Students Experience Too Much Pressure

Hannah Stenovec and Sommar Veverk , Staff Writers

Miramonte students are notorious for being competitive about grades, but it can be taken too far. Due to the highly competitive environment at Miramonte, academics are the most important thing. Students often eclipse all other aspects of the high school experience by focusing soley on their school work.

“You get one bad grade and you feel dead,” freshman Dekkers Barr said.

The standards are set rather high, and kids are going on auto-pilot and growing up too quickly, often causing them to miss out on living in the moment.

“I really think that so many students are just into [academics] just for a grade,” Computer  Science  teacher Cindy Boyko said.

Students get so wrapped up in academics that they occasionally neglect their other day-to-day duties and their social lives, which may sound trivial, but it can effect people in the long run.

“The reason we have academic tension between people is because there aren’t a lot of other things that we have to worry about due to our environment here in Orinda,” senior Kacey Sorenson said.

The safety and security of the Orinda community enables students to lock out all other outlets that otherwise – had they not been focused solely on academics – could be contributing to their experiences and personal growth as an individual.

Some may regret solely focusing on school and not balancing their lives with other activities.

“This girl in my class got a 92 on a test, and she almost started crying,” Barr said.

It’s sad that a low A doesn’t seem good enough to Miramonte students. In class, many students shy away from raising their hands, especially in advanced classes, where the environment is more intense due to the prevalence of gifted students. In class there are often single students who know every answer and are eager to share – consequently stealing the spotlight from the other students.   This can intimidate less confident students and hinder their class participation.

“Orinda is good, because we’re safe, but [academic pressure] also has emotional consequences on people that can harm how you feel about sharing in class,” Sorenson said.

This experience is not unusual in the Miramonte community.

“It’s kind of sad that [school] is the priority of conversation as opposed to ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ or ‘I hope our football team wins’ or something like that,” Econ/Government and World History teacher Nader Jazayeri said.

The negative atmosphere created by never feeling like you’re good enough due to academic competition is all too prevalent today.  We need to learn that a GPA doesn’t reflect who you really are.  This extra stress and this loss of self worth causes an emotional overload.

Lots of people have traveled and “experienced the world,” but what was their true intention?  Is it just another activity to put on their resume?   It is sad that people are only motivated by the prospect of  a well rounded resume as opposed to personal interest.

“Here everyone does everything the same, and when people aren’t getting the same grades and doing the same thing as everyone else, they’re criticized,” Boyko said, “I think it becomes too defining of what people are.”