High School Students Competition

My Graduating Class Is Competitive To A Worrying Extent, And It Drives Us Away From Each Other

From GPAs to class rankings, we've defined who we are based on the numbers pinned to our names.


Class rankings became available a few weeks ago, and the competition has become fiercer than ever before. I've noticed a sharper edge to the attitudes of some classmates of mine. And maybe it's my paranoia kicking in, but this change in demeanor is timed perfectly with the timeframe within which class rankings were released.

When I was in ninth grade, my AP Government teacher used to scold me for judging my worth on the numbers placed by my name. He used to tell me that 10 years from now, none of my worries about grades would matter. That I would be living a life that was determined by how well I utilized my experiences, not by how the numbers on my reports spoke of me.

Those words never fully sat with me until a few weeks ago when class rankings came out. I think the magnitude of his statement could not express itself beforehand because it hadn't been given the ability to do so, but at the first chance provided to dominate my concerns, it has. I'm concerned not for where I stand but for how others view themselves in comparison to myself and to their peers.

Several faces appear in my mind at the thought of the word "competition," from them mentioning their love for it to them dictating their friendships based on it. People choose their friends based on who they know they're better than. People don't talk to each other because they think they're smarter than one another. People think they are superior because the triple digits on their report cards say so.

They've plagued my thoughts, the worries I have about my own grades, but those nights I've spent fearing for the plunge my numbers are bound to take, my friends have also experienced. Yet the common feelings we share about our successes are what keep us walking on separate pathways in life.

My graduating class is competitive to a worrying extent, and it drives us away from each other.

My graduating class avoids friendship because even moral support is seen as betraying one's personal success.

My classmates don't look each other in the eyes because others can find weakness hidden inside.

My peers refrain from expressing emotions because numbers are all that define who they are.

My friends believe competition is what drives friendship because others' failures equate to their own rewards.

I have to apologize if what I say comes off as insensitive or merely blunt, but isn't there a truth to the sentiment? Isn't there some sort of understanding with the idea of confining oneself to a GPA, to an SAT score, to a test grade?

I have been pulled aside by a friend and told that they're on-board with the idea of having "friendly competition" but that I should be careful with what I do and say. Out-of-context, this can be used as a vindictive statement told by a classmate that I could be including just to support my own side. But even with context, the concept of a person I once considered a close friend telling me to watch my back is... painful to consider.

If the numbers on our academic records are so important, should we not be proud of each other for bringing these numbers higher? At least — if we can't stop ourselves from defining our values based on our grades — be genuinely happy for the success of our peers! These are the people we've associated ourselves with, and likewise, they've devoted their time to us. There must at least be some sort of community, some semblance of support that we can foster based on our true compassion for the graduating class's collective success.

It disappoints me that this is only possible in a utopian society because we've become clouded and consequently blinded by visions of overpowering the people around us. I like to trademark pieces by ending on a positive note, but the firmly-rooted feelings of animosity we've been conditioned to feel for each other prevent me from doing so.

It's come to the point where we've painted a future for ourselves in which our success comes not from the goals we conquer but from the dreams others can never reach.

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To My Best Friend Who Taught Me What True Friendship Is, I Can't Thank You Enough

"To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding."

Dear Best Friend,

You have been a part of my life for quite some time now. You have seen my good, bad, and ugly sides and have stuck by my side through it all. I don't know if I could ever find the words to truly thank you for everything your friendship has given me, but I am definitely going to try.

Our lives have taken some twist and turn these past few years, but we have stayed strong through it all.

Thank you for judging me just the right amount.

Throughout our friendship, I have made some very questionable decisions. A lot of people would say "thanks for never judging me," but I feel like everyone needs a best friend who's going to tell them how it is, to tell them when they are about to make a bad decision or how to avoid something worse from happening. You have always told me how it is (even when I don't always want to hear it), but I know that I can come to you whenever I need someone to set me straight.

You're always down to do nothing with me.

I think that you are the one person that I can call up to hang out and do absolutely nothing with and have a good time. From the nights sitting in and playing card games to ordering Chinese food and watching an entire Netflix series while I dance around with the cat: I know that we could do anything, and nothing together and it would be fun.

But also, you're always down to get lit with me.

I swear one day we will be two old moms at a bar drinking vodka crans and laughing about the stupid shit our husbands and children do. You're always down to go out and have a good time. Even if everyone else we're with is miserable, we find a way to laugh at ourselves.

You are one of the few constant things in my life.

I've lost a lot of friends in my life, but you have stayed by my side through everything. I can't remember the last time we actually fought about anything, but even when we do we can't stay mad at each other for more than a day. I know we will be in each other's lives until we literally keel over.

I want you yo know that you're the strongest person I know.

You've dealt with things that not many people go through ever in their life. You have always been so mature, and you handle everything with grace. You inspire me every day with your goals and successes and I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments.

Above all else, you deserve the world.

It's so easy to get caught up in your own mind and think that you deserve the things that happen to you, but please know that the only thing you deserve is happiness. Please settle for nothing short of that. It may take a bit to find your happiness, but I will be there every step of the way. You're a remarkable human being, and I want nothing but the best for you.

To the person who will hold your heart someday, please do not break it. To the person who may wrong you, you will regret it forever. To the person who will love you endlessly, love her with kindness and understanding.

You, my best friend, future bridesmaid, godmother of my children, the person to bail me out of jail, the one who lets me cry on their couch for twelve hours,

I love you.

I will cherish our friendship forever. Thank you for being you.

Love always,

Your best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Adriana Ranieri

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What It's Actually Like Moving States

How a central Iowa born and raised native ended up in Southern Missouri.


Not a lot of people think moving states is a hard thing to do. If it's two hours away or, like me, seven hours away from your hometown, a move is a move and it can affect people in different ways.

Personally, my family was separated for a year, my mom and I still living in our hometown so I could finish high school, and my dad in Missouri working at his new job.

Then, in June my mom and I made the move so our family could be together once again. For us, we still had our home in Iowa, so my parents and I lived in an apartment until we could sell our home in Iowa and find what we wanted in Missouri.

The hardest things to get used too is the lifestyle of people in southern Missouri. People are a lot different down here than they were in Iowa. It was a big deal for us to move down here and adapt to a different lifestyle.

Something minor that was very hard to get used to was the usage of pop and soda. Most people don't even know what a "pop," is. In Iowa, a Pepsi or Coke is known as pop but down here it is called a soda.

That is just one example that was super hard to get used to. Something that is a little more of a big deal is the size of the city. In Iowa, I could get a coffee in about a five-minute drive. In Missouri, it takes a good fifteen minutes to drive there and who knows what the line will be like at the coffee shop. Those are minor things that my family struggled with adapting to.

Easily, the hardest thing was leaving friends and family. I came to Branson in the middle summer. This limited my job opportunities to none and made making new friends next to impossible.

This made my summer really hard and honestly boring. I knew this was best for my family, but I missed my friends and I wanted to be back in Iowa where all my friends were and my job used to be.

There were also a lot of perks from moving away from Iowa. First off, I completely went off the grid of my town and wanted to start completely new. I made new social media accounts and got a new phone number.

This made the transition easy because I was able to be who I wanted to be and keep in touch with the people I wanted to keep in touch with. This is something that a lot of people thought was pointless, but was such an important step for a fresh start.

Coming to Missouri, I know that sky is the limit and I have so many more opportunities of what I want to do. Overall, I would suggest moving states and starting knew. It feels good to finally be in a place that makes you truly happy as well as your family. Iowa is a fun place to visit sometimes and I'll always miss the sunsets but Missouri is my new home.

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