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Monday, November 24, 2014

11 Ways Life Is Way Cooler After High School Graduation

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I can remember when the end of high school was approaching. It was a nerve-racking time. While most of my friends were on the high school straight to college road, I was taking a slightly different approach. I wanted to save up a little money for college, (and have a clue what I wanted to study) before going. That left me leaving high school for a full time job. I was a little worried but it didn't take me long after graduation to realize exactly how awesome it was.

1. Monopoly On You

If you wanted to, could you quit your high school and go to another high school down the street? It's probably not that simple. You'd have to beg and plead your way in and out. You have virtually no choice which high school you end up going to. That leaves you in a precarious position.

Have you ever heard about the dangers of a monopoly? When the consumers don't have any choice but to buy from one company, the company doesn't have to try and please its customers. That's exactly the situation you're in with high school. High schools don't have to care whether you like them or not. Virtually everything else in life does.

If you go to college, you can always change colleges. If you get a job, you can always change jobs. If you travel to Puerto Rico and sleep in hostels, you can always find a new hostel (or new country.) That's the nature of most of the rest of your life. For the most part, your schedule is up to you. Sure, that comes with consequences but if you're a regular reader to this blog then I'm confident you'll handle them fine.

2. Your Priorities

Ever try to get out of a required course you didn't want to take in high school? I remember begging and pleading to not have to take an art course in high school. I was virtually begging, “I do not care about drawing ponies. I just want to take a science class.” They responded without a thought, “Well, we'd like you to be well-rounded.” ARGGGGHH!! It drives me nuts to this day. (For the record I drew awesome ponies before the class and the class didn't improve them much.)

Guess what? You never have to seriously worry about that again. Sure, in college you may have one or two classes you don't like but 90% of your schedule is up to you. If you want to be a mechanic then you can get courses on that. If you want to be a doctor then you can take courses on that. College mostly caters to your request.

If you don't go to college then you can go even more crazy. I remember spending months after high school studying online marketing. No, I didn't take a balanced course load of business classes. I just buried myself in that subject. Studying is amazing when you get to do it with subjects you love.

3. Your Pace

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Forget about doing what your teachers and parents want when they want. Sure, colleges have some schedules but most of your life is going to come down to your own choices. Don't want to do laundry? Screw laundry. You may stink the next day (because seriously, ewww, do laundry when you need to) but that's your damn choice.

In college, some of the best options are lining up your classes in a way that interest you. Do you hate how hard it is to keep up with high school courses? Then take fewer classes each semester. Do you hate how easy courses are? Then load ten classes on your schedule and don't sleep for months on end. That's your choice.

4. Boatloads O' Money

This isn't true for everyone but know that it's possible.

If you get a cheap apartment far outside of a city, you don't have any real commitments (like kids,) and you have your first full time job then you're not going to know what to do with all the money you have. Minimum wage pays you a lot when your young and not stuck with old people problems.

Sure, you may be eating cheap or leaving in a dingy little apartment but your money can go to whatever crazy things you want (college perhaps?) Compared to working part time for ten hours a week, you're going to notice the difference.

5. Less Parental Pestering

After high school graduation is the first time in your life you're without legitimate authority figures (assuming you're over 18.) If you want to move out then you're legally allowed to do it. More importantly, you don't have hours of school a day getting in the way.

Students that go to college may even get to move hundreds of miles away from their parents.

Now, parents are great (sometimes.) There is a very real chance you're going to miss them when your gone but everything changes when you get to see yourself as the authority figure over your life. After leaving your parents for the first time, it's going to be that much better when you see them again anyway.

6. Real Friendships

High school students... you're going to be losing a whole lot of friends. Sure, you might keep up on Facebook but it won't be anywhere close to the same. Eventually, you'll virtually never talk to most of the friends you had from high school. Why is that?

There are proximity friends and there are real friends. Just because you sat next to someone in biology class and shared a few jokes, it doesn't mean you'd be wonderful friends outside of that forced environment. Once you get out of school, at least one of you, isn't going to value the friendship quite as much. Some friendships can last but being in the same room as someone regularly is not necessarily a real one.

7. Sleep Late

Don't you hate waking up on time for high school. I remember some of my most productive times were late at night but I'd have to force myself into bed anyway to try and barely wake up in time for school.

In life, you get to choose what schedule you want to follow.

8. Stupid Mistakes

Some of the best parts of leaving high school are the most embarrassing in hindsight.

You are going to screw up really bad a few times after high school. That's actually really awesome. When you do screw up, you get to see the way the real world deals with it. You might get an F for screwing up in a course but in life, you usually won't face a grade.

That grade is something you'll have to give yourself. If you screw up at work then someone might not even tell you. You might have to watch someone else correcting your mistake to learn something. You have to be the one looking to grade yourself because, while you may not be facing grades, you are facing the consequences of your mistakes. You can't keep a job when you're screwing things up. Often, you'll be the only good judge of that.

While it's scary, it completely changes the way you look at your own life.

9. No (few) Commitments

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Most people are never going to be as free as they are graduating high school.

Most high school graduates have choices. You can go to college. You can travel the world. You can get a job. You can sleep on a park bench. Life isn't quite so simple later in life.

When you graduate college, you're probably going to be buried in debt. More importantly, it's hard to get a job after college when you don't go straight to work after graduating.

After a little while, you're probably going to have a long term relationship, and maybe even children to worry about.

When you retire, you probably still have family concerns. Maybe you're lucky enough to have your kids out of the house and comfortable but there are other problems. You'll be old. You're going to be more tired. You're going to be more sore. Odds are, you're not going to be particularly motivated to do the crazy things you wanted to do as a kid. Heck, most people end up living on a hot dog for dinner budget when they retire anyway. You won't be able to afford those fun things. You will have a house, a dog, and a retirement to support.

10. The Wait Is Over

Waiting for the last days of high school to end can be mind-numbing. It can feel miserable. It's an unbelievably scary time. Sure, you can do relaxation exercises or something but you're not going to be able to make it go away completely.

Once that wait is over, you're going to appreciate it.

11. Self-Directed Education

Unlike in high school, you're going to be able to define what education is important to you.

Do you want to go to a formal learning institution like college?

Awesome. Look around the world and find the perfect one. Then find your perfect major. Have fun.

Do you want to learn from hundreds of library books?

Sweet. That's my kind of learning. Get started. Maybe get a job to pay some bills and learn away.

The best part about this is that you're in control. If you're not learning what you want to learn, you can change what you're learning. When you realize that, your brain suddenly gets much better at actually learning. You'll get in the habit of focusing much more effectively because you'll know you're only focusing on subjects that actually matter to you.

I know learning doesn't sound like the most fun you can have after high school but once you realize the power you have, it will be.

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