What Exactly Were You Doing In High School?

Not a day goes by where I come across yet another whinge-fest comparing High School to a prison. Nowhere do I see in these screeds where the author themselves tried to make the best of the situation. It’s pure complaining and whining.

It dawned on me recently, these people didn’t do anything to better themselves.

Oh, sure, they were a “rebel” who “unfairly” got in trouble for arguing with their dumb-dumb teachers. However, there is one question that can be asked of this. If High School was “like a prison“, implying it was easy, why didn’t you coast through it with high grades? All while bettering yourself?

I’ll make a prediction that the loudest complainers actually did the least in school. You know the type: they took only the required classes. They had days where they had more than one study hall. They didn’t do sports and weren’t in any clubs. They didn’t sing or play an instrument. They didn’t challenge themselves with honors or AP classes. They abhorred “electives” like photography, shop, or mechanical drawing. They were a body in a seat that didn’t want to be there.

Before the comments section lights up in “But, this!” and “Exception, that!” or “My teachers were (or are) all idiots!” I’ll give you a piece of life advice: A lot of people in the world are morons. Some will be in positions of authority over you. Guess what? You’ll have to learn to deal with it. Give them what they want.

(As an aside: If half of these guys hate other people as much as they claim to, why don’t they eat a bullet and end it all?)

Your teacher might be dumber than you. Big deal. While you might gain a small bit of smug satisfaction from arguing successfully with them, at what cost though? By prolonging your day in “your prison” with detention? Or having them mark you down continually because you’re “difficult”?

Give them what they want.

While you’re giving them what they want, you work on bettering yourself. Read good books. Learn about a topic that interests you. Go out for a sports team. Join a club. Take an art class. Do the school play or musical. Work towards a future-based you.

For me, High School was a joke. I found it to be not that difficult at all. Having said that, I never viewed it with vitriolic hatred to call it a “prison“. I learned at an early age that arguing with your teachers was a waste of time. I learned to “smile and nod” and go with the flow.

I did my homework.

I got grades that allowed me to later take six AP classes; earning enough college credit to enter university as a second semester Freshman.

I did sports in soccer, wrestling, and track.

I continued my life-long love of singing by being in the lower and later the upper chorus.

I constantly read books that weren’t assigned by the teacher.

I was always looking to learn something new, which is much easier nowadays with the Internet.

The point is that I didn’t go full difficult contrarian asshole, disliked by everyone. I didn’t brag about getting D’s and F’s because I was angry I couldn’t be home playing videogames all day.

Were there days where I hated school? Sure. Did I wish sometimes I could just stay home to play videogames or watch TV instead of going to class? Of course.

I am a human being with feelings, after all.

In short this whole “High School is a prison!” argument is identical to the “Woe is me! Why can’t I find high IQ friends to talk to!” complaint. The advice for these problems is the same: Grow up and learn to live in the real world. Learn to deal with it, and make the best of the situation.


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