As we students have progressed through the education system, we are bombarded with the importance of exam scores and grades. Schools stress over and over again the importance of making and maintaining sufficient grades in order to build towards the perfect career. In trying to make the perfect scores and land the ideal job, many students forget to live and to take time to smell the roses.
With such a large amount of pressure on students to succeed, stress levels are rising at high rates. According to Sharon Jayson of USA Today, more than 27 percent of teens say they experience extreme stress during the school year. Suicide rates are beginning to rise as well. While I do believe it is vital to receive an education to function in any society, I also believe that education should not be putting this much stress and pressure on students. I once saw a spoken word titled “I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate”. In the poem, artist Suli Breaks discusses the pressure of grades and provokes his audience to question the exam system. Should a number reflect how we are as a person? Should a number determine our success?
As students are beginning to merely aim for numbers and careers, they are taking less time to truly be themselves and to learn.
“Unfortunately, people then miss out on the things they enjoy and what they are passionate about,” said senior communication major Bianca Nache’t. “It’s almost as if those ‘living life’ and not engulfing themselves in school are frowned upon.”
The education system seems to take away students’ identities. In Pink Floyd’s music video for “Another Brick in the Wall”, faceless students sit motionless in chairs riding a conveyor belt towards what appears to be a meat processor. The meat processor, or education, pulverizes them to be identical. The metaphor for education is still relevant today.
“In order to live life, you have to have money to be able to do so,” said freshman communication major Breonne Williams. “So people often think you have to have a career to make money and then live life.” Of course, this is true. Money is necessary in order to live and support families. However, we are so concentrated on earning money in the perfect career that we are becoming the walking dead.
I am not saying that grades are unimportant, but I am saying that we need to remember to enjoy and cherish life. Enjoy the little things we may take for granted. In between worrying about exams and your path after graduation, try to take some time to breath. As the beloved Robin Williams once said, “Carpe diem, lads. Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!”