The pressure to be the best in today’s society

It’s important to understand how society has shaped our minds

I’d like to think that everyone’s born with a clear head. A blank canvas per se. Nothing to hate nothing to particularly love. It’s our experiences that shape our minds and sculpt us into the people that we are today. With this thought comes learning. Most kids at a 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 that never stop asking questions into the teenagers that can barely manage to pull their selves out of bed to get to class to college students that pop Adderall like tick tacks wishing we 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 and the requirements to get accepted 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 its human nature to want to become better. But, it leads me to wonder when is 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 to be involved in clubs. They want you to have a job, to volunteer often and if possible they also want you to have a social life. Because it’s important to not only be smart. You need to also be able 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 get 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 extra circulars 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 2 wondering where they went wrong. It adds to the alarming rising 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 they were hiring more on-campus therapist because off the backup. I understand that college is stressful and that its 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 about of students needing help. You have to wonder if there is a problem. 

When I was in high school I used to count the time. I would have a schedule so detailed that I probably could tell you the exact minutes that I was able to sleep.  I was so focused on all the things I needed to do and accomplish in that day that I was no longer really enjoying my day.  We have our whole lives to accomplish these things. 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, 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. All you’ll have left is a bunch of kids who never really lived 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 just focus on who we want to be.  We all can’t be number one. That for sure. But what society fails to mention is that number 2 and 3, they are also pretty cool numbers. 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 things that they do to achieve these grades that matter. So, before you submit your next application just know that yeah you might not get the spot, 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.

A Ted Talk about school and creativity by Sir Ken Robinson

Until next time,

Kenz