Am I really going to need to know this? You never know!

A common question heard in classrooms across America is “When am I ever going to need to know *insert school subject*? Why can’t we learn how to do taxes or something that is actually relevant to the career I want to do?” While such outcries do hold some truth, oftentimes they are a simple misunderstanding of the point of high school. The four years spent at SHA are meant to provide a basic understanding in a broad variety of topics. College, on the other hand, is the time during which students focus in on a major they are interested in and further develop their knowledge in that area of study.

Going back to the question at hand, will most students utilize what they are taught in the next twenty, ten, or even five years? The oversimplified answer is no; most students will not have to recall the Pythagorean Theorem off the top of our heads at any point in the future. However, learning how to analyze and solve problems is a transferrable skill that can be used to solve word problems in math, write lab reports for science, and write research papers for English. It can also be argued that plenty of students will need to know such specific information or take further classes in that area of study at some point in the future so having a background in a variety of subjects will be useful.

Many high school students have an idea of what they want to do in the future including college plans, interesting majors, and possible career paths. However, the life teenagers lay out for themselves at this young age is subject to change drastically before graduating college. Though students may think they have life figured out, a lot can change and it may be necessary to build on the foundation high school has provided. Not only will learning a variety of subjects develop well-rounded students capable of understanding a variety of subjects, it may also spark an interest that guides students in the right direction. Students should not deem subjects useless considering they have a very limited viewpoint of what their future will hold.

The second question holds a bit more validity because it does not ask why classes like math and English are necessary, but rather wonders why there are not more classes available to teach valuable life skills. High schools in general tend to focus on academia more so than life skills that perhaps parents should be responsible for teaching to their children. However, oftentimes parents do not have the knowledge themselves to teach their children or they simply do not have the time to do so. A few students at SHA have expressed concern for a lack of electives in: cooking and nutrition, sex education or health, sewing or other home economics, career development, child care, or self-defense. While it is not realistic to add this many electives to the SHA curriculum, incorporating a few of them might be a good way to develop truly well rounded students who are prepared to enter the real world.

In the end, the majority of information students learn in school will not be utilized in the future. However, this not mean that high school is completely unnecessary; it serves the very important purpose of broadening students’ understanding of the world. It is true that students may benefit from more “practical” courses, but schools are trying to make students as well rounded as possible with the limited budget and class time available. The broad high school curriculum develops a wide variety of transferable skills, prepares students for higher education, and often sparks interests that lead students down a certain career path.