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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 October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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