How Has High School Influenced Your Identity?

Our high school experiences can’t help but influence our life and identity, and that’s true of practically everyone.

The reason is that at the time that we are approaching or in high school, we are in the process of maturing, emotionally, physically, and mentally. We are discovering who we are, what we like and don’t like, what we can or can’t do, and so on.

That it happens to coincide with spending 7+ hours a day in a building together with the same group of peers and teachers means those people and experiences will take on a profound meaning.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What makes you you?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What gives a person value?’


For some people, high school is full of growth and liberation, a time of discovery. For others, it might be a time of persecution. You can discover there are others like you, or that you are alone.

Are there traits or behaviors that you have today that you can trace to an experience you had in high school? How has high school influenced your identity?

Related questions: High school or college? Why do we like what we like? How have you changed? What was the best time in your life? How do you learn?

Thanks to Ingrid Moon for the question.

Would You Want To Live Forever?

Like most people, I have a pretty strong survival instinct. But while I don’t want to die, I’m not sure that I want to live forever.

The Case For

Sure, living forever seems pretty attractive at first glance. You won’t, you know, die. Dying is often painful, unexpected, or otherwise unpleasant. If it can be avoided, so much the better.

Moreover, grief is a powerful, and often, devastating emotion. We have all experienced loss, and if you could live forever, you could spare your family and friends going through the grief they would feel at your passing.

Then, you’d never miss out on anything. Whatever amazing discoveries, whatever triumphs, whatever joys that await in the future, you would get to experience. First humans on Mars? Curing cancer? Your great-great-great grandchild getting married? Check, check, check.

The Case Against

All that sounds great, but there are significant downsides.

If you were the only immortal, then you would see everyone you love grow old and die, again and again and again.

But if somehow you could live forever, maybe everyone could. Maybe it is a scientific breakthrough. But in that case, there would be a serious resource problem.

Our planet currently supports more than seven billion people. Even at that number, we are threatening the future of our species and the entire eco-sphere. If none of those seven billion plus died, and babies continued to be born, we’d quickly run out of resources to sustain ourselves.

But maybe we colonize galaxy. We spread out among the stars, and find other planets with other resources. We make better use of the plentiful solar energy throughout the galaxy and the universe. Are there any other drawbacks to immortality?

Things have value to us because of scarcity. The gold standard works because gold is rare. Rainy days make sunny days better. Grief gives added meaning to joy.

If you lived forever, it is possible that life, as we know it, would lose meaning. It is our transitory time on this earth that gives our time here value. Our life matters precisely because we don’t live forever.

Or is that just a justification, designed to make us feel better about our inevitable end?

Would you want to live forever? Or is acceptable that our lives come to an end eventually?

Related questions: Why are people afraid of death? What do you want to do before you die? Past, present, or future? How can we appreciate life more?

What Duty Do We Have To Live Properly?

The key word in this question is clearly the word “properly”. What does it mean to live properly? Who determines what make a proper life?

Each one of us lives the life that we think is best. If we wanted to live our life differently, we would do it! For some, that might mean to live in as much comfort as possible. Others might want to improve the lot of humanity. Some may want to provide for their family.

Of course, it’s not that simple. Besides a desire to live our ideal life, there are always constraints that make that difficult. Maybe you are born in a war-torn country. Or you are not as tall, or as strong, or as attractive, or as smart as you’d like to be. The color of your skin might be a societal disadvantage, or your access to educational opportunities may be lacking.

But even factoring in the hardships or difficulties an individual might face, do we have a responsibility to leave the world a better place than we found it? Or do we only have to look out for ourselves?

Do we have a duty to live properly? And what does the word “properly” mean to you? How should we live our lives in the most responsible way?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? What are our responsibilities to others? What gives you purpose? Individual or society? What do we owe the future?