Yes, there is life beyond high school

Keaton Freet, Reporter

As teenagers, we are transitioning into maturity. We are also beginning to take on many of the responsibilities that come with adulthood, but this doesn’t mean that we should be taking our lives too seriously.

We tend to see events in high school as the “last chance” at this or at that. Social events like prom are widely seen to be important, universal experiences. Anyone who has seen a John Hughes movie can attest to the fact that high school life is romanticized in our culture.

On top of this, academic pursuits, like standardized testing preparation and college essays, can be significant stressors in our lives. The mentality of many a suburban parent is that a child’s youth is his/her foundation upon which to build the rest of his/her life. When this mentality is adopted by the child, it’s not surprising that students develop academic anxiety.

Be it socially or academically, students are pressured to take advantage of their youth. In reality, their youth probably isn’t as important as it seems.

Of course, the neurological development of adolescents makes it important for teens to stimulate themselves mentally and socially, but this isn’t to say that someone’s youth is their last chance at personal growth. Research in neuroplasticity has shown that adults do have the capacity to learn new skills and concepts later in life, albeit with slightly more difficulty. As for social development, you can rest assured that people meet friends outside of high school. This is not your last opportunity to socialize.

Besides, even if high school were the “last chance” for students to laugh and learn together, how could they do that with GPAs or social politics hanging over their heads?

Mentally and socially, we are still developing human beings, but that doesn’t mean that our courses in life will be carved in stone after graduation. The decisions we make every day of our lives will continue to be important long after our youth fades, and very few decisions we make today will have lasting consequences.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t socialize to your heart’s content, or work to pursue whatever college or occupation you feel you should, but remember that these years do not define your life.