For years students have spent their time in college gettinginvolved in activities and also fighting for leadership positionswith the hope to enhance their credentials and increase theiremployment opportunities.
The battle to keep straight-A’s has been ongoing because it isbelieved that what appears on your transcripts matters more thanthe content of one’s character and one’s ability to performwhatever task is presented.
Our stress levels are on a constant rise because we workrelentlessly attempting to build our resumes; we are trying to makeourselves marketable to future employers. We constantly injectourselves with different academic toxins with the hope to land thetop post-college job.
This is not to argue that working hard to keep yourselfdesirable is not important, but it is to say that students putthemselves under a great deal of unnecessary stress by getting tooinvolved, thereby losing a sense of balance and control.
Harry R. Lewis, former dean of Harvard College, wrote a widelycirculated letter to Harvard undergraduates urging them to slowdown.
“You may balance your life better if you participate in someactivities purely for fun, rather than to achieve a leadership rolethat you hope might be a distinctive credential for postgraduateemployment,” he said.
With graduation just around the corner, you will notice thatsome graduating seniors will plunge into different kinds of moodswings. Some will experience doubt and despondency due to ambiguityabout what life after college has to offer.
Some feel miserable because they feel they aren’t good enough.It’s been preached that mediocrity is unacceptable in this societyand so they feel that they don’t measure up.
There is just too much hype placed on the belief that studentsshould over-indulge themselves in academic and extracurricularactivities that there is very little time spent on themselves,which leads to all the confusions named above.
Just in this semester alone, a few students dropped out. I don’tblame them. The pressure builds up and forces one to resort tomeasures one wouldn’t otherwise consider.
“It is a conundrum,” said William Fitzsimmons, dean ofadmissions and financial aid at Harvard. “In a way we can be viewedas hypocritical ourselves. I think in a way we’re trying to behelpful. Not just life in high school, life in college—all oflife presents a set of tradeoffs.”
This kind of hyperactivity is being instilled in us every singleday and now all of a sudden we are expected to slow down.
New York Times reporter Sara Rimer says, “It is not easy to slowdown when you’ve been programmed and scheduled since elementaryschool. And then you get to high school, and all you hear about ishow hard you have to work to get into a prestigious college (notgoing to a prestigious college is somehow not an option).” Perhapsthe idea of slowing down isn’t so bad after all. Maybe it is abouttime that we kept a steady pace and set not only enviable goals forourselves, but also attainable. Getting involved in campusactivities is a good thing but there should be room for balance andcontrol.