Honors and AP student struggles

Daisy Friedman, Visual Editor

Students are told since the time they enter into kindergarten that their primary task in the classroom is to do their personal best and always challenge themselves. Some kids start out not caring about school and continue that mentality throughout their years. Often, those kids’ attitudes cannot be changed, and that is okay. However, it is truly a shame when bright kids begin to burn out because they never feel their best is good enough.  


Kids who go into Honors, AP and IB classes often start because they love to learn and want to continue their learning in subjects in which they excel. Those kids are often the ones who are future-oriented, so they start measuring their self-worth on grades, rather than their amount of knowledge acquired. After a while, this causes them to lose that love for learning and use their unhealthy fixation on success to drive their progress. 


This prevents teenagers from living in the now, a skill that many people of our generation lack. No matter where an honors student is, they are more than likely thinking about the piles of homework that await them at the end of the day or during the weekend. People promote high school as a time where you begin to find yourself as a person, but many honors, AP or IB students don’t get that luxury. The need to constantly be on top of school work removes that sense of individuality. They don’t have time to hang out with friends or delve deeply into extracurricular activities because they are so fixated on schoolwork. It’s especially ironic when colleges advertise they want so badly for their students to be well-rounded and involved in a multitude of different activities, while simultaneously earning top grades in difficult classes; it’s a double-edged sword.  


Not only that, but it’s a concept of socioeconomic turmoil in terms of college admissions. Those who don’t have money to pay tuition to top universities require financial aid through scholarships, but one who is unable to qualify for large enough scholarships cannot dream of going to the schools they want to attend. This leaves very limited room for other activities, unless they want to compromise their grades or are extraordinarily gifted. That doesn’t necessarily apply to the more financially stable students. They can pass for having more flawed grades and participating in many activities if they can pay for the bulk of the tuition themselves.   


All of this culminates in a case of burn out for many Honors/AP/IB students. They work so hard for so long that eventually, it becomes unbearable and they can’t do it anymore. They lose the love of learning that they once had and are consumed by the need to vertically advance in society. The school systems are attempting to breed advanced thinkers and productive members of society when in all actuality they leave high school with no sense of self, limited life skills and only the practice of learning to please others rather themselves.