When I got asked this question I immediately thought: "to get a high school certificate and then to get into a university". It was cause and effect. Finish high school; get into university; get a job.
It was this way of thinking that was present in my mind all throughout grade 8, 9 and 10 and it has only begun to change, or rather I have only begun to question this towards the end of grade 11. You see, knowing I had to complete high school with good marks to end up at a university motivated me to really try hard. This mentality pushed me to achieve good grades. Also, wanting the best shot at university pushed me to become a prefect!
Now I’m sure you are thinking, "this idea of cause and effect clearly worked for you so why are you questioning it?". Well, I began to realise that schoolwork, studying and stressing was only a fraction of what we learn at school. The majority of what we learn is hidden: by learning about rivers, biology or even chemistry teach us problem-solving skills. It teaches us new and different ways of approaching problems and ultimately better preparing us for the “real” world. By learning about molar ratios or solving for the ever elusive x value we are taught how to break large problems down into smaller, more manageable sections. The stress we deal with on a daily basis at school over pointless tests or from trying to learn endless lists of technical terms (which we will never use again) help us deal with the stress we will face later in life over more serious matters such as injury or death affecting those we love or care about.
School forces us to be organised. It puts us into a fixed routine and whether we like it or not some of this rubs off on us and thus we are more organised at future jobs; we plan ahead to meet future deadlines or arrive on time for meetings or interviews.
Although we often think the work we do in school is pointless or a waste of time; it’s the subtle lessons, the skills we learn subconsciously that make school important! Even if you don’t achieve the marks or achievements you or your parents want it’s the less obvious preparation for life that makes school worthwhile.