A few thoughts from a high school senior

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bloopton
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A few thoughts from a high school senior

Post by bloopton » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:37 am

So I'm kinda new here. Just some background, I've grown up, much like many of you no doubt, in a heavily sports centric society. All the shows and movies on tv that were "big" when I was growing up had something to do with sports. A small hockey team rising to beat the odds. A soccer team that wins with the help of a talking dog. You get the picture. School was pretty much the same. Kids joined baseball teams to gain social standing. Sports was a given for 99% of the people I knew. I wasn't unfit. In fact, I enjoyed jogging, swimming, playing in the open when I had the chance. But sports? Sports was something else entirely. Something alien to me. I wasn't intimidated by it, I just wasn't attracted to it. Fast forward to highschool.

I'm pretty much one of the stereotypical "asian" kids now. The thing is, I'm only half asian, and my parents are both third (at least) generation Americans. My friends in highschool are also "asian", as pretty much anyone else who is not vaguely asian looking calls us. I feel more white than anything to be honest. But I'm going off on a tangent.

I don't want to sound pretentious. I really don't. I don't want to sound elitist, or arrogant, or spiteful. But the way I've grown up, the things I enjoy doing, what my parents have taught me, all push me to value education. I can't not look at history, at society, and not see the increasing need for education and the waning need for the physical domination, the brawn over the brain, of the past. Maybe this isn't how you see things, and I myself have no problem with that. This opinion isn't very popular. Through highschool, when venturing out of my social circle of academics-focused students (nerds I guess?) I've teetered, socially, precariously, on the border between elitism and ignominy. I feel trapped, often scared, at the notion that everything I believe in, everything I prioritize and have worked towards might be misplaced.

College, however, was the light at the end of the tunnel. I saw it as the one place where I knew (I thought) I could thrive. Perhaps it is. But events thus far have suggested otherwise. I saw the brightest, most diligent kids around me get deferred from MIT and other top colleges. Sure some got into their top choices. I myself got into Columbia. I felt bad for my friends who "didn't make it". They had worked so hard. So god damn hard. They had sacrificed the traditional highschool experience for something they (and I along with them) saw as better. More worthwhile. The sports had faded from our minds for a brief four years. We collectively thought that finally, college could equalize the social scales that had been tipped away from our favor for quite literally our entire lives. But ignoring all the fuss about "the race for America's future", the need to "innovate", the potential of America's youth to make a difference and cure cancer and whatnot, it seems like college is just an extension of the conventional system. I felt trapped. We all felt trapped. It's hard not to get emotional. It's hard not to get angry. It's hard not to get petty. I saw kids who I so brazenly dismissed as "jocks" and "mediocre", in my arrogance, get into colleges at a much higher rate. Not only that, they had been recruited months,even a year in advance. This is not an exaggeration. Look it up. What made it worse, was that I was the few out of my friends who had gotten into the college of my choice. The rest now floundered in the doldrums, the despair between rejection and regular decision. It was painful It was infuriating. I don't know if what I'm feeling is wrong, or stupid, or elitist, or whatever else it might be.

But seeing a kid who got straight B's (not that this is a bad thing, AT ALL, but keep reading) and spent a couple hours every week playing football beat out and surpass my best friend, my literal best friend, who is now NUMBER 1 in our school in terms of grades, who has a 2400 on his SAT, who has done everything from programming IPhone games to learning Swahili, took away what little wind in my sails I had accumulated from four years of hard work and study. The trend continued. Out of the top 10 ranked students in our school, 6 were beat out of their number one choices by athletes. What else is there if the higher education institutions in our nation value athletic ability over smarts? Even worse, how can a college so readily give a full ride for one's ability to play baseball, but not for one's ability to get straight A's?

I'm sorry I rambled on, I ranted. But I had to get this out of my system. I hope I've found the right community for this.

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Ray
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Re: A few thoughts from a high school senior

Post by Ray » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:35 pm

Thanks for a great post. I had no idea, having never attended myself, that college was so bad. I didn't know it was just an extension of all the prejudice in high school. I assumed it WAS the great equalizer, a place where smart kids were king, a place where they would be challenged and able to advance as far as they were capable. What a tragedy. What an indictment of our educational system.
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tjr1000
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Re: A few thoughts from a high school senior

Post by tjr1000 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:14 am

It's hard to know what to say to someone in your position. I went into college with much of the same ideas. After the insanity of public elementary and high school, I hoped to finally find a haven where real merit would count. To some extent it worked. It took a couple of years to find my place, but undergrad school turned out to be a great experience. I made the mistake of thinking I could continue it into grad school, but that's a whole different issue.

College could work out for you, but based on my 30 years of post school experience, the sports craziness is never very away. So it's a matter of figuring out a personal strategy to stay sane in the middle of it. College could be a haven but then you find yourself in a workplace run by a sports idiot. You could find a haven in the job world, but then you are going to have to deal with a social world driven by sports obsession. I've even run into homeless people who spend their days playing fantasy football on library computers.

On a positive note, remember that there are plenty of people who don't buy into the madness. There are over 300m people in the United States, and only 90m worldwide watch the Superbowl. Sports maniacs seem to dominate because they are loud and their obsessions are organized around public events. Sports stories make for easy reporting so they dominate the news. Sports haters disappear into the woodwork because we tend to be quiet and not organized. But we do exist and may even be the majority. We just need ways to communicate. Forums like this one are a great help.

themoi1998
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Re: A few thoughts from a high school senior

Post by themoi1998 » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:31 pm

College is becoming the social trend, so of course all of the things in high school will directly go into college. As people have said, graduate school is the new college, college is the new high school, high school is the new middle school, etc. It used to be isolated education levels, but now everything is mixed up together. Hence some people commuting to the nearest college and living with their parents (which is an elementary school trait), I understand it may be benefical financially, but my god there are many scholarships and the Greek life offers better financial systems too. It is not like the Great Depression. College used to be yourself growing as a person, marketing yourself, and adapt to the world on your own...but now it is just finding the best financial system or college is not worth it when it is as well as conformity.

Sadly though as a resident of California, you will only find the smart and studious people at elite LACs or Stanford, Pacific, or Southern California. Publics? Pft, you only need to be studious to get in. A high SAT and GPA and you are in at pretty much any UC and CSU. Berkeley and LA? Just add in APs and Subject Tests and you will still be in. There are the some smart people though at the publics, but that is at every school. Hence the bad stereotypes of UCs, especially UC Santa Cruz with drugs and UC Santa Barbara with partying.

Sports have played a huge role in the UC system, hence why UCLA and UC Berkeley gets the most applicants combined more than all of the other UCs combined, except this year. Irvine and Santa Barbara broke it since they are close to the beach aka conformity.

Also I am about to start my last year of high school soon, and I already know enough of this from research. Good thing I quit sports after sophomore year. Lol!

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