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Even if you think your high school experience sucked, it may have taught you valuable life lessons that stick with you today.

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Not many people look back on their high school years fondly – it was a time of excessive peer pressure trying to fit in and look cool – like drug abuse and getting yourself in situations such as drug and alcohol treatment in Iowa, constant popularity contests that never made sense, not to mention bullying cases that happened to some of us. In addition, it was a time when you were discovering yourself as a teen, and that came with its own issues.

Teachers were always on your neck, and your classmates were mean. Some classes and lessons you learnt back then have no relevance in your life now. However, there are important lessons that you unknowingly learnt in high school that have shaped you into the person you are today, and they have nothing to do with algebra or chemistry class. Reviewing some of those values will make you understand why you are a different person now than when you were a pre-teen. They include:

The importance of being on time

Students all see school as a jail cell, because they are constantly forced to follow schedules, run to class, and forced to be in the right place every time. For instance, getting locked out of your math class when you get late, or receiving a punishment for late submission of assignments may seem annoying, but has made you into a reliable person who takes their work seriously and does the right thing at the right time.

You can now make it into meetings early, thanks to all those punishments you endured back then.

It taught you to set priorities straight

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If there is one thing human beings struggle with, it is doing something they do not feel or want to do, even though it is important.

High school had an abundance of this – no one wants to do something important, no one wants to go to that boring class, no one wants to do that annoying, boring assignment. People would rather do enjoyable things like going to see friends, party all night, watch the latest TV series and movies, or rehearsing for musicals.

However, this did prepare you for unpleasant experiences in the real world, or things that seem mundane. For instance, waiting in line instead of barging in, filing your tax returns, and working on an annoying project that you have been assigned to.

Respecting authority figures

No one likes rules, but they are more important than you think. Otherwise, if they did not exist, school and society would be lawless, and you would not feel safe anyway.

For instance, respecting the time limits of certain activities, leaving the dining hall clean and organized, minding your teachers and school administration even if they were arrogant and prickly – all these skills are very useful in your post-high school years.

It does not boil down to conforming to the system, it is all about following the rules for your own sake. You cannot be happy and safe in a lawless society, and school teaches you that. When people follow the rules, life becomes organized and you can accomplish the things you have set out to do.

The importance of collaborating with others

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None of us can forget the pressure of exams, assignments or big projects that were due. You also cannot forget the measures you took when anticipating all these things – you turned to your classmates and friends, asked them what they were reading on, how you could approach the questions, how they knew certain topics, if they could teach you, and so on. You would even do the same for them when the chance arose.

Literally, no one would go to the teacher if they had questions, unless they had a good relationship with the teacher in question. Most of us would go to our study groups or friends and ask them if they would explain concepts to you.

That is what teamwork involves – coming together with others and solving a common problem as a group. Many people underestimate the importance of this skill in their workplaces, but it remains essential.

Reading is important

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Studying is boring, even bookworms agree (unless they liked the subject). No one liked reading for exams, and the thought of a pile of textbooks that you had to catch up on was tiring. Regardless of this, you had to do it in order to pass your exams and tests.

As an adult, there are many situations in your life that will be unpleasant, yet you will need to deal with them as they come. Dealing with your children who are annoying you or being disobedient, being a decent employee, being a good spouse even in challenging circumstances, and so on. Many roles in life do not come naturally to us, and you need to educate yourself on them so that you get better at them.

You learnt to read early in life, but the discipline of reading comes in high school, even when you do not enjoy it. It also taught you to note important information and use it, and this has made you an effective person who can analyze issues and take what is important.

Ways to bend the rules

High school somehow encourages some sort of creativity when it comes to bending the rules, much more than any other stage of life. Every rule that was presented to you, you had to find a way to bend them somehow, even if it was with your friends.

In the course of four years, you come out of high school a different person completely – you learn to do what you want without outright disobedience and attracting negative attention to yourself. An example would be challenging authority when you see they are the perpetrators of injustice, not challenging them simply because you find fun in embarrassing them – otherwise, you just come off as a selfish person who has no regard for the wellbeing of others.

High school taught you to play the game. Like being nice to your teachers on a constant basis, so that when you make a small mistake once in a while, they can excuse you instead of punishing you.

Final thoughts

High school may have been a blur for most, but the truth remains that it taught you valuable life lessons that remain with you even today.

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