Lately, I’ve noticed an influx of people making statements like, ‘school doesn’t teach you anything.’
Or, ‘anything school teaches you, you can learn on the internet or in books.’
I know those people don’t mean any harm and, for the most part, I agree with them. Especially, when it comes to high school, but a little less so when it comes to college.
I think there are some key things that school (high school and college) teaches us that some people are simply skipping over. Statements like those are very black and white. Like most things in life there’s a lot of gray area to be discussed.
Here are a few things that school teaches us, or at least tries to, that would be difficult to learn anywhere else.
Social skills. In high school and college you’re forced to be around people all day long. You’re forced to be around your peers and others much older than you. You have to learn how to interact with the smart people, peers, authority figures and trouble makers. Skills like this transfer over to the work environment where you have to be, at the very least, on good terms with your co-workers and know how to navigate the waters successfully with authority figures. You need to know how to stay away from the ‘trouble makers’ at work. There are always employees that are slacking off. You don’t want to get stuck associating with them, and get labeled a slacker yourself.
Where else would you learn valuable skills like those? Where else would you learn the consequences of befriending the trouble makers, and getting on bad terms with the authority figures? High school and college is the answer. Learning those skills for the first time at your company could prove to be very costly (you might get fired).
Does high school always teach us these skills perfectly? Of course not. But it’s the best place to learn them at. Can you learn these valuable skills by simply chilling at home? No way. Come on. Social skills are one thing that school can teach us.
Learning how to make friends. When out in the real world you have to learn how to make friends. That’s how you get mentors, connections, romantic partners and live a happy life. People with no friends are usually people who aren’t happy. You have to know how to be friendly with your coworkers and bosses. You have to know how to get along with others. If you can’t make friends don’t expect to get invited anywhere on Friday or Saturday nights..forever.
In high school and college we are forced to be around people all day. We have to learn how to make friends if we don’t want to spend break time and lunch time alone wandering the hallways. Those people who could never make friends in high school or college probably struggled outside of school too. Did they eventually learn? Yes, probably. But, that doesn’t mean it was the preferred way of learning how to make friends. I’m sure they wished they had figured it out in their teen years (and most people do).
School forces us to work together. Remember those group projects and dreaded presentations? Those stressful assignments were teaching us how to collaborate with others. Collaborating with others is important in most work environments. Were you going to learn how to collaborate with total strangers at home? Nope. School taught you that.
School teaches us how to follow rules and work within the rules. I can, already, imagine some of you going crazy and threatening to close your web browser after reading that.
Wait, let me explain.
I know following the rules isn’t something that’s popular right now and I agree that we shouldn’t follow all rules. But, there are some basic rules that we need to follow to survive in society. We quickly learn about those rules at our school environment.
Even the mega entrepreneurs know how to work within the rules and follow rules (when they need to). Guys like Richard Branson and Elon Musk certainly know how to break the rules. But first, you need to master the rules before you can break them. These guys aren’t just breaking all the rules that they find, and get their hands on. They know every single rule, and they strategically break the ones that they know they can break.
If Elon Musk was all about breaking rules, then how did he secure government funding for some of his projects? He knows how to follow rules as well.
What happens to the people who don’t know the rules, or can’t follow rules? They end up in jail, mental institutions or other places where I’m sure you rather not be. Following rules isn’t cool at the moment, but we do have rules we need to adhere by to stay in society, and school teaches us those. Unless, you prefer to spend your days in jail?
If school doesn’t teach us anything, what are you suggesting we do? Are you suggesting kids skip high school and college, and instead stay at home learning material off the internet and reading books in the library/ bookstores all day?
Cool story, bro. Sounds like utopia to me.
What’s more likely to happen with kids skipping high school and college is, kids just roaming around all day. Having fun, chilling, drinking, smoking, unplanned pregnancies, and giving their neighbors headaches. A full grown adult can barely discipline themselves to read and learn all day to further their career. You think a 16 – 22 year old is going to do that?
Think about your mindset during those critical years. Did you want to voluntarily read books all day and learn stuff on the internet?
Before we throw school under the bus, we need to come up with a real alternative.