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.
This is mainly a critique to how school subjects can be rather useless for one's future or that the school is so boring that students are discouraged to pay attention in the class.
The title text continues this sentiment; the fact that the subject of the conversation is left shrouded in mystery deepens the romance (in all senses of the word). It could also be a school shooter reference; however, this is unlikely and not in xkcd's typical style of humor.
- [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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