Pain is temporary, GPA is forever

Competitive high school atmospheres put grades before learning, mental health

Maddy Kang, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With finals week coming to an end, I’d like to emphasize an issue that is apparent in many schools, especially our own. Don’t get me wrong, I love Blue Valley. I love the community, I love the family feeling, I love how different organizations, clubs and activities support each other.

What I’m not a fan of, however, is the fact that students put more emphasis on their letter grades than actually learning content and concepts. Constantly being asked, “What did you get?”, “How many AP and honors classes are you taking next year?” and “What’s your grade in this class” can get exhausting.

These questions lead us to compare our own academic successes and failures to one another. These comparisons can put quite a burden on one’s self-esteem. Competition arises and sometimes it can become unhealthy just trying to prove to yourself, your peers and your teachers that you are a good student.

Many of us put on this façade that we are coping just fine, but are breaking on the inside. Constantly putting hours into homework and studying while trying to balance extra-curriculars, family and social life becomes draining. Sometimes, when some of us can’t catch a break, we feel anxiety or depression entering our lives. We didn’t plan for this to happen, it kind of just did.

It’s not anyone else’s fault but ourselves. We signed up for this. We are the ones that compare ourselves to one another. We are the ones responsible for our health and happiness. 

In the end, though, the only thing we actually have is us. We need to encourage each other to actually apply ourselves to our classes and to make sure we have balance in our lives. We need to truly learn rather than doing activities just for the grade. And most of all, we need to be there for each other as a confidant for our mental health. No one should have to sacrifice their well-being for a grade.