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How to Write a Thesis – And Other Things High School Didn’t Teach Me

Posted by Mo Hickman
Mo Hickman


As my first semester comes to a close, I’ve learned that there are things that I didn’t learn in High School. Here are five things that high school didn’t teach me:

  1. How to use public transit

Now if you grew up in the city, you’re probably thinking “How does she not know how to use public transit?” Fact is, when you grew up in a town where you can walk from one end to the other in under an hour, you didn’t need it. So when I moved out here to Calgary, it was confusing. What should have been an hour ride back took over three hours.

  1. How to navigate the library

Using the random combination of letters and numbers to locate the one book you want in a multitude of books can be a daunting task some days. Unlike high school, you can’t just google information for your paper. I would have greatly appreciated being introduced to this type of system earlier in my life.

  1. How to read

Let me clarify – I learned to read words on a page when I was four, maybe even younger. But reading in university requires you to understand the ideas that those words make up and apply those ideas to other ideas, and then remember all those ideas for the quiz you have to write at the start of class—and you have to do it fast, cause you have three other readings to do, for tomorrow.

  1. How to Learn instead of Memorize

This is similar to #3. In High school, I got along pretty well with just memorizing the notes that were given to me and replicating them on the test. In university, you make your own notes, and there is often too much information to memorize. You need to actually learn what the professor is teaching, not just memorize it.

  1. How to Write a Thesis

If I have learned anything this semester, it’s that writing a good, precise thesis is important, and that I don’t know how to do it. Writing a proper thesis statement is an essential skill for any academic career and definitely a skill I wish they taught me before I entered university.

This is not a hate letter to my high school teachers. I am quite grateful for the education I have acquired so far. These are simply things I have realized that I do not know how to do, or how to do well, that I wish I was taught earlier in life. Perhaps you are already a master of some of these, or maybe, like me, you will learn that you did not learn them.

Until next time,

Mo Hickman