I use Purpose to Fight School and Peer Pressure

“The academic environment is toxic”

By Hannah

Even though the school I attend is great in so many aspects, the truth is, the academic environment itself is toxic and full of competition. Competitiveness appears to be an intrinsic quality in almost every student here; everyone is over packing his or her schedule with loads of extracurriculars despite the already existent pressure from school. To be truthful, there is an inner side of me that wants to juggle as many extracurriculars as possible while keeping up with my homework. At times, I fail to do that. But when my peers ask how I am doing, I try to maintain a semblance of calm. How can I expose my desperateness when everyone else is overachieving without fail? I often reprove myself for asking that question because I know I have the right to vent and display my emotions, but it still crosses my mind.

Sometimes the amount of pressure I receive from my peers and the school environment is too much; as a result, I constantly worry about whether I am taking the appropriate amount of AP classes and doing the right extracurriculars. Of course, I do take some time to relax and watch a few Youtube videos. Yet at the end of my leisure time, I begin questioning myself again. How can I waste so much time relaxing when others are most likely studying at this moment? How can I relax when I know my peers are obtaining several internships at Stanford? There is an abundance of these questions constantly spinning in my mind. And at the end of the day, what is everyone’s ultimate goal? The ticket to a phenomenal college.

Personally, I am lucky enough to have parents that are supportive and not pushy. They often tell me to do my best without comparing me to others. I do try to follow their valuable advice; however, it’s inevitable to compare myself to others in my school. But after experiencing two years of high school, I’ve made many friends that are actually doing extracurriculars regarding the subjects they love. Certainly, those extracurriculars are the icing on the cake for college applications; yet my friends appear to care less about that and more about what they are contributing to society. Through my friends’ guidance and support, I am starting to become immune to certain pressures and expectations. I have learned to take more of the classes I am interested in rather than merely taking classes for the AP title. I have also started to look into other colleges rather than the ones that are uniquely displayed on the Forbes Top 50 list. I am beginning to learn more about myself while slowly shoving those expectations and pressures aside, and in the end that matters much more to me than comparing myself to my “competition”.

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