Highschool vs Real Life for those involved in Science

  • Thread starter mark126
  • Start date
  • #1
5
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

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.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
berkeman
Mentor
56,814
6,782
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!
 
  • #3
2,985
13
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:
  • #4
FredGarvin
Science Advisor
5,066
7
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.
 
  • #5
Evo
Mentor
23,127
2,575
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:
 
  • #6
Gza
437
0
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!
 
  • #7
905
4
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!
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?
 
  • #8
1,085
6
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?
Your funeral :smile:
 
  • #9
905
4
Your funeral :smile:
Wait a minute...I thought bypassing the real world meant that every day is equally fantabulous.
 
  • #10
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,816
979
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.
 
  • #11
360
0
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.
but then the more motivatedd people have plenty of time doing what they want.
 
  • #12
905
4
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.
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.
 
  • #13
Alkatran
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
944
0
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.
 
  • #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:
  • #15
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.
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.
 
  • #16
453
0
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"].
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.
 
  • #17
occupied by sluts, stoners
hey! I take offense to that lol

listen to persons with a below average intellect attempt to teach others, and I would wonder what kind of twisted nightmare I was living.
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.
 
  • #18
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,028
16
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!
 
  • #19
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,051
17
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.
 
  • #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:
  • #21
Alkatran
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
944
0
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!
1/3 math as an option?! I envy your system. :frown:
 
  • #22
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,490
51
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.
I don't know if it was cultural dissimilarities, or just different attitudes. I got in touch with an old high school friend...I can't recall how long ago that was now. Anyway, we reminisced a bit about high school, and her comment was, "I was so relieved to finally be out of that toxic environment." My response was along the lines of, "HUH?! Toxic? What?" I don't think she made as many friends (she adhered to orthodox religious beliefs, and it made it a bit difficult to do a lot of things, so I think that limited the people who would hang out with her), so I think that colored her views of school a bit. I certainly didn't share her views. I had a good time in high school. I had a comfortable group of friends...we weren't the "popular" crowd, but we were able to be ourselves with each other and just have fun goofing around together. We had competent teachers who challenged us, though sometimes the classroom pace a bit too slow and the homework a bit too much (we were sure the teachers never considered that all the other teachers assign homework too). We had all sorts of extracurricular activities available, so everyone could find something they enjoyed outside of classroom activities, from sports to academic clubs. Whether your interests were art, politics, math, science, languages, or fixing cars, you could find an extracurricular club to join, or a class to take. When I got to college, it was actually refreshing to have so much less homework, although I did have a hard time motivating myself to go to classes my freshman year since they were so boringly repetitious of high school. I made up for it by joining a lot of organizations and learning things like leadership and public speaking skills outside of the classroom that year.

I don't really see the point in comparing high school to "real life" though. (I've never been fond of the phrase "real life"...what's everything else? A fake life?) They are just completely different stages of life. Everything in life is whatever you make of it. If high school wasn't challenging enough, you only have yourself to blame for not seeking out more challenges. If you don't like what you're doing later in life, you only have yourself to blame for not doing something you do enjoy.

High school was fun, college was fun, grad school was fun, post-doc years were fun, and working as a scientist is fun...each in a different way and relevant to a different stage of life and maturity and level of challenge. If it starts to get boring, look for a new challenge.
 
  • #23
I wonder if they could start special schools for those who couldn't give a feck about school and just want to arse about :smile:
O, but they have, it's called "school" where I come from :biggrin:


I don't know where your schools are, but you guys sound pretty lucky

High school was fun, college was fun, grad school was fun, post-doc years were fun, and working as a scientist is fun...each in a different way and relevant to a different stage of life and maturity and level of challenge. If it starts to get boring, look for a new challenge.
yea I agree... if you who think the fun and enjoyment ended after you graduated, maybe you chose the wrong profession?
 
  • #24
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,746
1,793
I enjoyed high school. During the summers, I took college level courses in physics, chemistry, language (German), history. Between 11th and 12th grade, I took two summer courses in Electrical and Nuclear Engineering at Colorodo School of Mines (one guy showed up with the first HP hand-held calculator, which we all borrowed). My senior year I did AP Calculus, Physics and Chemistry (2nd year) so that I placed out of most of my freshman year in college.

In Colorado, I started doing long distance running with some classmates, and kept it up during my senior year and into college. I also enjoyed bike riding, soccer and weight lifting.

When I was in high school - there was not internet. In fact, my senior year, we still used slide rules. :rofl: One guy had his second TI calculator. I also had to help care for two younger siblings since both my parents worked.

In university, I started out majoring in Physics (Astro- and Nuclear :biggrin: ). I then switched universities and majored in nuclear engineering through grad school. I worked on projects with sponsorships from DOE and NASA, as well as industry. My PhD research was in the area of nuclear propulsion systems for spacecraft.

After grad school (I left before completing the PhD), I took a job at a company which consulted worldwide in the nuclear industry. The work took me to Asia and Europe, was well as throughout the US. I very much enjoy the international scope of my work. I recently received an invitation to go to the PRC as an expert. That is certainly different than high school. :biggrin:
 
Last edited:

Related Threads on Highschool vs Real Life for those involved in Science

  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
42
Views
9K
Replies
34
Views
3K
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
13K
  • Last Post
Replies
11
Views
44K
Replies
3
Views
1K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
67
Views
15K
Top