Students’ grade obsession dismissed as the new norm

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Freshman year, students are bombarded with lists of dozens of clubs and introduced to Naviance, your new college mentor. Sophomore year, students are pressured into AP classes and rival peers for leadership positions. Junior year, students are slapped in the face with the SAT and seek out recommendations like bloodhounds on the field. Senior year, students are engulfed in nightmares about college rejections and develop the infamous disease: Senioritis.

At this point in the track from high school to college education, it’s virtually impossible to adopt the mindset that grades don’t determine your future.

We live in a world that measures success by numbers. The higher you score, the more relevant you seem. The higher your position, the more important you appear. Tell me the last time you heard, “Wow, you’re so kind, you’re going places.”

Because the reality is that the majority of parents don’t brag about how kind or caring their child is. So when stellar academic success is incentivized for widespread approval, students learn quickly that they’ll do whatever they have to, to get the grade.

US Represented found that “all too many adults seem to be oblivious to the issue of mental health in schools, especially in regard to grade obsession. A quick web search of “problems with the American education system” brings back pages upon pages of articles dealing with low test scores and high dropout rates.”

Parents, teachers and politicians all decry the failures of teens to stay in school. What isn’t considered is the fact that maybe the failure is in the school system, as well as in society.

Our eyes are drawn towards those lucky few who receive Ivy acceptance letters. We epitomize them and then hold ourselves to even higher standards. With each congratulations directed towards a student who nearly had a mental breakdown studying for their seventh AP test, we stray further from a society that truly accepts everyone

If the system doesn’t change, the students won’t. Parents, teachers, and administrators cannot expect their students to change when the thought of college is looming on the horizon. The number one fear in students’ hearts is if they take classes that they desire without the guarantee of an A. Only when there’s a fundamental change in the system that allows for the freedom of failure and the liberty of independent thinking, can our students be relieved of the pressures of grades.