When did “overachiever” become a pejorative to be spat at people while they balance studying, work, and extracurricular commitments?
I started seeing this culture in high school. If I got a high test score, answered a question in a class where participation wasn’t evaluated, or committed to a bunch of extracurriculars that I was genuinely passionate about, I’d occasionally get called “overachiever” as if it’s a bad thing to do well in school or participate in activities that I like.
Seeing other people be successful can be intimidating, but using “overachiever” as an insult may discourage students from setting and reaching academic and personal goals.
It’s happened to me: I’ve felt pressured to not speak up in class or to do less than my best on an assignment, to do “just enough” instead of fully participating in school. But that’s a waste of time and money–I have the opportunity to get a college education, so I should get as much out of it as possible.
Everyone has different priorities, and if school isn’t one of yours, that’s fine. But disparaging others’ successes isn’t fair; hardworking students shouldn’t be mocked for their impressive dedication and time management. It’s time we change this culture and instead congratulate people for their work ethic and encourage others to reach their full potential.
This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here.