Really? Could it be true? On my recent vacation, I was the sag wagon following Julie on her way back from Sturgis on her Harley Davidson. Yes, you read that correctly. Sturgis = a Harley Meetup x 700,000 or so HOG obsessed people. In the long hours of trailing her back home, I heard an NPR interview where they were discussing the research that shows who you are today can be traced back to who you were in high school and what you experienced there.
For most adults, the adolescent years “occupy a privileged place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable: Give a grown adult a series of random prompts and cues, and odds are he or she will recall a disproportionate number of memories from adolescence. This phenomenon even has a name—the “reminiscence bump”—and it’s been found over and over in large population samples, with most studies suggesting that memories from the ages of 15 to 25 are most vividly retained.”
Why? Partly because in our development, we experience super high doses of dopamine (the feel good hormone) when good stuff happens; success in sports or scholastics or during those imbibing and bonding moments with friends. These experiences imprint on your brain, forever highlighted in NEON LIGHT, like a supernova in the vast constellation of experiences filed in your memory bank. On the flip side, those hormones also imprint those cutting, cruel comments as well. Which is why there are things you never seem to be able to forget (or get over). Bummer. (Do some NLP for this!)*”High school is when you learn how to master social relationships—and to understand how, basically, to ‘play the game.’ Or don’t,” writes Gabriella Conti, economist and first writer in a research paper published last October by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The study showed a compelling correlation between high-school popularity—measured by how many “friendship nominations” each kid received from their peers—and future earnings. Evidently if you were a tall, popular boy in high school you stood a better chance of making more money than your shorter peers. However, if you were a beauty queen, who was pampered and things were given to, in today’s world you often are less likely to be able to assert your own ideas. This type often ends up getting married versus going into another form of work, then having kids and spending a great deal of time as a soccer Mom. (I’d be interested in knowing if they go back to school or into the workforce after their kids are grown and out of the house.)
Another weird high school factoid: our favorite music to listen to? Oh yah, songs from that era. Forever Motown am I;-)
Listening to the program, I reflected on what I do for work today and how unbelievably accurate this high school = you theory is for me. In high school, I was the pep commissioner! (big surprise) Every week I had to make posters for the athletic teams with my high school pals Lisa Aoto and Nancy Shigetomi – “Go Mustangs” and”Buck the Fulldogs” with super groovy fonts.
What do I do for a living today? Highly paid pep commissioner – aka “Corporate Change Agent”, “Gamestormer” and poster maker or “Strategic Illustrator” and Graphic Storyteller.
Super true that no matter where you go, there you are. Thanks for that old take on the new me, NPR!Who were you in high school and how is that reflected in who you are and what you do today?*Looks like you can’t blame it on Mom & Dad anymore!