High school, though primarily associated with academia, intrinsically functions as a catalyst for social experimentation, discovery and growth. One could certainly argue that the social ramifications of these four years even surpass those of academic nature. Education at the high school level is intended to cultivate and expand intellectual interests while preparing students for productive careers, but the byproduct of so many teenagers meeting in the same place for hours a day comes in the form of social development that is invaluable to the individual and to society.
Simply put, high school is the place where people really start to figure out who they are and how they interact with other people. Because the social facet of high school education accounts for such a large portion of its overall value, it is exceptionally worth-while for students to evaluate their social habits and interactions in order to ensure that they impact the high school experience positively.
Ultimately, the distinguishing factor between positive and negative social interactions and habits is attitude. By now, most students are sick of being told to change their attitude; adolescents are bombarded by parents, teachers, and just about everyone else telling them to improve their attitude. As monotonous as the message may be, it is so heavily emphasized for good reason. As it relates to social interactions, attitude is central to behavior. A positive attitude inevitably yields healthy, encouraging interactions and conversations. Alternatively, a negative attitude leads to insecurity and petulance. 100 percent of humans would rather find themselves in the presence of an encouraging, selfless person than a cantankerous, irritable bully.
Although many teachers and students are far too susceptible to hypersensitivity, many others refuse to acknowledge the harm they are capable and often guilty of inflicting. The only thing worse than an overly sensitive cry-baby complaining about a harmless joke is a bully who consistently hurts his or her peers without ever admitting to it or receiving retribution. Too often our desire for acceptance exceeds our urge to confront those who put down innocent others. Unfortunately, we are generally afraid to admit that sometimes people actually do hurt our feelings, and sometimes that is enough to do real damage.
I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that this editorial is intrinsically riddled with hypocrisy. Although I am guilty of all of the aforementioned wrongdoings, I can honestly say that high school has taught me to take far more pleasure from encouraging others than hiding my insecurities by putting others down. My favorite thing about the Class of 2016 is that my classmates and I have arrived at the realization that applauding and supporting each other in everything we do produces more joy and excitement than exploiting each other because of our differences. In conclusion, high school is about a lot more than learning. Take a break from stressing about grades every once in a while to evaluate what high school really means for you.