What I do and don’t miss about high school

An image of Jenna's high school graduation cap, the background is newspaper page and it reads "on to the next chapter."

My high school graduation cap I’m too proud of almost two years later

It’s been almost two years since I graduated from high school, and it feels like a loooooong time ago. Although my high school experience didn’t measure up to what I saw in movies and read in books, I still enjoyed it as an Ontario high school student in Ottawa. When I get nostalgic, I like to think about my high school days, and that got me thinking about what I do miss and don’t miss about high school. 

What I don’t miss

Waking up at 6:30 a.m. for school at 8 a.m. everyday

I remember being exhausted all the time in my last few years of high school, especially in my first class of the day. I am not a morning person, so I hated waking up early to get to school for 8 a.m. I would usually work until 10:30 p.m. one or two nights a week and go to bed at midnight. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it. Now, I have the occasional 8 a.m. class but when the rest of my classes don’t start until 10 a.m. or later, I don’t mind! This is the most well-rested I’ve been in years.

Not knowing when assignments were going to pop up

I love organizing, planning and just knowing when everything is supposed to happen. In high school, we were lucky to get a week or two notice before a test or assignment. So when I showed up to my first semester of university and saw that ALL of my deadlines were already there, it was a gift. By reading the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, you can see when all your assignments are due and when all your tests are (except for final exams) and plan out exactly what you need to do and when. It’s the best. 

The lack of variety of classes

Maybe it was just my school, but I felt like there wasn’t a ton of selection when it came to choosing electives. I didn’t love math and science, so that took away a lot of the courses I could take. However, when I got to university and saw that there are literally hundreds of elective courses I could take throughout my university career from Music and Film to Planning for Emergency Management, I was so excited! The possibilities are truly endless. 

A GIF from the movie High School Musical where the whole cast is dancing in their gym.

Forever disappointed my high school experience was not like High School Musical. blogs.disney.com via Giphy

What I do miss

Seeing my friends everyday

In high school, you get to see your friends every day at lunch and if you’re lucky, you’ll have some classes or a spare period to spend with them. When I chose to go away for university, I knew I would miss my high school friends a lot. I went from seeing them every day to maybe seeing them once or twice a semester when I go home. I made some awesome friends in university, but with conflicting schedules, commuting and other commitments, it can be difficult to see them every day. 

Getting to know your teachers

In high school when class sizes were small, it was so easy to get to know your teachers. I really underappreciated this when I was in high school because it made getting help and feedback on assignments and other matters simple. Also, sometimes your teachers just had really great stories or advice to share. Getting to know professors in university requires a lot more effort in classes with hundreds of students. 

Not having to walk 10 minutes to class 

In high school I would complain every time I either had to go up or down stairs or outside to a portable to get to my next class. Now, I have to go outside, cross streets, take stairs, go through buildings and sometimes take escalators and elevators to get from class to class. Yes, sometimes going up three flights of stairs was annoying, but at least I was in the same building!


High school and university are two very different experiences. They both have their pros and cons, but each one is a great experience that offers many opportunities to learn, make memories and have fun!

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