519: 11th Grade
Title text: And the ten minutes striking up a conversation with that strange kid in homeroom sometimes matters more than every other part of high school combined.
This strip is a comparison about the time spent in 11th grade doing various things, and how important those things are to one's future. The first two bars on the chart are 900 hours of class, which is about 180 hours short of how many hours kids spend in school each year (most likely to show the lunch hour), and 400 hours of homework, or an average of about 2.2 hours per school day. Conversely, idly messing around in Perl (a programming language) for only one weekend is shown to have a much larger impact on one's future — specifically Randall's, as learning how to code would have been key to his job as a robotics engineer at NASA. This is likely due to the skills one can pick up in even just a single weekend in contrast to the often redundant, trivial or generalist information that schools tend to convey.
The title text is a further exaggeration, claiming that striking up a conversation with the strange kid at school could be far more important than all four years of a high school education. There is always the chance that "that strange kid" might turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Or that he knows a guy who can find you your first job. Or he's the one who tells you about his interest in a to you yet unknown topic and sparks your interest in it as well, and maybe it turns into your future career. Or, conversely, the weird kid could be a school shooter.
- [Above a bar graph:]
- 11th-grade activities:
- [The y axis is labeled:]
- Usefulness to career success
- [Above the x-axis are two small and one huge bar. Below the axis each bar is labeled:]
- 900 hours of classes
- 400 hours of homework
- One weekend messing with Perl
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