Reflecting on the past

Does success in high school really set you up for success in life?


Photo by Infographic by Madeleine Lawler

How do LZHS students feel about high school after they have graduated? The stats say that high school is what you make it, not what others tell you it should be.

In a teenage bubble filled with friend drama, stressful classes, hundreds of extracurriculars, and more, it can be hard to remember that there’s more to life than just high school. But when we take a step back, our years at LZHS, although important, are just a small fraction of our lives.

In reality, who you are in high school doesn’t determine who you’ll be in life. This cliche seems to be everywhere in the adult world; the former popular kid working at a gas station, or an ex high school basketball star still trying to make a break to the NBA ten years after graduation. But what we don’t hear are the other stories: the valedictorian dropping out of college, a former burn-out becoming a CEO, a D- average student inventing new computer software. When we focus on these stories as well, we focus on the true meaning of high school.

Even though this may seem common knowledge for adults, teenagers often don’t realize this. We choose to make bad decisions because our friends, who are only going to be with us for another year or two, seem like the only people in the world. Or we beat ourselves up when we’re not the best at our sport or activity. Even those of us who focus on the future are culprits: we overload our schedules with clubs, harder classes, and jobs because we’re told the only way we’re going be successful is by sporting a colorful ribbon around our neck at graduation.

But what can we do as a school to help fix this problem? One solution is not classifying teens as either “going somewhere” or “unsavable.” Too often adults lose interest in students who are receiving bad grades, making poor choices, or not starring in every extracurricular. When adults do this, students often continue to make more bad choices, and the cycle continues. Students certainly shouldn’t be allowed to get away with things without punishment, but when our time at high school is over, we should all feel encouraged to do what we want with our lives, not discouraged because we didn’t win any trophies in high school.

On the other side, however, our time at school is valuable, and success now can lead to success later. Good grades and excelling in extracurriculars aren’t bad things, they show the determination of an individual and lay the groundwork for what that a teen can do in the future. The entire community of LZHS should encourage these teens but remember that they are not the only ones who can positively impact the world.

Reflecting on your high school experience is important, but not just for seniors. Even if you’ll still be at LZHS next year, we all can learn from our past mistakes or successes. We all can change our mindset as to who we want to be in high school and what we want to get out of it. High school isn’t life, and that’s something you can’t change. But how you use high school to prepare for life is something you can, and it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with it.