The beginning of high school means coming face-to-face with the new realities of the next four years of every student’s life. These four years are essential to the start of new transitions, including the change of environments and advancement in the school curriculum. High school is a necessary experience that teaches you new skills and prepares you for the future. While these new endeavors may seem daunting, special opportunities and challenges can not only allow you to appreciate your high school years, but can also enhance your experience as well.

Although many teenagers view the idea of high school as a waste of time, students who participate and respect the value of learning tend to appreciate the lifelong lessons high school can offer. Without the full experience, teenagers are less likely to appreciate the skills and qualities they can gain over the critical four years of high school.

The time completed in high school can set a strong foundation for every student. The education a student receives teaches them key fundamentals of life and lays the groundwork for any future aspirations. Beyond teaching everyday classroom curriculum, high school can teach students to research, collaborate, problem-solve and take initiative with their curiosity and imagination. Additionally, teaching time management can help students to not only handle their schoolwork and extracurriculars, but it can also help them to balance their education and social life.

“Balancing swimming and school has taught me great time management,” junior Meg Howell said. “I have to wake up super early, so making sure I get my assignments and projects finished early is super important to me.”

Participating in high school extracurricular activities, such as clubs and sports, gives young teenagers the opportunity to have great bonds with peers and a more well-rounded high school experience. These various activities allow students to explore new things and interests they enjoy. It is important for students to not only receive an education that consists of numerous academic skills, but social skills as well. 

“Playing Maclay soccer has allowed me to be a part of a great team and become closer to upperclassmen,” junior Sofia Parades said.“ It’s something I look forward to every day!” 

High school clubs and sports allow students to improve their personal experience by learning teamwork and creating strong relationships. It can also help students relate to one another, as well as provide an outlet to talk about similar interests. While school teaches students to balance their academic and social life, it also teaches them the vital skill of applying oneself, which will be useful in the future.

Along with the important concepts of learning, preparation and socialization that high school provides, students can find it easier to have a wide range of opportunities after receiving a high school diploma. What many students do not realize is that without a diploma, it can be difficult to pursue careers, making further actions and aspirations limited. 

“An individual’s educational attainment is one of the most important determinants of their life chances in terms of employment, income, health status, housing and many other amenities, ” Columbia Academic professor Henry Levin said. “Life chances depend so heavily on education.”

Students who figure out which subjects they enjoy can better prepare themselves for college and real-life decisions. The skills you learn in high school are some of the most essential concepts that will help you succeed in the future. The forming of new relationships and participation in clubs can also become necessary for most college students and their life endeavors. While most students take high school for granted, it is a crucial part of their academic life that will help with further occupations. 

“I feel very prepared for college after Maclay because I think the teachers give students a realistic perspective of what a real college class is like,” recent Maclay senior Ramsay Grant said. “It has allowed me to form really strong connections and friendships so I feel confident that I will be able to do the same in college meeting new friends and professors.” 

With all the opportunities and preparation a high school experience can offer, it is important that we realize how useful our education can be in the future. Simple skills such as time management and the fundamentals of learning can be a vital part of succeeding in the future. Additionally, after high school ends, the wide range of challenges and experiences we face during these four years will benefit us in college and life. The next time you wake up dreading another day of school, remember that you only get this experience once, and that it is time for students to use these four years wisely to ensure the greatest possible future.

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