Calling All Overachievers

  We were all created with unique passions, and our individual interests are part of what make us different from each other. As Dan Parris from Speak Up Productions said in chapel on January 27, we must find “what breaks our hearts and what makes us come alive.”

     Every year, there seems to be more and more pressure placed on high school students to achieve more than the class before them, to take more AP classes, to be involved in more extracurriculars, to have more volunteer experience, and so on. Additional summer classes will be offered to help students get even more ahead, and getting into college seems like the ultimate goal. Students across the country, and even across the world, do all of this because we know that we have to play the game.

     This is good to an extent. It is important to strive for excellence in the things that you pursue, but the question we must ask ourselves is this: Do we have to pursue it all? Being a well-rounded individual is one thing, but being an expert in every field is unrealistic. Maybe it worked in elementary school and even in middle school, but as students get older, their strengths and weaknesses become more apparent. Their passions become more defined instead of simply being a vague blur of talent.

     As some progress to the next year of high school, and others go on to college, we must remember to hold onto our passions despite the increasing pressure to “overachieve.” We were not built to be machines nor were we built to endure four years of transcript-building. Take AP classes because the subject matter genuinely interests you, not just because you want to boost your GPA. Let a passion for learning be the driving force behind your work, and good grades will be a byproduct of that. Find a college that suits you instead of just seeking the prestige of a big-name school. Volunteer with the heart of a servant, not with your college application in mind.

     When overachieving becomes an identity, we lose sight of the bigger picture. Yes, we all have to play the game to get into college, and for some of us that seems like our only goal right now. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be genuine in all that we do.