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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.

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Featured photo credit: GyorgyMadarasz via cdn.morguefile.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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