8 moderately helpful things for your high school experience, or whatever

One of the great myths of high school is that you learn something.

That’s just stupid. The truth is, we are just inundated (that word means “to be covered with a flood,” boys and girls) with random facts called “knowledge” by some higher law of osmosis or diffusion. We “learn” only to forget them immediately afterward. Want proof? Talk to a sophomore the day after the AP Euro test about European history (what is this “continent” you speak of?).

For six to eight hours a day, we sit in uncomfortable plastic desks, chewing on erasers (that’s probably unhealthy), gum (do you have extra for me?), sticking that gum under your desk (all the students curse your name during earthquake drills), and taking pictures of it in class with your newfangled cellular device to show all your friends on SnapChat or FrapPat or CheckOutHowI’mBA. And all it does is prepare us for another four years of sitting in less uncomfortable desks, chewing on pen caps and more gum, getting called out for trying to stick that gum under the desk, and being known as the person who takes random photos of stuff they do.

Don’t get me wrong, this preparation is invaluable. To prove it, I put together a list of the 10 most valuable things I learned just to show that the experience is edifying (that word means “providing moral or intellectual instruction,” boys and girls).

1 – Running is the fastest mode of transportation on campus, besides the golf cart or jetpacks.

I spend a lot of my time between classes killing my cardiovascular system. Nevertheless, running is perhaps the fastest way you’ll get across campus, or escape a bear. And if you need to get to somewhere in a hurry, it is usually pretty helpful. The other options are riding a golf cart, which I have never had the privilege to ride in, or a jetpack, which I have not yet invented.

2 – Couples: people actually have lives.

High schoolers, upon entering into a deep, until-the-end-of-the-week relationship, distort their sense of time and movement. Of course, somebody designed halls so it can only comfortably accommodate a couple holding hands, so that every time people (like me) need to get somewhere, there is some lovestruck pair walking as slowly as inhumanly possible. So, for people who actually want to get to class on time, or don’t want to look creepy hovering slightly behind you, couples, please move off to the side to continue your lovers’ … thing.

3 – Seagulls are not likely to poop on you, unless they feel the urge to poop.

In my whole three years on campus, I have never been pooped on by a seagull. I hear some people suggest it’s a timeless tradition of NPHS, sort of like certain illegal fraternity hazing practices, but it’s never happened to me. I have never been hazed by a fraternity. Honestly though, it’s not like the seagulls have little songs in their head (“Let It Go”) every time they see an NPHS student that causes them to release their slightly nitrogenous payload.

4 – You don’t actually get Columbus Day off.

I’m not gonna lie: I regret having to put this one on the list. But as much as I hate to admit it (sniffle), we do not get a day off to celebrate the man who discovered our continent (technically it was just the Bahamas, which are islands) in 1492. Oh yeah, and who went on to slaughter and enslave the indigenous population, bring smallpox to the New World, and ultimately destroy a culture with a long and rich history. But aww, we don’t get a day off from school.

5 – Lunchtime is actually 35 minutes, not 45. And homework can be done in 35 minutes.

One of the greatest disappointments I experienced was that lunch was shorter than expected. Which hurts when I have to do homework during lunch, which happens often. One of the things that I learned in IB is that the phrase “time management” means focusing so intensely on a 30-page reading (due yesterday, of course) for a lunch period that you could burn through reinforced concrete (ooh, look, a squirrel!). So fear not, because that paper can be written in 35 minutes. Just try not to look at it for too long or it might burst into flames.

6 – During earthquake drills, maintain at least 3 inches clearance between your hair and the bottom of the desk.

The bottom of desks are plastered with chewed up gum, some of which is so old that it has begun to turn different colors from when it was first stuck there (that’s not a minty flavor, folks). So, for the love of the CDC and disease prevention, and to actually make that $50 visit to the hair stylist worth it, watch where you put your head.

7 – Big exams are called unit tests, small exams are called quizzes, and the exams you should study for are called finals.

Let’s face it: you know people who never have to study for a test. They just sit around and text and watch funny videos on YouTube, and they still get A’s. Why? Because they possess such godlike intelligence that they need not study for tests at all. And you can too! Why study when you can frolick with your friends and watch “The Walking Dead” reruns all day long. By the way, side effects of godlike intelligence include suspicious bags under your eyes, a constant need for caffeine, and an increased risk of insanity.

8 – It is worth worrying about.

When I say “worry,” I don’t mean the ones that give you stomach ulcers (excuse me while I take my Tums). Worrying is sometimes that little voice in your head telling you that something is important. So instead of “time managing” at lunch, listen to that voice. I guess you could call it “following your heart,” although your heart really has no role in determining life choices or anything…cognitive, in general.

Well, that’s all I have. I would say “YOLO,” but that’s really not good advice; it’s more a statement of fact (you only live once– unless you believe in karma). As a grizzled veteran of a public high school, all I can say is good luck and bon voyage, because I’m off to a public college.
Oh, and myths are stupid.