Many students my age have been frequently told that we have nothing to worry about. Teachers, parents, coaches, or whoever tell us that we are just kids. We supposedly have it easy. We do not have mortgages to pay, or a nine to five job. We get summers off, we go to football games, we sometimes cause a little trouble, and we have fun doing it. The only thing we have to focus on is being young and wild and free. (Or at least that’s how the song goes.) We should have nothing to stress over, right? Wrong.
Let’s start with grades. It is no secret that career opportunities are not currently running rampant through the streets of the US. In the “good old days,” you only needed a degree to land a reasonable paying job, but now graduates are having a tougher and tougher time finding a job. Now, in order to land our dream career, we not only need to have a college degree, but this degree has to be from a top notch university if we want to compete with all the other job-hungry graduates out there. This naturally leads to the question of how do we get into these remarkable academic schools? By having a distinguished transcript, of course. For that reason, most high school students push themselves to get good grades so they can make it into one of these prestigious colleges.
It would be manageable if the only thing we needed to stress over were grades, but they are no longer enough in the era of the “well rounded student.” You may ask, “What is a well rounded student?” It is commonly defined as a high schooler who in addition to having exemplary grades plays at least two different sports, is probably captain of one of those sports, holds an office position in student council, stars in the school play, twirls the flags in the marching band’s color guard, and spends all of his or her spare time volunteering at the nearby homeless shelter. While high school students do not need to pay a mortgage or go to a nine to five job, they do have to try to schedule time between soccer practices and play rehearsals to finish their homework. Homework is important because if it is not completed correctly it could deflate your grade in that class. If you do poorly on the homework and subsequently your classes, then you will not have a well paying job to support your future family. And then all of the hours spent cooking soup for the homeless while writing your speech for class treasurer and twirling flags until your fingers were numb were a total waste because your dream school cannot get by those grades.