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15 Small Things In High School Which Make The Days Memorable

15 Small Things In High School Which Make The Days Memorable

It’s funny, isn’t it? The years go by, but our memories stay strong. High school was a unique experience for everyone. No one has the same stories, events and triumphs of another. There are however, common but meaningful moments of joy and laughter that we can all relate to when thinking back on our transformation years from teen to young adult.

Think of this as a time machine to step back from the present and travel back for a moment to our so called glory days.

1.  First Day Freshman Year

Maybe your parents didn’t take pictures and cry like they did for kindergarten, but the first day of high school was a big deal. At the time it seemed like the most important thing you’ve ever done. The goal was simple. As long as you made it through the day without being trash-canned or stuffed in a locker by a senior, you could consider day one as a high schooler a success.

2.  Gym Class

There were two types of kids in gym class. Those who loved gym class and those who hated it. Whether you were the one throwing the dodge balls or the one being pelted, you never forget the craziness that went on during gym. Not the mention the stink and sweat you had to deal with for the rest of the day after class.

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3.  Getting Called On When You Weren’t Paying Attention

There you were, day dreaming away, staring at the pretty girl across the room or thinking about what you’ll do after school ends. Out of nowhere, BAM! The teacher calls your name and you didn’t even hear the question. Two possible outcomes awaited: You were either clever enough to come up with a guess that might work, or you sat there dumbfounded while the teacher called on someone else in disgust. Don’t worry, it happened to all of us.

4.  First Crush

Let’s face it, we all had one. We can all think back to the first guy or girl we couldn’t help but smile at and hope we’d get a glimpse of them walking down the hall in-between classes. The question is, what happened after that crush? Did the crush fade away? Was it heartbreak? Or maybe you went all four years without ever saying a word, satisfied with split second eye contact every few weeks. Who knows, maybe you even married them. Either way, we all remember our first crush.

5.  Substitute Teacher

When you walked into the classroom and saw an unfamiliar face sitting at the teacher’s desk you knew it was going to be an interesting day. Pranksters were full steam ahead when a substitute teacher was in for the day. Mixing up names, talking in accents, random shouting, anything to erupt a roar of laughter from the rest of the class. The best was trying to convince the substitute how our regular teacher always let us do something, like listen to music during class, when it was never actually the case. You never knew what to expect on substitute teacher days.

6.  Sneaking Texts

For those who didn’t have cell phones during high school think of it as passing notes on steroids. Not only could you send a message without skipping down the entire row of desks but now you could send it to someone in an entirely different room. It was always a thrill making sure you could punch out a few words before the teacher saw what you were doing. The downfall was when you got caught teachers kept your phone for the entire day, or worse, brought it to the principal’s office.

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7.  Group Projects

Working in groups could go a few different ways. Most would be groups of friends who partnered up so they could joke around the entire class before trying to scruff something together in the last five minutes. One group was always bound to get stuck with the kid who never did anything and they’d have to compensate the extra work while he sat there picking his nose. My secret was to partner up with the smart kids, knowing they’d do the hard work to make sure the group got an A and only assign me enough to make it look like I actually did something.

8.  Being Called On The Intercom

A stir of emotions flowed in when you heard your name over the loud speaker to come down to the office. A sense of pride in having the entire school hear your name aloud followed quickly by a sharp worry of what trouble you got yourself into this time. Then when you arrived to find out it was only because your mom dropped off lunch money you wondered why they made such a big deal to announce it to the whole school.

9.  Field Trips

It didn’t matter where you were going, the best part about any field trip was the bus ride. All of your friends squeezed onto one bus shouting and joking around the entire way there and back. It’s amazing to think back on the things bus drivers would put up with.

10.  “When will we ever use this?”

This question came up every single day, especially in math class. Most of the time the teacher came up with an example of when we’d use that days lesson in the real world, but it was always satisfying when we got the response we were looking for: “Probably never.” But it was in the curriculum so class continued on and we had to learn it anyways.

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11.  Lunch

Lunch was arguably the best part of the day. Not because of the food, no definitely not the food. It was a break from nagging teachers and boring lectures, and a chance to hangout with your friends. It’s funny to think about the big decision of where to sit every day. Lunch was were groups of friends were defined. Scan across the room for 30 seconds and you could point out every single clique there was. Lunch was about the experience and never about the food. Honestly, does anyone know what it was they put in those sausage links of breakfast day?

12.  “Study” Hall

A lot of different things happened during study hall. Studying was never one of them. It was either spent talking with friends or you opened up your book to a random page and dedicated the rest of the period to sleeping. Study hall was a part of the day were it was perfectly okay to do nothing. Where’s that in the 40 hour work week?

13.  Homework?

Class is almost over. The bell’s about to ring and the teacher’s lost track of time. The whole class is hanging on their seats because no homework has been assigned and everyone is pumped to go home knowing they won’t have any work to do. Then, usually the teacher’s pet, bursts out, “what about homework?” The teacher thanks her for the reminder and then give the class the assignment. Just like that the excitement is ruined. Such an emotional roller coaster in that short period of time for all of us young people.

14.  Daily Drama

You can’t think about high school without thinking about all the nonsense that went on everyday. Even if you played no part in drama you knew the inside scoop of what was going on. Who was dating who, who didn’t like which person, who got caught cheating on their test. It’s funny to think about all the little things we cared about. It’s even funnier to think about all the people who still do.

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15.  Senior Year

Almost as fast as you’ve read this post it seems you went from walking in the doors for the first time as a freshman to walking out one last time as a high school graduate. When we think back to high school, senior year tends to dominate the image. Rulers of the school, you could do anything you wanted and no one would tell you otherwise. Well, that’s not really true, but it’s how we all felt. Senior year was the last step of the 12 year journey, afterwards it was time to leave the nest and take your first step into the real world.

It’s always funny thinking back on high school. Whenever we reminisce, it’s never about the tests, grades, or what we learned in class, it’s about the memories we have with those who were closest to us. We think about the relationships we built. About being with your friends every day for four years, laughing, joking and bringing joy to each others lives.

That’s what we remember most about high school. And that’s exactly how it should be.

Featured photo credit: GyorgyMadarasz via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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