Academic competition stifles students’ classroom potential

By Michael Mandeville ’11

Just about every year I hear the same banter over and over again, usually from the same set of individuals.

Students boasting grades, test scores, etc., it all becomes the same after a while.
I know you are in six advanced placement classes, Mr. I-want-everyone-to-know-I-am-smarter-than-you.

Luckily enough this implied competition could be a lot worse, but it’s still relatively unavoidable year to year.

What I ask you to do (you know who you are) is to stop flexing your academic muscles, it’s pointless.

Let’s take a look at the day the SAT scores were released.

Throughout the day I was asked maybe eight or nine times about my scores, thus having to explain I didn’t take the test.

The point here is that it doesn’t matter what I get on a test, the only reason anyone would really care (I am going to doubt many students consider my academic well-being one their main concerns) is to know whether or not they are better than me.

First, higher test scores aren’t going to make you a better person.

Second, do you not find it somewhat problematic that you are looking for self-assurance at the door step of other’s potentially less impressive scores?

It is unnecessary in the first place, quite annoying and unhealthy for a positive classroom environment.

Also, if students are more concerned about their performance in school and other academic venues, they naturally lose sight of the purpose of the classroom: learning.

Becoming consumed by grades in relation to your fellow students will cause anyone to find motivation in the wrong places.

Sure grades are an essential part of what gets you into a good college, but students should find inspiration in the quest for knowledge.