A look at high school through the years

What was the typical school day like?

What my dad described as a typical school day was very similar to mine. He went to a private high school in Denver, Colorado that was fairly competitive. He tried to take all the challenging classes he could and worked his hardest to succeed in them. However hard these classes were, he had tons of fun in high school. At his school, there were “free hours” and the students could use these to get ahead on work but my dad usually used them to hang out with his friends. At Eagan, we have a pretty competitive atmosphere not unlike that of my dad’s school. I try to take hard classes like my dad, but if I don’t want to, my high school offers less challenging ones. Another similarity is the opportunities we have to be with our friends. We have lots of time in between classes or at lunch to socialize, but we aren’t allowed to leave school grounds like my dad could.


Were grades a big deal in your household?

In my mom’s house grades were always a big deal. She was held to a certain standard that was set very high. She was expected to get straight As all throughout high school. This kind of atmosphere does not exist in my house. My parents always want me giving it my all and trying my best, but they always encourage more sleep over a perfect test score. I put more pressure on myself to keep a high GPA than my parents do. My parents know what I am capable of and always want me to live up to this, but aren’t mad if my grades aren’t perfect.


What were some extracurriculars?

At my dad’s high school there were many extracurriculars students could choose from, though not as many as Eagan High School. They had some sports we didn’t have like women’s field hockey, but EHS has many more sports options, particularly for girls. Also, all students were required to be participating in either a gym or a sport during every trimester. So, most students, like my dad, were three-season athletes. These students would get to school at 8 a.m. every day and get home around 6 p.m. leaving little time for homework or relaxing. Although there were language clubs and a few more, EHS has far more clubs. Our selection of clubs is amazing and there is one out there for every student.


What kind of standardized tests did you take?

My mom went to high school in Port Angeles, Washington, and in that area of the country students usually only take the SAT, which is what my mom did. The ACT was not as popular of a test to take as it is now, and a lot of students didn’t even think to take it. Now, I think that the ACT is a lot more popular, especially having gone to high school in the Midwest. Many students will take the SAT if they are looking at schools on either coast but there are many schools that only require an ACT score.


Was there a lot of pressure applying to colleges?

In my dad’s private high school, there was a lot of pressure put on some students when it came to college. Many of his peers attended Ivy Leagues and other schools like Duke, UNC, and Northwestern. However, he did not put this kind of pressure on himself, as he already knew where he wanted to go at a young age. Now, I think that there is definitely a competitive atmosphere when it comes to applying to colleges. Most students put a lot of pressure on themselves to get into a good school. Especially at Eagan, there are a lot of very smart students capable of being accepted into the most exclusive schools. That creates a very high-pressure environment.


Do you believe high school has changed for the better or worse?

When I asked both my parents, they responded the same way. They believe that both are true; high school has changed for the better and the worse. The options of classes for students to take, sports or clubs to join, and opportunities for students to find their calling are abundant. However, the pressures put on students have definitely risen since when my parents were in high school and social media has definitely not helped. The rise of social media has affected the way students learn and interact, which is a huge change from 30 years ago. The way social media has amplified the magnitude of essentially everything, has definitely hurt the environment in schools. However, it has also improved schools, with its way of accelerating learning processes and in so many other ways. For better or worse, school is rapidly changing and there’s no stopping it.

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