The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

One Important Thing 2 Remember in High School That Could Impact the Rest of Your Life

Last night was Back to School night for my daughter who is a sophomore in high school. I have to admit, while I dread having to go out after a long day of work (on a rainy dreary evening no less), I love Back to School night. Yes I enjoy meeting my daughter’s teachers and hearing what she’s learning about and I love the enthusiasm of the teachers for their craft. It’s easy for me to feel these things as an adult though because I don’t have to sit through these classes and have enough life wisdom to know that what you’re learning in high school will shape your future and outlooks for the rest of your life. But did anyone tell you that in high school? I bet not and that’s what got me thinking.

As I was sitting in the English class presentation I found myself fondly reminiscing about the first time I read To Kill a Mockingbird and those first deep dives into literature and reading where you turn from a regurgitator of facts to a critical thinker. I felt that love of writing and reading bubble up in me again and wished that someone had told me when I was a teen to pay attention to those feelings. While my college and graduate school path led me into science (another love) I easily could have been an English major and may have been if I had honored those high school feelings a bit more.

So my advice to you is this: pay attention to how you feel about certain classes, topics, events and experiences in high school. Pay attention to what sparks your interest, what leaves you stone cold bored, what makes you want to learn more, etc. You have plenty of time ahead of you to carve out your career and academic choices in college and beyond but these first exposures to all these different classes matter. They are your first deep dive on a higher learning level into so many different worlds and topics and, if you pay attention, you may see a certain path or interests developing along the way.

I know there will be classes with bad/boring teachers and classes that you’re only taking because you have to so the moments and sparks of interest may be fleeting and limited but all the more reason to pay attention to them. Your sudden interest in a topic is something you can explore as you go along and either embrace more fully or reject along the way. But that “Oh, that’s interesting” moment could also lead you into your future career path and choice of study.

Small moments matter and so do your feelings. Honor them in high school and they will serve you well in the rest of your life.

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