Lambert Society: Do Higher Standards Mean Higher Satisfaction?

It is no question that Lambert has a reputation as being a very rigorous and competitive academic environment. It is reasonable to say that this competition comes from its students setting high standards for themselves or feeling compelled to due to influences from parents or friends. Now, this is in no way a bad thing since many of the world’s leaders must’ve set their minds to achieving the best as well. However, this raises the question of whether or not this mindset can be applied to everyone with consistent success. We all know that no two people are the same and that we all come with differing interests, goals, and upbringings. And while Lambert, fortunately, has the luxury of offering so many various courses, sports, and extracurricular opportunities to fit everyone’s preferences, I have found that there is an underlying influence in all those who vie for the top. We, as a student body, have a self instilled obligation to conform to a singular academic vision and excel at it. I believe this can be unhealthy and potentially dangerous to the mental and physical well-being of Lambert’s students and their future.

When examining the trends of Lambert in the past, its academic achievements speak for themselves. We have a graduation rate that is always over 90%, and we have countless plaques lining the walls of the school dedicated to those who made a five on their AP exams. We are all pretty prideful when it comes to this, and rightfully so. In an age where the boundaries of knowledge keep innovating themselves, being a part of a school that can set the bar gives its students a huge chance at success. Our standard for excellence can also go beyond pure academics, as Lambert shows its strength in other fields like athletics and the arts. Playing on the varsity basketball team or performing in a hit play can bring numerous opportunities as well. To top it all off, the sheer amount of clubs in Lambert almost guarantees that no one will ever feel left out. Nearly every kind of niche interest or skill is offered, whether it be through volunteering activities or simple get-togethers after school. Therefore, on paper, all the things listed should make Lambert be the frontrunner of bringing up the best high school lifestyle. Here is where it becomes a problem.

Even with all the variety, I couldn’t help but notice how most of us tend to conform to a singular mindset. With almost every discussion my friends or other people’s friends make, the conversation turns to whether or not they have taken enough AP courses, maintained their GPA, or what their SAT score has been like. Chances are, they will say something about how stressed they are or how frustrated they are with specific teachers or courses. Most of the students I have observed do very well academically, and yet, most of them feel like they haven’t done well enough or that they have failed their futures. It is evident that nowadays, there is a collective curriculum that most students put together: take as many APs as possible, do whatever is necessary to get the highest score, and plan out the best classes and teachers beforehand (even if you’re not interested in the subject). There is probably more to this self-made curriculum, but this still makes me wonder if living out this mindset for all four years of high school will be for the best. At some point, this stops being a healthy competition for success and instead becomes a bitter, never-ending burden of always trying to be better than the other guy. 

All I can say is that, as high schoolers, we owe it to ourselves to study hard. I hope that we can choose to avoid this know-all, be-all mentality that will most certainly wear down one’s mental and physical well-being. We have all heard the stories or teens attempting to commit or committing suicide when they didn’t do well on their finals or didn’t get into the college they wanted. I know that it’s most likely never going to go as far as that, but dangers are still present. The social influences that make up our mental outlook on the world around us have been proven to affect our behaviorisms and personality profoundly. With our brains still being relatively young, it’s not a far cry to see changes as minor as dark circles from those sleepless study nights to be as significant as falling into severe depression or getting chronic anxiety.