Looking Back On High School (Part 1): Welcome To The Jungle.

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Stick with me, goldfish. 

I know this platform is supposed to only publish short articles, but I had so much fun writing this one – I had to split it up in a two part article.

Blub blub.

Like many others out there, I am not a big fan of our current educational system. 

It’s outdated, uninspiring and inefficient. Teachers are scandalously underpaid and students are bound to lose both their curiosity for the outside world, as well as their creativity – before the curriculum is over.

This article however, is not about coming up with a new and improved system – it’s about sharing knowledge on how to be better equipped to get through the current system. I hope some high school students (or parents of high school students) might find it helpful one day.

Be aware though, this article does contain some swear words! I am sure you’ll survive.

Let’s set the stage first (part 1). Then I’ll give tips on how to survive this madness later (part 2).


For many students, high school is a tough time. 

It’s the first time you face seemingly serious responsibilities. A certain action (or lack of action) can have consequences that will haunt you for the rest of your life. You lost your ‘get out of jail for free card’, which you were granted when you were still a child. At the time, it can feel like the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders. I know that’s how it felt for me.

In addition to these new responsibilities, high school is often the time you find out your parents might not be all-knowing rational beings. And what they do know, might have worked for them when they were in high school, but certainly doesn’t seem relevant in this day and age.

Bit by bit, you find out you were basically living in Plato’s cave for the past 12 years – a fake reality shaped and molded by your parents. Your ‘normal’, might not line up with what’s seen as normal in the outside world.

What is truth, and what is merely a shadow of the truth? You are clueless, and so are your friends.

For all of these reasons, most students start to feel disconnected with their parents, and the adult world in general.

But wait… there’s more! 

BOOOOOOOM. Puberty hits you right in the face.

Your body changes and now you just want to have sex all the time, but you don’t know how. Plus, you have acne.

Everything that you once felt so secure about – GONE.

It can’t get worse than this, can it?

Welcome to the jungle, motherfucker.

While your parents are trying to convince you “high school is the best time of your life”, all of the above leads to a tremendous amount of stress and insecurity, which the ‘strong’ students will project onto the ‘weak’. 

A new order starts to form. ‘Lord of the flies’ looms over the hallways, school yard and cafeteria. High school becomes a fucking jungle. Who will become the new King? And who will end up at the bottom of the food chain?

In order to impress the girls, the fight for the alpha male position breaks loose. For most students, what their peers think of them becomes the number one priority. And let’s face it, plenty of people never let go of this state of mind, resulting in materialism, people living beyond their means, and finally – debt.

If you’re a high school student and you’re not up to date with the latest music, if you’re not covering yourself from top to toe in the hippest brands – you’re fucked, you’ll never be loved by your peers. You’re an outcast in a time you so eagerly want to belong.

Surviving and thriving in this jungle, is way more important than what your parents and teachers have to say. It’s definitely more important than learning a new language or god forbid – ancient history.

Doesn’t sound like a great environment to learn new things and find out what you are interested in, does it? 

Well… SURPRISE!

While you’re still figuring out how to have mind-blowing sex for the first time, the end of high school creeps up on you. And we all know this is when you’re supposed to have figured out what you want to do for a living, for the rest of your life. 

You’re pressured into choosing the next path and the options are endless. Your career personality test tells you your calling is to become a rodeo clown and your parents are so disconnected with the modern world, they overload you with well-meant – but irrelevant – advice. 

You’re fucked, but at the same time – still a virgin. 

Now that, ladies and gentleman, is high school in a nutshell.

Question is: how to survive the madness? (part 2)

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About the author

Wesley van der Hoop

Living in The Bahamas, I get excited about digital marketing, writing, traveling, surfing, learning new things, and above all - penguins.

About Wisdom for Goldfish
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