(High School Or College) Gave Me The Best Years of My Life, And You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise | Edukasyon.ph
College Life

(High School Or College) Gave Me The Best Years of My Life, And You Can’t Convince Me Otherwise

Let’s do a fast talk real quick!

Cats or dogs?

Books or movies?

Coffee or hot chocolate?

Pineapples on pizza or nah?

High-paying job you’re not passionate about or job that doesn’t pay so well but you’re very passionate about?

Okay, great. You have some pretty strong opinion right there. How about this:

High school or college?

When it comes to this one, we know that it can take more than a few seconds (or minutes) to come up with a ~solid~ answer. It’s hard! And don’t worry, we feel you. It’s like choosing between your favorite dog and… well, your other favorite dog. Both are bundles of joy! How are you supposed to pick just one, right?

two cute dogs

Likewise, student life may be a shared experience but it looks different for everyone. Even if you went to the same school, took the same classes, and listened to the same profs from Day 1, every student’s memories are bound to be different in one way or another. And tbh, that’s the beauty of it!

While we all know choosing between high school and college isn’t exactly a fast talk convo (read: just imagine all those years-worth of blood, sweat, and tears!!), let’s try to draw the line between these two important phases in our lives and see why students prefer one over the other.


On Enjoying The Student Life

“For me, high school is all about being carefree and just enjoying life. You know, just being a student. In college, one wrong move or decision mo lang, it can already affect your future directly like if you choose a wrong course, join the wrong org, or end up in a subject with a terror prof. But in high school, I feel like it’s more about being free and not worrying about what the future holds,” says Jeff, 21, who enjoyed his high school years.

Efraime, 21, had a different experience. “Back in high school, I was so grade conscious that I didn’t invest much in friendships. I focused more on what I could achieve, so now it feels like I don’t have something to look back on except for my “achievements” and a handful of friends, more like acquaintances.” Because of that, he felt like his college years were a better experience. “In college, I enjoyed a balance of acads and social life! I met different people, enjoyed my newfound freedom, and grew in my relationship with God. Those were really exciting times!”

There’s a pretty good reason why students go through school in levels. Every year is meant to be a different student experience, with a different learning approach—regardless if it’s the classroom setup, subject difficulty, or time management. Which school levels did you find exciting or challenging? It’s probably because they’re designed to accomplish exactly that.

Jumping from one school year to the next is a learning adventure that teaches you all you need to know when you need to know it. (Imagine learning physics in kinder!) Thankfully, school prepares you to learn more, manage more, and grow more in knowledge and responsibilities one day at a time. Which one did you enjoy the most?

High school or college?

woman wearing blue dancing


On Preparing Students for the Future

Keira, 24, recalls how high school helped her realize her passion. “Nung highschool ko na-figure out yung strengths and weaknesses ko as a student. Pati na rin yung mga interests ko! It was then that I discovered that I love theater, which I eventually pursued in college when I took BA Com Arts, Major in Theatre Arts. So I really feel like high school helped me figure out what I want to be.“

For Igê, 21, his eureka moment happened a lil’ later when he was already in college. “Mas masarap mag-aral nung college kasi interested ako sa mga subjects na kinukuha ko. Plus magagaling yung mga profs! So together with the all the things I experienced with my friends and orgs, I feel like college made me a better person. Experiencing very different worldviews helped me move forward with my own values, morals, and habits.”

As simple as it is, the whole point of going to school and making sense of all those numbers, letters, and numbers with letters (looking right at ya, algebra!) is to prepare you for the future. And by prepare, we mean equipping you with all the skills, competencies, and character you need to get there and stay there.

If you have to answer right now how you see yourself in the next five or ten years, what would you say? (It’s okay if you don’t know yet.) Discovering what you want to do for the rest of your life is NOT an overnight process. It’s an adventure of constant trying and failing (and a whole lot of crying) until that eureka moment comes along, that day you find the ultimate thing that makes you want to get up in the morning. When did that happen to you?

High school or college?

Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez in High School Musical


On Making Friends and Keeping ‘Em

“I think friendships in high school are more genuine because you spend time together in your early teenage years. You share your dreams with each other, and figure things out together in college. It’s like having someone who knows you from the start. Sabi nga nila, ‘College friends may know who and what you are but your high school friends know why you are like that,’” says Ina, 22, who still has close ties with her high school friends until now.

Paul, 22, could almost say the same thing with his college friends. “College was the time when I fully understood myself and became more transparent with people around me. And though it was scary at first, being vulnerable and all, it wasn’t a bad decision after all because they accepted me for who I really am. So college really shaped who I am now.”

Let’s be honest. Next to lunch breaks, your next favorite part in a school day is spending time with your whole barkada. Whether it’s one or one hundred, being surrounded by people who make learning less ~dread-filled~ and more fun is one of the best things every student can ever have.

Right from your first day, school should be more than just a place of learning. It’s been a sacred place that bears witness to relationships built and broken, to memories bursting with laughter, crying (read: ugly crying), and everything in between. Some find temporary, seasonal friendships. Some find genuine, lifelong friendships too. How about you? Where did your #squadgoals story start?

High school or college?

group of graduating women friends


On Learning Life Lessons in School

Sab, 20, got more than just lecture notes in school. She values how high school helped her find her way as a teenager. “Remembering high school is pretty much remembering my nene days! And as much as nakakahiya siya isipin, I really treasure those years hanggang ngayon kase it was when I slowly started asking questions and figuring things out as a teenager—which is basically my high school life in few words. And feeling ko din, much of what I am now is because that time allowed me to be who I want to be, without the pressure of the future and all that.”

Dez, 26, shares the same sentiment on her life-changing experiences in college. “Because the people in college were more diverse, I got the chance to meet a lot of them from different provinces and cities across the country, as far as places in Mindanao! I’ve also come to know more about their cultures, dialects, etc. So it really helped me understand people better kase I was exposed to a community na mas malaya kang mag-share ng opinions without the fear of being judged. Plus, you are embraced for who you are like for example, the way you dress.”

There’s more to school than just good grades and impressive academic record. It’s also a haven of valuable lessons that equip you with character to match your skills and competencies. Now, every time you move up a level, you also progress in understanding yourself and the world around you—a wider, deeper perspective about life. Talk about holistic development!

When learning goes beyond the classroom and what is written in books and report cards, then you know you’re doing it right. It’s realizing that lessons are good, but it’s in applying them that makes the difference. After all, that’s what draws the line between the schooled and the educated—and you choose to strive for the latter. When did real learning happen to you?

High school or college?

students in classroom throwing their papers


In conclusion…

We hate to say this (but we’re gonna say it anyway), both high school and college experiences equally hold a special place in the heart of the students. And we’re pretty sure, you know that very well! Each has its own highs and lows that make it special.

It may be a different experience for everyone but it doesn’t make it any less memorable. Whether it’s a normal day at school or there’s a big event on campus, these stories are the very same memories you’ll remember (read: with tears) as you look back years from now.

PS. So it’s safe to stay that we’re never gonna graduate from our high school and college memories! Both gave us some of the best years of our lives, for reals. And that’s something we don’t need to debate about.

woman imaginary playing drums


Which team are you on? Let’s reminisce a bit more. Check out more student experiences in high school in the All About Senior High section or the college adventures in the College Life section—both at Edukasyon.ph!

Note: Quotes were lightly edited for grammar and clarity.