Opinion: Toxic competitiveness surrounding academics


Emma Parada

Students working hard to get rank up

Emma Parada, Opinion Editor

Academic validation is a growing concept among young minds. This creates a need to be better than their peers, which leads to toxic competitiveness surrounding academics. With college and student ranks, the tension among students has drastically increased. It starts with jealousy over grades in elementary school, and grows into tense competition in high school. Schools should help students realize that their peers are simply fellow students, not competitors. In creating a healthy environment,  students can realize that not everyone is their enemy, and it would help with stress made by the craving for academic validation.

The pressure of being top of the class or getting a better grade than everyone in a student’s class creates a toxic school environment by constantly wanting to push down others for their own personal gain. Instead of schools turning a blind eye to this, they should encourage students to make study groups and work together. Have review games where students team up and work together to get a good grade as a collective. No students should feel as though they’re worse than others because of one grade on a quiz.

Reassurance is important to growing adults and having to constantly be compared to everyone else their age, makes that reassurance a necessity. Students having to be paranoid on whether or not their friends got better grades is pointless, at the end of the day almost everyone in that student’s class is going to graduate. But schools should make resources for students to go to so they won’t feel like everyone is against them.

With the stress of school, getting good grades, taking advanced classes, extracurriculars, and volunteer work, students don’t have a chance to take time for themselves and really have a break from the stress filled concept of school. Instead of encouraging students to do as much as they can for school, they should encourage them to take some time to cool off and maybe even give them a break in school.

Some might argue that a little competition is healthy in school, which is correct to an extent but it comes to the point where it’s overwhelming and becomes too much for an adolescent’s mind. Healthy competition is supposed to be surface level but with students who rely on academic validation it goes much deeper than that.

Schools don’t need to become soft for the sake of their students’ mental health but they at least need to acknowledge that this competitiveness isn’t helping the children that go to their schools. Students who feel pressured to do better than their peers should make it known that maybe working so hard isn’t the healthiest thing to do. Schools should be aware of the toxic environment that is surrounding their student’s education and help the growing generations in creating a more healthy community within schools.