The Consequences of Competition

Picture taken by Samantha Nyazema, Taken on September 6, 2021, All rights reserved

Picture taken by Samantha Nyazema, Taken on September 6, 2021, All rights reserved

Everyone knows that Lambert is an extremely talented school. We excel in the three A’s: Athletics, Arts and Academics.

Lambert is inarguably competitive with academics, a category all students can relate to. I am not against competition, but I hate the stress that comes with it. 

The positive motivator of competition has toxicity embedded within it; people are always unnecessarily comparing themselves. In my opinion, one thing we can do as Lambert students is to think before we ask the question “What’d you get on the test?”

This question can make someone work harder or want to get help sessions with a friend. Mainly though, this question causes unneeded stress and contributes to the toxic academic atmosphere.

“It is common that if someone gets a lower grade than you, or does just as well as you, you feel happy,” Junior Anusha Yeduvaka stated. “That question is this weird pleasure thing…it boosts or bruises egos. The comparison makes going into class after test day overwhelming.”

I recently sat down with another Lambert student to further discuss our school setting. They were reluctant to reveal their identity because they wanted to be completely honest.

When I asked my anonymous source why they wanted to get good grades, in a candid tone they explained, 

“Part of it is academic validation, parental validation…and honestly feeling fulfilled.”

Then with wide eyes and a fiery passion, they sternly stated, 

“When you go to Lambert there is just so much around you…academics…academics,” they repeated. “You have to get good grades.”

 It was almost as if they were recalling an anecdote that was ingrained in their brain. I noticed that oddly, this anecdote lacked the recipe for the result; hard work and effort were not discussed. 

As we continued the interview, their stiff demeanor changed to a relaxed one. They confessed that people will do anything to get good grades including cheating. 

My anonymous source even went on to say that without cheating,

 “Half of the honors students would be gone…it’s just the truth,” they concluded.

Whether true or not, I believe that some students taint this exceptional school by creating an environment for the virus of societal pressures to fester. 

Ultimately it’s not solely the students’ fault for this toxicity; they are simply preparing for the real world. Students are influenced by siblings, parents, home life and especially colleges.

You seldom hear, “I can’t wait to help people.” Instead, students ask, “How many hours can I get?” or “Will this look good on my application?” That is our environment. 

It is unfortunate and frustrating, but at the same time, students are forced to have that thought process, because the toxicity pushes students to be their absolute best. In some way, it is a blessing and a curse.

Competition evidently needs some comparison, but here at Lambert with the high level of competition, the comparison is terribly unbearable for the majority of the student body.