Secretly Successful: High School Education
Education and The Rant
Pythagorean Theorem, Heron's Formula, Quadratic Formula, Electrostatics, Circuits, Uniform Circular Motions, the Great Depression, Radioactive Decay, the list goes on. These are some fundamental topics in different curriculum discussed in high school. The #1 question asked by students when first introduced to these curriculum is:
"When am I ever going to use this in life? How can Pythagorean Theorem possibly improve my well-being in the future?"
The answer to that question is rather simple:
It's not that these topics will necessarily be useful in the future, but that they are included in the process of developing fundamental skills to expand a student's thinking capacity.
Through the continuous utilization of a math concept, comprehension of historical events, and perception of scientific methods and laws, a student should be able to develop:
- A sense of interest in different subjects
- Critical thinking
- Fundamental experience in various fields of expertise
- A sense of readiness towards college preparation
However, many students will disagree with this list, testifying that school hadn't accomplished any of those bullet points for them. As a person who has been in the same shoes recently, I can testify that these students are indeed somewhat correct.
Every day, high school students wake up between 5:30 to 6:30 AM depending on their schools' schedules. 97% of the students complain about lack of sleep, and comes to high school with grouchiness, annoyance, and lack of motivation. Only 3% of the students will come with enthusiasm and ready-to-learn attitudes
Why is that?
In the world today, students come to schools not to be taught, but rather to be assessed and given numbers accordingly to their performances in these assessments that will determine their future. Students are given very little time to absorb the facts that were "taught" during the class sessions and are expected to be assessed for it. In my experience in high school, teachers would even teach the day before the test, expecting students to grasp the newly learned concept in less than 24 hours. This doesn't make any sense. Since when did education become a timed-race to see who will score the best in assessments in the shortest duration of time? People are different, and by that, each student is different. Their learning speed, thinking capacity, creativity, learning method, areas of interest, motivation, discipline, and definitions of success are all different. There are some people who just fails to understand the concept without a leniently given time of review and study, while there are others who simply memorize without actually grasping the concept at all. Therefore, the school system today fails miserably in preparing students for their future careers, and ironically their systems are being used to determine a student's future. Calling schools as part of "education" today is a blasphemy, as school's purpose in this world today is not to educate, but to assess, and diverse. With constant stress and pressure of this wicked system, students are easily burnt out without being able to expand their abilities to learn.
That is the end of my rant.
The First Step: The Mindset
Mindset of a successful individual is goal-orientated. Long-term goals serve a very important function in all aspects of life and without it, there will be no motivation to succeed. Do you want straight As throughout your entire high school career? Do you want to attend a certain college? Do you want to achieve the masters degree in your college major? The most important part of setting goals is to imagine your success and future. Where do you think you might be in a year, five years, ten years, or even twenty years later? If you don't even have a general idea about your future, then you should certainly begin to think about it immediately. What are your passions? What is your interest? Having that imagination of where you will be and what you will be doing in the future will significantly support your strive for success. Always keep that dream in your mind and head towards that direction. Doing this will give you insurance, entrepreneur -like ambitions, and utmost motivation.
Also, short-term goals are just as efficient. Short-term goals can be as simple as: "finish this project by this time, finish that research paper by that time, finish this college application and college essay by that time,etc etc." Goals should always be one of the top priorities, always finishing them first before heading on to satisfy your hunger for entertainments.
"A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder."
Motivation Quote by Thomas Carlyle
The Second Step: Achieving the Goals
What is the point of imagination when you don't make it a successful reality? Never settle for the figment of imagination. This step is the most difficult and timely, and only those who are dedicated will achieve their goals. As stated before, there are no shortcuts to success. Success is achieved only through persistent effort and determination, fueled by motivation.
How do you become determined?
Be motivated and disciplined.
You cannot suddenly acquire motivation and discipline. You have to start out by not giving up when you're tired. When you're tired, go beyond your limits. If you have ever played a sport, there will be times when your muscles are numb, you're out of breath, and you're having a mental breakdown in the middle of a losing game. In order to get that victory, you must push yourself beyond your limits. Your body is capable of things beyond your mentality. Train yourself to be tough. When you're studying and you get tired, don't stop. Take a short break, go outside and take big gulps of fresh air, clear your mind and go back to studying.
How do you motivate yourself?
If you have a passionate dream, you will be incredibly motivated to achieve success. That is the best source of motivation, far greater than people's encouragements, and far greater than music. If you are stuck in a slump, motivational videos might help you pick yourself up. There is one video recommendation at the bottom if you need it. But do not rely on them. Your dream needs to generate the motivation.
Eric Thomas - Motivational Speaker
The Third Step: Success Studying
How should you study?
This question is always hard to answer with accuracy, because everyone is different. You might learn visually, experimentally, audibly, etc etc. But the secret to efficient studying is to find out what method works best for you. There are people who can grasp the concept immediately during class and those who cannot. You need to find how your brain works and develop a methodical and successful study habits. Procrastination is never the answer. Always keep a consistent study schedule - 1 to 3 hours every day should be sufficient for high school level studies (that's not a long time).
This is one of the reasons why you should be reading this earlier on in high school. The best method to study for you will take time to recognize. If there isn't time to figure out your best method, you need to just study, study study. If you're distracted often at your house, find yourself in library or Barnes & Nobles, Starbucks... Just make sure to always do your best. It will be a regret when you fail at something that you haven't done best to prepare for.
The Fourth Step - Extras
- Exercise: Your health is the paramount concern. If you are unhealthy, it will severely affect your mental health as well as waste your valuable time in hospitals. Join a sports team, or at least get an hour of workout in three times a week. This will boost your cognitive abilities significantly as well as coordination.
- Meditate: Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour meditating about anything. With the addition of smooth music (optional, of course), this will give you a time of relaxation, away from stress and pressure you are constantly under 24/7. While meditating, do not haul in negative thoughts. Try to think the positive.
- Eat Healthy: Related to exercising, eating healthy is the secret to maintaining a good health and a long-lived life.
- Socialize: One of the most important skill in life is socializing. Socializing isn't all about having fun - it's also about learning other people's opinions, thoughts, and perspectives to correlate with your own, acquiring a deeper wisdom.
- Learn common sense: This is something that many people lack, believe it or not. Aside from science, math, and other specific knowledge, you need to develop intuition and sense. Never try to approach a problem purely specifically. Sometimes, the answer to the most complicated issue is very fundamental and simple.
- Learn the etiquette: being honest and mannered is always better. Respect people and they will respect you. You never know when you are going to meet that person again in your life, and what kind of role they will play.
- Deviate from the crowd: Do not conform. Rather than following the crowd, lead the crowd. Or do not be involved with the crowd at all. Common is unattractive. Being unique with a personality of your own, interest of your own, and talents of your own is very noticeable and real. Is everyone at your school partying and getting wasted every weekend? Try to stay away from that and begin researching into your passion and interests. Try to invent something. Try to travel. Try to do something that is productive. At the end, this will be highly rewarding.
- Experience: Go out and experience. Do not be afraid of risks. But do not be stupid. This does not mean you can go out and do illegal activities. Having some kind of experience in various areas will make you a well-balanced individual/guru. The more you experience, the more you are prepared for the unknown, a requirement for success.
If you have finished reading every single word and letter of this article, then you now have the proper information to succeed. I can't emphasize this enough, but have a dream. It is so important that even an old age can't conquer its existence. Dream will help you achieve anything, at any time. The oldest person to run a marathon Fauja Singh, is 101 years old. Banana George started barefoot waterskiing at the age of 46. He never stopped water-skiing. This man rode a bull at the age of 85, and sky-dived at the age of 83. Nothing is impossible. It's the mental barrier that people put on themselves (aside from physical disabilities) that prevents us from doing the impossible.