The Competition of a Lifetime

Syd Curtin, Staff Reporter

Competition. 

No, not the competition like that in a sports tournament or family game night, rather, what seems to be the driving force behind students in  school.                         

This might seem a bit far-fetched, but rest assured that it isn’t. The competition within schools and between students is incredibly significant, especially in the midst of college application submissions and acceptance letters on the way.                                                              

“It’s so stressful because I just want to get into the school I’ve been thinking about since I was a kid. Doing well and beating out the other students so that I can be successful is what drives me in school at this point,” said Katie Beck, an Orchard Park senior. 

Let’s face it. Competition is a driving force in the world and throughout life. If there was no competition in school, then students would be hit with quite the reality check once they got to adulthood. Although competition has a place within the school system, it can’t be the only thing driving students. 

“I work so hard to prove to teachers and colleges that I’m good enough. I don’t spend hours on my homework because I enjoy it. I do it because I want to keep my rank in the top twenty,” said Orchard Park senior Amelia Slusarz when asked what drives her efforts towards school. 

Shouldn’t school be a place where students learn and feel stimulated by their classes? This clearly isn’t how it is. Instead, students are overwhelmed by the idea that they need to compete with one another in order to be successful. Competition has taken over and if you ask any high schooler, it’s doubtful they’d say they still enjoyed learning. 

“Students have been trained to believe that they need to be the best of the best to succeed, and this idea creates a toxic learning environment. I’ve seen how it affects my own children, and I’d imagine other parents would be able to see it, too,” said Rachel Curtin, mother of three. 

School truly has become a competition. However, it’s one that most kids don’t want to be a part of despite the major impact it has on their lives. 

“I know what happens at school in the next few years will decide a big portion of my life, and it’s scary. I feel like I have to be better than everyone else, especially because the programs I want to be in at college are competitive,” said senior Shelby Provorse when asked about her current feelings towards school. 

It’s obvious that the way students feel about school isn’t how it should be. School is supposed to be an immersive and enjoyable experience for children, but right now it’s more of a nightmare. Competitive programs and rankings make school and the learning environment a difficult one for students. It’s important that the pressure become less intense so that students feel excited about what their future holds, rather than finding that thought unbearable. 

“If kids are only focused on the pressure and competition, then they’re not even learning at all anymore. Once the love to learn is gone, school’s not doing anything for a kid” said Chrissy Egloff, a teacher at Frontier Middle School.