I attended an all girls Catholic high school, and like students at any school, my classmates and I asked the question, “When am I going to use this?”
But at my school, we didnt just question parabolas and quadratic equations.
We questioned why we had to wear name tags.
“It’s not preparing us for the real world,” one girl remarked, “unless we want to work at McDonald’s for the rest of our lives.”
We questioned why, as upperclassmen, we were required to complete community service hours over the summer.
“Is this preparing us for a life of crime?” we joked.
We had to wear uniforms and looked forward to the days we were allowed to wear jeans – even if it meant we had to pay a dollar to support a school club for the privilege.
On the days we had to attend church, we not only wore uniforms with name tags, but we also had to wear blazers.
If we asked our teachers why we had to do any of these things, they would tell us it was to teach us responsibility, but in my adult life, these things have come into play much more literally than ever expected.
I currently work in a building that requires a name badge for access. I typically have to wear business casual attire – unless I earn a jeans day by donating to a charitable cause. Then there are the special occasions when I’m required to wear professional attire, and as I put on my suit blazer, it becomes all too surreal.
Those community service hours also come into play. The company I work for has had me packing food for school kids, delivering meals to the elderly, and preparing dinner for families with sick children.
So yes, now I’m using all those things I thought were so odd back in high school. And when I recently found myself on a team of all women, working for a female boss, well … I’ve never felt so at home.
I’m still not sure when I’ll use a parabola.