With September quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about school and the upcoming year. As a rising senior, I’ve also been reflecting on my education as a whole and all the things I have learned in the last 3 years and the ones before that. It’s crazy to think about. In the past few years, I’ve been immersed in a world of information. I have taken countless quizzes, lost dozens of pencils and sat up for hours typing, researching, reading, and writing. I have been tested for recall and for comprehension, I have been asked to share my thoughts and do projects and collaborate and brainstorm.

Looking back on it all, I sometimes have trouble remembering all the little things. Sometimes I need to brush up on math equations, grammar tricks and Spanish vocabulary. Most high school students are swamped with so much information that the little things fade a little and linger in the back of our minds until we need them. But something I have noticed is that even when we forget the details, numbers or dates, learning them has perhaps been what taught us the most.

We learn from the people around us. Our teachers teach us the information they test us on, but in the process demonstrate leadership and respect and frustration. Our parents teach us resilience and dedication, even when things get tough. Our friends teach us loyalty and support through high school’s challenges. And perhaps most importantly, our classmates teach us teamwork, compromise, diversity and hard work, as we all learn together how to grow up.

The HS101 ambassador program is perhaps the perfect example of learning together. Guidance from students who have been through it before can teach other students more about their education and about themselves than trying to navigate high school on their own. Our peers can give invaluable insight and help that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

So, at school we are surrounded by information. We study the little things, and we try to understand the big ones. But without even noticing, at school we learn so much more than just from lesson plans and textbooks. We are surrounded by people, and from them we learn how to be students, thinkers and citizens. As I go back to my high school for one last time this fall, I know that I will do more math, write more papers, and read more books. And while that type of education is invaluable, I will know that in the process I will learn even more about what it means to learn at all. I challenge you to do the same.