Overachieving syndrome in the culture of Varsity Blues

Ashleigh Tain, Editor-in-Chief

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

The recent USC College Scandal has been bouncing off of every news headline and online publication in the emerging conversation of elitist privilege and the perceptions of education and success. It is within these narratives that a linear train of thought elucidates, one that is adopted by parents who seek optimal success for their children. It is perceived that through diligent and hard work, a student can garner a college acceptance of prestige that will later help them achieve a materialistic advantage in a workforce of high income and financial success. Subsequently, this standard is pressed on students to embark on that track through rigorously working and building that work ethic that is promised to direct happiness and success.

What is viewed as a linear pathway of simple cause and effect has been creating a plight on students who are forced to mold their beings and create such a reality that measures up to these expectations. This means a consistent and perfect pursuit of academic success, clean statistical accomplishments that exceed the average and the above average, and the mold of an immaculate being who can seemingly balance it all while constantly doing and being more.

The adoption of this work ethic prevalently requires the efforts of parents who step in to be the pushing force on their children. What is the value, however, of this skill if it is inauthentically reinforced and how can it exist without that force?

This is a clear epidemic that not only perpetuates a feeling of incompetence and a routine of exhaustive work to counter that reputation, but it also deters the intrinsic value in students. Parents callously demand more of their children, failing to realize that by doing so, they are telling their children that they are not enough and must hyperextend themselves to achieve that standard. Further, parents similar to those involved in the recent college scandals are acting similarly. Every bribe and illegal transaction is ultimately giving up on their children in the prospect that money is their only salvaging stride towards success.

What essentially this all boils down to is the regard that college is held to. The quality of a degree and education isn’t solely predicated on the name and street value of a university. What matters is the experience made of education and fulfillment derived from that experience.