Wednesday. It’s the middle of the week. However, this day has become one of my favorite days because we have early release, I know a whole hour earlier, but hey it’s still an hour. Also, I love Wednesday’s because I get to watch Modern Family.
Modern Family is one of the best tv shows currently on television. Each episode has a theme mixed in with hilarious one liners and moments. On Jan. 15th’s episode, Under Pressure, focused one of it’s stories on Alex, a junior in high school. Alex would be describe as the intelligent, middle child daughter of the Dunphy family. In the episode, it starts off with Alex’s birthday celebration and her having an outburst do to the fact the celebration is wasting her time when she could actually be studying for the SAT. Later, Alex goes to a therapist and talks about how society puts so much pressure on her to do well in school.
Pressure, everyone faces it every single day. For me personally, I can relate to Alex. I know what it is like to take AP classes while juggling the SAT and numerous activities. Society forces pressure onto students.
“When you start overachieving, people expect things from you… You know, the world, teachers, parents, other kids… it’s not all internal. Don’t get me wrong, I like the way I’m wired. It’s what’s going to get me into a good school. It’s what makes me who I am,” Alex Dunphy
Parents expect you to do well so that you will go to four year university. Your parents want to see their child succeed. Students fear what their parents will think if they get a grade that’s not A or not going to the best four year university.
Teachers expect greatness from you if you are taking an AP class. Teachers who teach AP classes expect more from their students. They push them. However, students can drown in work and spend too much time on an assignment that in the long run, won’t help them.
Colleges want the “perfect” student. They want someone well rounded. Students who completed rigorous courses, maintained a high GPA, a high SAT score, volunteer hours, and leadership. Not only do students have to worry about taking difficult classes, but they have to receive a good grade. Also, they have to perform well on a standardized test. In their free time, they have to volunteer and they have to show leadership in their community. All these pieces of the pie can make a student want to pull their hair out.
Classmates surrounding them put unnecessary pressure to do well and the student tries to impress their classmates. No one wants to be the “dumb” student in the AP class. If we take step back, we can look at class rank. There are students who are competing to be valedictorian. Students are forced with extra pressure to do well and be valedictorian, while competing against other students. In the end, it’s not worth it.
Students who aren’t in these AP classes still put pressure on the others. Not necessarily pressure, but people definitely value the opinions of others. An average high school student, might deem the student who takes challenging courses as a “nerd”, believing all the “nerd” does is study. In reality, the “nerd” does study, but that’s not all they do. If we look at PPA, we have students who are Varsity athletes, first chair orchestra members, actors who shine on the stage, people who participate in four or more clubs, or even me in journalism.
Stereotypes are unnecessary. Yet, they are everywhere. Quoting The Breakfast Club, “You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.” We label everyone. However, we are all alike. We spend too much time judging someone without even getting to know that person. We make assumptions. Even though we don’t even think anything about it, we still do it. If we label everyone in high school, all we are doing is adding more pressure on them.
Everyone wants to live up to societies standards. Even though we don’t think about it we live by our label. Anytime we could rewrite our definition of ourselves, but we never change. We stay who we are. We let people see us as “the nerd”, “the jock”, “the prom queen”, etc. Deep down inside, we aren’t just that label. Everyone has so much to offer, yet everyone gets tangled up in a label. Why? Pressure. In high school, it’s peer pressure. There is no easy solution to alleviate the pressure. It is a true mystery to society.