High School: Is It Necessary?

It’s a cold, rainy afternoon. Your eyes can barely stay open as the teacher drones on about today’s lesson. The thirty minutes you’ve spent in class feels like a decade, you feel yourself returning to the age-old question; when am I actually going to use any of this stuff?

Throughout Madison Square Park, the passersby, having graduated, all expressed distinct takes on the relevance of a high school diploma. Two men lean back on the green chairs scattered throughout the park. Courtesy of the computer sitting between them, soft notes of rapper Kid Cudi float through the air as they soak up the afternoon sun. These people are Joe and Joey, high school best friends.

They both attended high school in Westport, Connecticut. Joe – who now works at a software company – explained his positive outlook on school. “It prepares you for the world, with simple math, and articulating things well.” When asked if he used his high school knowledge in his everyday life, his answer was simple: “Yes.”

Joey – who works at Headspace – explained that high school was an instrument in preparing him to become a more social person. “It helped me learn how to interact with people, I guess.”

Tony and his friend Alex, both wearing classic work attire composed of a dress shirt, a vest, and suit pants, certainly owe their careers to their education.

Will, from Wisconsin, who now works in tech sales, explained, “When you get into sales jobs, just like in New York or anywhere, it’s all just about being able to connect and be personable with people.”

Editorial director, Aalika, explained that her high school experience was very different from most people who grow up in New York City. She went to high school in India. “I apply much more of what I learned in college to my job than what I learned in high school,” she said. For people like Aalika whose jobs don’t require them to use knowledge from high school, it may feel like high school isn’t useful. But, similar to Joe, Aalika says she feels like she learned more social skills in high school than knowledge related to her career.

Neel, a Google employee, also attended high school in India – just like Aalika. But he explained that he retained everything from high school and still applies it to his life today.
It seems as though high school prepares people for the real world by teaching to be sociable. How people speak and interact with others is arguably the most important life skill to have, and it is often developed in school. It is very helpful to adopt social skills in order to network, foster meaningful relationships, and make friends and connections within a work field.

“Sometimes you don’t know what the value of … something you learn is until you become aware of it later in life,” said Anna, an entrepreneur who works in the art industry.