High School: Best Years of Our Lives?

Prejudice, ignorance and stress fill the hallways and classrooms of the broken establishment called high school.
High school is often referred to as the best years of people’s lives. It is when they are youthful, where wisdom is gained and where many will figure out who they want to be. Some may argue it is where firsts are experienced, such as kisses, prom, love and heartbreak. However, if one takes a step back and looks through the scope of a lifetime, it can be seen that there are better times beyond the drama and stress associated with this institution students are forced to attend.

With bullying, drama and stress, high school is a breeding ground for mental disorders. Anxiety arises when teachers pile too much homework on students, or force those who already have social anxiety to give a speech in front of the class. According to NIHM.org, over eight percent of people ages 13-18 have an anxiety disorder. Depression forms out of the mumbled cracks of the flawed way respect is enforced among peers. Around 22 percent of teens will experience some kind of depressive disorder before their 18th birthday, according to teenhelp.org. For those with other mental disorders, the ignorant jokes and triggering comments can cause break downs and their problems to flare.

Mental disorders are becoming such a huge issue that many states have created laws making health care free to those who are in need. How can anyone call these the best years of our lives when so many students are depressed, anxious and suicidal? If there were classes that taught students how to help themselves be happy, what jokes were not okay to make or even what different mental disorders are like and how to deal with them, then high school could truly improve. If some of the social ignorance was taken out of the air about these things, then high school could be much more bearable.

School has become a place of grades and not about bettering education. Many students do not feel like they get the knowledge they are after, but rather stress about making the grade. Due to things such as proficiency based grading, making grades all about tests and not the actual work, students are forced to spew out information rather than putting it into practice. In the average classroom, homework is supposed to account for a mere 10 percent of the grade, leaving over 90 percent for tests and summative assessments. In this method, the students are not getting credit for doing work, only for the ability to regurgitate information that was taught over a week ago, just to be forgotten as soon as the test is over. This method does not help students gain knowledge at all, but teaches them the skill of furthering ignorance.  Schools need to move back to a system of grading where students can be tested on how hard they work and their ability to learn the information in front of them if we want students to be successful.

If high school were rewired to suit the needs of individuals instead of the group, high school could improve. Everyone is lumped together into what are called grade level, or regular classes, but due to the difference in people’s abilities and mind development, this needs to change. If schools were altered for more opportunities, such as creating more difficult levels of core classes for those who need more of a challenge or easier classes for those who are struggling, school would be less stressful. By forcing students to continue on this path, it causes high school to become worse for students. To better our education we should look into adding other options, such as vocational schools as done in European countries, offering agriculture or military based schools for those who know they want to take that path. Doing this would offer more opportunities for those going into different lines of work, therefore creating a love for education and opening doors for brighter futures.

After high school ends and diplomas are received, many people will finally find the best time of their lives. Many will find a college or a career and a sense of independence. People will finally have more say in things they want to do and be able to act more freely. After high school, it will become evident to some that the best times of their lives were not the years spent stressing about a chemistry test or begging not to go to school. They are the years spent working for the career they want to do and the years where their opinion matters. For those struggling to continue and fight through this awkward and uncomfortable time, keep going. Better times are coming.