Everything I Need to Know I Learned in High School
Looking back on my high school days, I'm increasingly thankful. In addition to having good friends and a good school, I did some great extra-curricular activities that gave me skills and perspectives that I continue to use to this day:
(1) Speech and Debate. Here I got comfortable speaking in public, practiced how to craft an argument, and learned that there were defensible points on both sides of every issue.
(2) Basketball. Here I saw how players worked together in a system to get a basket or a stop (as opposed to one-on-one "jungle ball"), learned how to put others in the best position possible for them to succeed (I was a point guard), and came to encourage good play (either teammates or opponents).
(3) South Bay Taiwanese Youth. As VP of our Taiwanese youth group, I got practice making leadership decisions, baked in my heritage, and had opportunities to mentor younger kids.
(4) Future Business Leaders of America. I competed nationally in accounting so mastered that subject inside and out, and also got practice attending business events and learning business etiquette.
(5) Church. As a newbie, I of course learned the basic precepts of the faith, but also caught the vision for being a people on mission and being a people caring for one another.
(6) Classes. Oh yeah, school itself. Our public high school was really good - I'm convinced many of our teachers could've taught at the university level - so I got good instruction, especially in history, science, and math. In English alone, I gained a love for words, the ability to deconstruct a story, and skill in writing.
Being a child of immigrants, you're taught the importance of education. And, being ambitious, I had some inkling that extra-curriculars were useful. But it's only been the passage of time that has given me a true appreciation for the important lessons I was learning back then, that have made me who I am today. For that I'm thankful.