REAL WORLD Rules and Advice for High School Kids to Follow

high school studentsRule #1. Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teenager uses the phrase “it’s not fair” 8.6 times a day. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they realized Rule #1.

Rule #2. The real world won’t care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It’ll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it’s not fair. (See Rule No. 1)

Rule #3. Sorry, you won’t make $50,000 a year right out of high school. And you won’t be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap label.

Rule #4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’til you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he is not going ask you how feel about it.

Rule #5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren’t embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt Cobain all weekend.

Rule #6. It’s not your parents’ fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of “It’s my life,” and “You’re not the boss of me,” and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it’s on your dime. Don’t whine about it or you’ll sound like a baby boomer.

Rule #7. Before you were born your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents’ generation try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule #8. Life is not divided into semesters, and you don’t get summers off. Nor even Easter break. They expect you to show up every day. For eight hours. And you don’t get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on.

Rule #9. Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be perky or as polite as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule #10. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule #11. Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be kid. Maybe you should start now.

This list is the work of Charles J. Sykes, author of the book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, Or Add. (The list has appeared in newspapers, although not necessarily in this book.) Many versions omit the last three rules:

Rule No. 12:   Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look moronic. Next time you’re out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt in his mouth. That’s what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for “expressing yourself” with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13:   You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse is romantic, you obviously haven’t seen one of your peers at room temperature lately.

Rule No. 14:   Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. You’re welcome.

9 thoughts on “REAL WORLD Rules and Advice for High School Kids to Follow

  1. Oy. What I would give to have a chance to go back to when I was in high school. Its you one chance to free yourself from a life of poverty. One,Remember when your educated, employed and successful then there’s reason to party – not before. Two, those so-called friends that are so important when your a teenager you’ll realise are the distractions and bad influences that your parents tell you they are.

  2. pretty stupid list.
    #1 when somethings unfair, people dont just say “thats unfair” and leave it. they try to make it more fair and take action.

    #4 my boss is much better than any teachers i ever had.

    #8 were working and seeing cash flow now, we dont care about not getting summers off. and yes, people do get holidays off. not as many as school though.

    #10 nerds arent the ones we work for, nerds play video games all day. the people we will be working for is the quiet, hard working kid that most people werent mean to anyways.

    most of the rest was you being a jerk and telling people to get mature in 14 different phrased ways. 1/10

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