Casey Kelly | Cigar
Casey Kelly | Cigar

A perfect honor student with a 4.0 GPA, an SAT score over 2000 and a diploma can only get you so far. When asked to solve an equation for “x” or mix some chemicals together, you may be the person to turn to. But in the long run, what did high school actually teach you?

Freshman year of high school, a horrifying sight, is easy to remember. You’re thrown into a pit of social norms and evil people criticizing your every move. For the remaining years of high school, you’re forced to take a bunch of classes so that, in four years, you’ll be handed a diploma, solidifying your knowledge. Then, at the age of 18, you’re expected to know what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. It’s like you’re a little bird and your mom pushes you out of the nest, ready to fly, but the interesting question arises: are you actually ready to be an adult?

Sure, in high school, I learned important things I’ll need to know for the rest of my life. I can write a thesis statement and edit a 10-page essay. I can relay some information about the wars of the world and which stars make up certain constellations of the night sky. I’m able to communicate in social situations and present a speech in front of dozens of people, but where was the class on “real life”?

There was no class explaining how to balance a checkbook, a checking account, or a credit card. I never learned how to change a tire, check the oil in my car or how to react when a cop pulls you over.

I never learned that I was only friends with the majority of people from high school because I saw them everyday. The amount of friends I have from home I can count on one hand. High school didn’t tell me that there’s still back-stabbing people in the world, ready to watch you fail.

In health classes, we were taught how to stay away from drugs and alcohol, but never the consequences. I never learned that when a drink was placed in front of me, I’d drink it, or how to survive the “next day hangover.” I never learned what to do when placed in an anxious situation, or how to fix a bad decision.

All my life, I’ve had this idea of college drilled into my head. Get through elementary school, then move onto middle school, get thrown into high school to get a diploma and then, finally, make it through college to get a job. It’s a vigorous, painful process. It takes more than being “book smart” to make it through college, and I wish I was warned along the way of the many life tips I was lacking.

Although I was thrown into college without much experience or warning, I actually happened to learn a thing or two. College isn’t necessarily all about books, studying, tests, and grades, but it’s about living. It’s about freedom, last minute adventures, meeting new people, and sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world as you see it.

Throughout all the innocent mistakes, the most important thing high school didn’t teach me is something I’ve gathered throughout the past three years of college: things do get easier, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Although there’s going to be the bad days, there’s going to be the best days, and in the end, those are the ones you’re going to remember.