Whether it was the greatest time of your life or the worst, from freshman to senior, we were all in high school once. If you graduated yesterday, decades ago or if your convocation is happening this summer, (shout out to the upcoming 2016 grads on their #RoadToRyerson!) here are five instances when your secondary school education failed to prepare you for real life.
1. Dress Code
Long gone are the days of vice principals and prefects roaming the halls, citation slips in tow, itching to write up anyone in an ensemble deemed inappropriate. Sagging pants? Detention. Exposed midriff? Phone call home. Bare shoulders? 25 years-to-life. Especially for those who attended a uniformed Catholic or private high school, university awakens your kilt and knee sock dreams. In the real world, your go-to attire is based on practicality, professionalism or (of course) what you want to wear. Your tank top straps do not have to abide by the 3-finger-rule and somehow, male and female students alike manage to concentrate, learn and pass their classes every semester. Hmm…
2. Saved by the bell? Nope.
That cyclic homeroom to fifth period routine is no more. Unless you belt out the national anthem during your morning shower, your day no longer begins with the singing of O’ Canada. Likewise, class starts exactly 10 minutes after the hour, not at the sound of a bell and there is no voice over a PA system to remind you about soccer tryouts or the Harry Potter Association’s weekly meeting. In reality, the responsibility to be prompt and remember important dates/deadlines is all your own.
In the same way, after Grade 12, slacking off will cost you – literally. Unlike high school teachers, professors do not nag you for assignments or contact your mom to express their concern about your slipping grades. Post-secondary education is not free. If you didn’t already know, it’s actually super duper expensive. Fact: Depending on your program’s tuition costs, you could technically be spending up to $250 per class. (That means every four classes you skip is a wasted $1K!)
3. Extra-Curricular Activities
Contrary to what just about every American teen sitcom says about college, your future is not determined by the list of extra-curricular involvements on your post-secondary school application (in Canada, at least.) The truth is, after graduation, nobody knows (or cares) if you were prom king, cheerleading captain, a mathlete or president of student council.
Many Canadian university programs don’t even consider non-academic requirements when granting acceptances. Though high school clubs and sports are an incredible way to develop interests, build team/leadership skills and make friends, those experiences cannot be relied on for very long after high school graduation. In university – and life in general – you are constantly building and rebuilding a name for yourself.
Getting involved is vital to success, but your previous placement
within the high school food chain ceases to define you once you leave.
4. You Can Sit With Us
Whether you were considered a jock, a nerd, a popular or a hipster, the dichotomy of “cool kids” and “losers” seems to find its way into nearly every high school social system. The structure asserts that you must find the group to which you belong and occupy that cafeteria seat for the next four years; but really, you can lead a fulfilled and happy life without ever feeling like you “fit in.” While cliques and their gossip exist through adulthood, after high school it becomes much easier to embrace every facet of yourself – your metaphorical lunch table can be as big as possible. You can belong to multiple crowds, sitting with everyone and allowing everyone to sit with you.
5. Potty Breaks
Finally, high school’s greatest deceit: full-grown adults are entrusted to make life-altering decisions, yet they must ask permission to use the bathroom. At barely 18-years-old, high schoolers are expected to decide what career they will pursue for the next 40+ years, but they cannot pee without authorization. If you’re wondering – and don’t be embarrassed if you genuinely are, (I know I was) – no, you do not have to request the use of the restroom in university… or any educational/work institution thereafter.
All in all, perhaps you should hope high school was not the best time of your life. Instead, for good reason, believe your most excellent years are yet to come.
Is there something missing from this list? Did this post bring back any good ol’ high school memories? Tweet us @RUStudentLife and let us know.
P.S. By the way, prom is vastly overrated. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you will soon.