School is all about taking in the knowledge handed to you, but did you ever consider questioning it? Of course you did. You’re an autonomous being with choices to think about, decisions to execute and statements to make. Here are some of the lies we were told in our high school years.

1. Some kid swinging on their chair broke their neck one time

This urban legend was fed to all you ne’er-do-wells who opted to fight against the education system by casually leaning back in your chair while you chatted up your mate Darren. But come on, what are the chances that every primary school and high school teacher knew a kid that damaged their neck and spine? It’d be all over the news. Forget the ice outbreak, make room for the new chair-swinging epidemic.

2. Permanent records

This myth came to rise through pop-culture and was skilfully carried on by teachers, but permanent records are a mere work of fiction. Granted, only some of us more gullible types fell for this social behaviour control (guilty) but everyone should have eventually caught on or just not cared. Myth busted.

3. You will someday use whatever obscure and niche knowledge you are forced to learn

Having graduated high school for two years and approaching my third year of uni, I have yet to find a real-world application for having the memorised flora and fauna of a specific biodome, accurately calculating the size of circles, or knowing the steps to the square-dance. I do however concede to the use of calculating the cost of 32 mangoes when I hit Coles but that’s more of a statement about my lifestyle.

4. These will be the best years of your life

Think about this logically. If high school is the best time period in your life, what does that make life after? Downhill? So the peak of your life was between years 7 to 12…right. Come on, say it ain’t so. By all means, enjoy it for what it is but there will definitely be more good times to be had.

5. You need to map out your entire life plan from A to Z

While it’s always helpful to have a plan and mark out some objectives, not every wrinkle needs to be ironed out right now nor every detailed chiselled in stone. Your ambitions may change a thousand times over and opportunities that never even occurred to you might present themselves. Having a rigid, unbreakable structure to build around isn’t all too practical when you remember those that do not bend will break. Stay flexible.

6. You need an ATAR to progress to Level 3 of the education game

I am by no means condoning blowing off final exams, but know that there are always other ways and falling short of requirements and expectations is not the be all and end all. There are several alternate pathways that allow people to pursue a regular tertiary education with a little extra work, so keep that in mind before you tear your hair out the night before a test.

7. It all matters

I’m going to be generous and say maybe 25% of it matters, 30% on a good day, and that’s almost exclusively training up some fundamental skills for the future. All those anxious pre-exam jitters, seemingly impossible assignments, the petty dramas, the weird micro social hierarchies, egos, and insecurities; they are really not all that worth it. So make a fool of yourself at that dance, ask that girl or guy out, and savour the easy years.

by Garry Lu