I’d like to think that everyone is born with a clear head. A blank canvas per say. Nothing to hate, nothing to particularly love. It is our experiences that shape our minds and sculpt us into the people that we are today. With this thought, comes learning.
Most kids, at some point of their lives, love school. We are curious beings at heart, and the ability to learn new information is exciting for most children. But when does that exactly change? When do we stop being the little kids who never stop asking questions, into the teenagers who can barely manage to pull themselves out of bed in order to get to class, to college students that pop Adderall like Tic Tacs wishing they were somewhere else. There is a change that happens, and whether it’s through society’s influence or not, it's slowly destroying our spark.
As I see it, everything grows, we inflate. People make more money, so items cost more. City’s populations expand, thus the requirements to fulfill the jobs become tougher. Colleges become more selective, consequently, the requirements needed for acceptance become more intense. And this is good. What is the world without the progressions that come with it? I have no problem with this, as it’s human nature to want to become better.
But, it leads me to wonder... when is enough enough?
Colleges no longer care about just your grades. They want you to be the perfect well-rounded student. To not only be smart but also athletic and be involved in clubs. They want you to have a job, to volunteer often, and if possible, have a social life. Because it’s important to not only be smart; a person needs to communicate well with others. And I 100% agree with them wanting this.
But you start to smother the kid behind these requirements.
We no longer can focus on finding ourselves, because we are so buried beneath all the things we are supposed to be. It creates unhappy children that start basing their self-worth on the grades they receive and the colleges and jobs that accept them. We become a piece of paper with bullet points shaping our bones, answers determining our smiles. I’m not saying that grades and extracurriculars are not important, but there needs to be a point when enough is enough.
We all can’t be number one, and if you teach kids that they have to be this person, as they grow you’re going to have a lot of adults sitting at number two wondering where they went wrong. This pressure adds to the alarming raising rates of depression and suicides that you see in today’s society.
As I was sitting in my psychology class a couple days ago, the professor made an offhand comment about how the department was hiring more on-campus therapists due to growing demand. I understand that college is stressful and that it's important to have people guide you and help sort through your emotions, but when you have to start hiring more therapists because of the overwhelming amount of students needing help, a person has to wonder if there is a problem.
When I was in high school I counted the time. I would have a schedule so detailed that I probably could tell you the exact minutes I was able to sleep. I was so focused on all the things I needed to do and accomplish in that day, I was no longer really enjoying my day. We have our whole lives to accomplish our goals. To try to do it all at once is unreasonable.
Growing up is tough. That is a given. But the one thing that should be guaranteed to each child, every child, is at some point in their adolescent lives, they have the ability to not think, just do. If you take that away from a kid, you take away their imagination and spark. And, all you’ll have left is a bunch of juveniles who never really had the opportunity to live in the lives that were given to them.
So my advice (wanted or not) is to clear the traps and break the boxes that refuse to allow them to grow. Look beyond all the things we are supposed to be and focus on who we want to be. We all can’t be number 1. That’s for sure. But what society fails to mention is that number 2 and 3 are pretty cool as well. I think it’s important for children to know that it’s not exactly their grades that define them, but the type of people they are and the stuff they do to achieve these grades that matter.
So before you submit your next application, just know that, yeah, you might not receive the acceptance letter to what others perceive as the best school or a job offer to a prestigious company, but just because a person beat you out on it, doesn’t mean that you can’t flourish at something else. The world offers so many possibilities. Such a great amount, that trying to be the best at all, just seems a little silly.