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. 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 the social skills and new perspectives practiced and gained by taking a risk and talking to the unpopular kid are far more important than all four years of a high school education. While it may have felt this way for Randall, and while it was probably a healthy experience, it obviously cannot compare to the myriad of practical things he learned, nor (for sake of example) the trigonometry and calculus he learned that allowed him to begin his career in robotic engineering.
- 11th-grade activities:
- [Bar graph y axis: Usefulness to career success.]
- 900 hours of classes [small bar.]
- 400 hours of homework [smaller bar.]
- One weekend messing with Perl [huge bar.]