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Highschool vs Real Life for those involved in Science

  1. Feb 23, 2007 #1
    Hello, I don't post here very often, but I browse the threads nearly ever day.

    I would like to pose a question to those Scientists and Engineers browsing this forum: How does your current life compare to how it was in highschool?

    Feel free to compare and contrast positives and negatives between these two stages of life.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2007 #2


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    High school is probably one of the best periods of your life, as long as you don't mess up (get pregnant, get arrested, etc.). When you are in college, the workload goes up quite a bit, and the pressure to do well rises a lot as well (at least if you're motivated to do your best).

    The second best time is probably when you get your first technical job, have a good income, and few responsibilities (single, no kids, etc.). This is also a time to not mess up (get pregnant too early in life, spend time in jail, get in a serious car accident, etc.). Stay healthy, exercise a lot (have fun at it), and try lots of different fun activities to see which ones you will want to stay with throughout life.

    After you get married and have kids and are working very hard at an intense job as a senior technical person, your opportunities for fun are limited a bit, as compared to high school and just after college when you are single. The kids are probably the most fun between about 1st and 5th grades, and after that, you have to start dealing with some pre-teen and teenager issues.

    So enjoy the good times (they're all good, really), especially the high school years and your first technical full-time job!
  4. Feb 23, 2007 #3
    Much, much better. I hated high school. Its a place full of idiots.

    People in college are more mature, and you do interesting stuff. Its all around better.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  5. Feb 23, 2007 #4


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    The most I had to worry about in highschool (other than getting good grades) was having enough money to get to the movie theater on the weekends. I had a part time job and life was good. You really don't get a good appreciation for how little real responsibility you had back then until you are long past it. One of life's catch 22's that make life worth laughing at.

    I must say that as much fun as it was, I wouldn't do it again. I agree with Berkeman that my first job out of college was the best time. Much more money, not too much responsibility and a good amount of free time.
  6. Feb 23, 2007 #5


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    I didn't really have a high school experience, being jumped from the 6th grade at 11 years old to finishing high school at 14. I did make a good decision to travel through Europe for a year and postpone starting college until I was 16.

    I was too weird at that age to have fit in with the high school crowd anyway. I do believe being jumped caused some holes in my basic education.

    Enjoy high school. :smile:
  7. Feb 23, 2007 #6


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    I find that I enjoy the freedom (intellectually and socially) of college, compared to that of high school. I actually WANT to go to class instead of having it forced on me, and having my own place by the beach without my mom telling me to clean my room every day isn't half bad either!
  8. Feb 23, 2007 #7
    So...what's the second best time in life for those of us who do the grad school --> academia route instead of going into the real world?
  9. Feb 23, 2007 #8
    Your funeral :smile:
  10. Feb 23, 2007 #9
    Wait a minute...I thought bypassing the real world meant that every day is equally fantabulous.
  11. Feb 23, 2007 #10


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    academically, high school was a joke, or a tragedy based on your veiwpoint. the students and most of the teachers knew basically nothing, and had no interest in learning anything.

    the whole point of high school was to get out alive [see "grease"].

    life begins in college.
  12. Feb 23, 2007 #11
    but then the more motivatedd people have plenty of time doing what they want.
  13. Feb 23, 2007 #12
    Yeah, that was more or less my experience too. After two years of high school, I just started taking all of my classes at the community college down the road (my state lets you do that, and in fact a lot of high school students did the same as me). High school never challenged me much. It was always a lot of tedious busy work, and not quite so much real learning. Sorry, but I don't see the educational value in building a paper maché model of a cell, when I could be spending that time learning about the cell cycle or the evolution of cells. It seems to me that the problem with high school, at least in my experience, is that the administration put a lot of value on excellence in football, and very little value on academics.

    So my time in high school was great, but only because I didn't actually go to high school.
  14. Feb 23, 2007 #13


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    High school was boring. If you liked a class, it was boring because the pace was so slow. Sit down and listen to five minutes of information be expanded into an hour. If you didn't like a class, it was boring because you just didn't care that much.
  15. Feb 23, 2007 #14
    academically, high school was torture for me...
    I have pretty bad learning disabilities (ADD, dyscalculia) ... the first 3 years of high-school I spent, well, not in high-school o:) .

    I spent most of the days outdoors and drinking (one of my friends was friends with a bar owner, so age wasn't a problem), or doing "other things." I would show up for exam day or hand in the odd assignment to get my mark to the 50% necessary to pass the mandatory classes and then leave... I actually had more absences than presents in some classes, and I failed so many that I had to do an extra grade 12. I'm talking 16% marks...

    the irony is that I would spend time at home teaching myself the same things they taught at school (and more); school has a way of taking the most fascinating topics and making them so incredibly boring and dull. I think this is a problem because it really turns people off with science. I've been into science since I was a little kid so it didn't affect me, but I can understand how most people would be turned off by science judging by the way it is taught in school.

    This is not the teachers' fault, I've had some great teachers who I keep in contact with even today. The problem is much higher up the food-chain.

    the last year of school I got my crap together and actually showed up (which was torturous, I was lacking any form of discipline... it's really hard to sit in a class and do work in grade 12 after pretty much 11 years of doing the bare minimum) and graduated with straight As (even got this award-type deal).

    I'm starting Film school in July... Art is my passion, but I've always considered going to university for a science degree (biology -- evolutionary and molecular -- really fascinate me)... but my experiences with school have usually been so negative, that I doubt I'll ever do it.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  16. Feb 23, 2007 #15
    I agree. I think that most kids find science really hard because they don't explain enough of it in school.

    they assume that by teaching less we will understand it better... but it becomes more confusing because we don't understand what is behind all these laws they teach us...

    I found it much easier to understand things by reading advanced science books than the text books that were given to us.

    they teach you that atoms have electrons and protons and neutrons. they tell you hydrogen has 1 proton and so on... then they expect you to learn about negative charges by memorizing numbers of electrons... but they never explain what the hell all these things are! they never explain how we discovered atoms, what forces affect all these particles... so all these "protons" and "electrons" become words that represent nothing -- they become some sort of alien concept that we have to memorize instead of understand.
  17. Feb 24, 2007 #16
    Agreed. I found high school to be a strange and disturbing place on many counts, and I consistently wondered what the point of the institution was, as it did little if anything to promote learning. Every day I would go and sit in an undersized desk, listen to persons with a below average intellect attempt to teach others, and I would wonder what kind of twisted nightmare I was living.

    Not any help (in high school or any grade level) were the "smart" kids who were very good at following the teachers instructions, worked diligently, always got A's, and didn't understand a thing. I always felt that these people had to be very stupid to put so much effort into the blatant make-work that the teachers made us do.

    Not to mention the gang members, jocks, and other assorted bullies. Here was a group of people who wanted nothing more than to leave the school, and who as a result got nothing out of it, and yet the system considers it a huge priority to keep these people in school, even though all they're good for is ****ing with the useful people.

    So it was a place run by hopeless incompetents, and occupied by sluts, stoners, buffoons and bullies, and a place where I needed to ask permission to pee. I'd rather die than go back there.
  18. Feb 24, 2007 #17
    hey! I take offense to that lol

    I don't think the problem was intellect, it was ineptitude. My philosophy teacher was also my cooking teacher!
    the only teacher in school who was qualified to teach philosophy (he was incredibly smart) had been prohibited from doing so because he actually challenged us and made us THINK :surprised . he would challenge religious beliefs, cultures... of course all it took was for one religious parent to place a complaint to get the giant s**t-ball of political-correctness rolling.
  19. Feb 24, 2007 #18


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    This doesn't sound at all like my highschool experience! Different place, different times, different cultures ?

    I enjoyed my years in highschool quite a bit. I took the option where 1/3 of the time we had mathematics, and that wasn't too bad, I really enjoyed it. Actually, I did more sophisticated maths in highschool than in first year of university!
    (to give you an idea, at 16 years, we were introduced to topological spaces and banach spaces, a special application of which is real analysis)

    The rest of the time we spend learning foreign languages, and then some stuff I liked less, like literature, arts and all that.

    Although the workload and stress went seriously up at university, I cannot say that highschool was "scientifically boring". For me the boring years were actually the last years of engineering!
  20. Feb 24, 2007 #19


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    I think I may have learned more during my high school years than during any other 4-year period. I too would put the difference down to cultural dissimilarities.
  21. Feb 24, 2007 #20
    Thankfully we leave school at 16, college is the next step, where finally you are treated like an adult and generally everyone who is there is there by choice and thus there to learn. A whole quantum leap above a compulsory education up to 16 IMO. Just a different level of education, same goes for University.

    I wonder if they could start special schools for those who couldn't give a feck about school and just want to arse about, or special classes :smile: sadly though I hated school and probably spent more time messing about than learning, I was pretty much bored by lessons, and disinterested in many of the subjects. So I can see where kids should be made to learn, if nothing else up to a basic functional level, I'm sure having more illiterate teens running around would not be a good thing. I think many people could skip high school though, but I think it's probably better to educate them.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2007
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