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Too Much Pressure

As I sit in my classes, I cannot help but notice how flawed today’s schooling system is. There is not one class where I do not look around and see students, even supposedly “hard working students”, confessing their devious methods of cheating, and the A they got in result. They are not bad kids, but simply victims of the pressure the future holds. Coming into high school as a young freshman, I began to scheme and figure out clever ways to make my work easier; it wasn’t until I began talking to my cousin and learning from his first-hand experiences at UC Davis that I changed my ways in the classroom. At first, his advice did not resonate with me; in fact, I ignored it. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes that I first observed the illusion in which so many students are lost in.

We live in a society driven by results. Employees need to perform because bosses want to see success and profit. Education and schools operate in similar ways: students study because colleges need to see strong grades.

As a result of our culture, we use a similar results-based system to see if we have correctly employed ideas, techniques, and knowledge. A report card showing “A”s and “B”s show successful learning and efficient study habits. But how did we earn those grades? This question, unfortunately, is disregarded by employers and college admission officers in our country.

All the time, results are the benchmark against which all is judged, while processes go disregarded: no one cares how the “A” was reached, but simply that it was earned. To most students, a good grade may show strenuous effort, but its most often resulted from cheating. The problem is not that we use results as evaluation, but the magnitude that we give them.

These pitfalls all arise to begin with due to one’s concern, or attachment, with results. Only when the big picture is considered can one clearly understand the lost wisdom that must resurface: once the foundation and aim of the processes are true, the results inevitably take care of themselves.

The most common thing I witness everyday at school is that most people act out of fear: fear of bad grades, fear of their future, and especially fear of what others will think. These all create that pressure which drives students to the results-based system.

When viewed objectively, it is clear that student’s work loses its substance and value when the results are the only thing in mind. I see students desperately searching for answers to questions that contain no meaning to them; I hear students talking about grades, but never the subject or material; I realize that everybody seems to care most about the next even and what the future holds, rather than living and acting in the present.

While eliminating this social problem may never happen, I have found that it is far greater to transcend it.

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