High school might have taught you more than you may think

Martha Lueck

When I graduated high school, I was so happy to be done because I didn’t have to relive those four years. But looking back, I underestimated just what I got out of high school and how my experiences help shaped my future.

High school serves as the crucial point of communicating in social groups. You might remember the cliques. Maybe you were not in the ideal clique, but you got a sense of who you were. Part of growing up is growing into yourself. You can define who you are, but your decisions are affected by the reactions of those who surround you. In high school, it is easier to let other people’s thoughts control your actions. April James, junior painting and art education major, knows this.

“High schoolers do what other people want them to do and not what they want to do,” James said.

The same influence comes from good friends you keep in the future. James’ best friend, whom she talks to everyday, encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming a video game designer. James graduated high school in 2002, but back then, there were no programs for video game design. Even though James was very uncertain about what she would do with her future and faced lack of support from her parents, her best friend’s encouragement affected her ability to get an art degree.

“I don’t know if I would have kept going at my dream if I didn’t have someone to talk to [for support],” James said. “[Without my friend], I still would have wanted to [get my degree], but I don’t know if I would have actually done it.”

Along with support from friends down the road, many students meet other students from their high school whom they didn’t know before. Hannah Love, senior communicative disorders major, had this experience. During her first year, her friends from high school introduced her to a kid she didn’t know. She then found out that he went to her high school, and they became closer during their sophomore year.

“Meeting anybody is possible, and it is true that it’s like a small world. You could [have] had a connection before, and you didn’t know it,” Love said.

Along with missed connections from high school, junior psychology major Rachel Sonberg found high school helped her become more open to people. She found it easier to appreciate others’ knowledge and she carries this with her throughout college.

“You learn something from everyone,” Sonberg said. “There’s no limit to what you can learn from anyone.”

While high school set the stage for good communication skills and lasting friendships, it also served as the blueprint of the future. It gave you a chance to explore your interests. You formed your dreams and found out how you got them. When you take that with you in college, you’ll find out where to go with your dreams.

Caela Hinkle, freshman psychology and art major, realized high school influenced her to pursue psychology. The problem was, she didn’t know where to go with it.

“In [high school], there wasn’t any flexibility,” Hinkle said. “[But in college], I found out that I could double major.”

James continues her passion for art. Her interest sparked from a research project in English about video game design. Even years after she graduated, she knows the true value that inspiration from high school gave her.

“If you’re real passionate about something, you’re going to work really hard and get it no matter what,” James said.

When we look at high school through our earlier perspectives, it’s easy to think that we’re done with the past. It’s easy to think that it doesn’t affect us now. But the reality is, our social lives and our anticipations of the future have been affected. In 10 years, we might be able to say the same thing about college.