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  • Diana

Ivy League or Bust

Out of 450 students in my high school graduating class, I ranked 22nd with a 99.9 GPA. Fast forward seven years and just imagine what the GPA might look like for valedictorians in 2021. Students experience an immense amount of pressure from school and that isn't changing anytime soon. I constantly hear teens say that they HAVE to take all IB/AP classes because they HAVE to attend an Ivy League University. Although I applaud that goal, the expectation can be concerning.

I recently watched Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal and to be honest, there's a problem. The Netflix Documentary exposes wealthy adults who essentially bought their child's admission into a prestige school. As a society, we are obsessed with status and categorizing everything. The education system has contributed to our obsession of status by creating a small acceptance rate and partaking in the media's annual college ranking system. When it seems like your future and identity is at the center of the universe, teens may do anything to add Harvard to their resume.

I can count on one hand the number of school sporting events I watched in high school. And that is my biggest regret; falling victim to what our education system created. I was focused on obtaining good grades and doing anything to help my future, but my viewpoint was skewed. I was well rounded but I failed to find a niche that would help my brand and I was overworked. Time is precious and I wish I spent more time living in the moment, rather than living my life for school.

Stop putting pressure on your child or yourself if you're sacrificing the beauty of life. Be well rounded so you can have good grades, play a sport, learn an instrument, get a job and enjoy the little things. If you can find your passion, your brand and the work you do will flourish. I can guarantee that your self assurance and dynamic abilities will look better on a resume than a lonesome 99.9 GPA. And, it's okay not to enroll in every AP/IB class because chances are, it won't count towards college credit. Your worth is not dictated by the classes you enroll in, a social media post about where you're spending the next four years and the grade stamped on your paper.

Good grades and challenging yourself is important. But what really matters is what YOU do with the education you receive and the opportunities YOU create for yourself. You are the only thing that dictates your future and I promise that you don't need Cornell to prove it.

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