saw a lot of kids my age taking it so seriously that they spent more time stressing than getting the most out of it.  Your social life will not be over if you can’t find a date to homecoming, your academic future is not in jeopardy because you bombed that science test, that acne won’t be there for too much longer, nobody will be around who remembers your ripped gym shorts,  and you’ll get over the “one that got away.”

For better or for worse, high school is just going to be four years. It’s up to you to make the most of what comes after.

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