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The Jaguar Journal

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Expectation of Excellence

The struggles of academic insecurity

What do you consider a good SAT score? The average North Creek student would probably say something like 1400 to 1500, I know I would. Now, let me ask you this: what do you think is the average SAT score in the United States right now? You might guess something a little lower than what you consider “good”, maybe around 1200 to 1300. Well, you and I would both be surprised to hear that the average is actually 1050. 

Academic insecurity isn’t uncommon at a school like North Creek. Myself, along with many other students, are frequently encouraged to challenge ourselves with difficult classes, suggesting the presence of rigor on a college application. The thought that A’s are the norm, when B is the real average, can come from family, teachers, and most notably, other students.

After evaluating my own experiences, and speaking with my classmates about their own experiences with academic insecurity, it’s clear that the academic pressures from other students are far more damaging to the educational experience than other pressures.

“I feel insecure sometimes when I’m working with other people in the more challenging classes,” said sophomore Jaz Surani. Like many others, Surani’s education has been affected by a variety of factors — personal life, procrastination, anxiety — all of which lead to the need to compare herself to others.

Comparison is a natural response to any failure or misstep. Teenagers find it easier to look at other students’ successes and take that as something that they are unable to achieve, rather than look at their own failures and find ways to improve. 

My mindset changes in hard classes, and part of that comes from the people who surround me. “It definitely changes the way that I apply myself when I’m in classes,” said Surani. As opposed to learning for the sake of learning, students yearn to be at the same success level as others, or better.

Effort is an important part of combating academic insecurity. When a student puts in a certain amount of effort, they’re granted with the reward of succeeding, but failure is a pitfall in that cycle. 

I’ve found that changing this mindset is changing the way that you see effort. Instead of success being the reward, make it the opportunity. When the right amount of effort is your goal, you can’t compare yourself to people who seem to put no effort in at all. “If I know I’m putting in my best effort, then I am content with that,” said Surani. 

Surani isn’t the only one I spoke to who mentioned the importance of effort. Madison Bianchi, a senior at North Creek, has spent her four years of high school learning about the importance of effort.

“I’ve put in a lot of effort, and I get mediocre grades, but I watch a lot of kids put in minimal effort and do really well, just cause they absorb information easier than I do,” said Bianchi.

While discussing possible reliefs to academic insecurity, Bianchi shared with me the importance of making connections, not only with classmates, but with teachers. “I used to talk to them after class, talk to them about life, I talked to them about work, I talked about their work, and this  year, I feel like I’ve also made friends with teachers,” said Bianchi. 

These connections have not only strengthened her work ethic, but have improved her views on education entirely. “It’s definitely benefited me in getting better grades and feeling confident in the work I’m doing,” said Bianchi.

Comparing myself to others has hindered my mindset toward education through all my years of high school, and knowing that other students go through the same thing is nothing less than comforting. 

Although academic insecurity sucks, it’s important to always challenge yourself. Both Surani and Bianchi have defeated their insecurities and continued to improve in their academics. Change your mindset towards effort, make connections, and academic insecurity has nothing on you.

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Sadie Berry, Reporter
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