• Lulwa NAMAN

Mindsets of Over-Achievers: Worth the Struggle?


At a certain stage of teenagehood, different types of students can be observed throughout Nations. Attitudes vary while looking towards their aspirated futures and the paths they are choosing. Some would be perceived as leaders or competitive students, but some find themselves being followers. One might be friends with the local Ivy League and Oxbridge wannabes, and feel disheartened by the ‘lack of motivation’ one shows in comparison. However, holding up the dream of far-reach educational institutions might be an ill-manner of handling expectations. So, which mindset should students our age be looking to maintain to sustain a healthy high school career and balanced life?


Upon a basic google-search of the renowned heroes of the world, the universities they attended (if any at all) may shock you. Oprah Winfrey is the richest TV-Host in the world with a complete 25-season-show and her own television program. She has published multiple self help books and is an icon for the best advice internationally. All of her success sprouted from her roots which reside in Tennessee at the State University. Should schools such as Ecolint raise more awareness of the extent of success a Communications degree from a state university can bring?


Focusing mainly on the United States and the United Kingdom, where the top-ranking universities reside, there are specific tick boxes to make a good application stand out. The US system observes extra-curricular activities and hobbies, putting heavy emphasis upon leadership and presence in one’s community. On the other hand, the UK focuses on grades in the subjects taken at IB level as well as work experience and courses completed relating to the prospective degree.


Student council members, captains of sports teams and leaders of diverse clubs are the goals of any US applicant. The student as a whole is analysed by the admissions committee, and well-roundedness is appreciated. Therefore, if one can become part of a science club, art club, sports team and humanities-related club at school, that would show diversity and open-mindedness. Although, a long list of extracurricular activities on top of the IB is not manageable without sacrifices and a careful balance of social life. I have found that multiple people in Nations, who undertake leadership positions in different groups tend to be more stressed than those who have less on their plate. It should be up to these kinds of people whether the end prize is worth the climb. The US application process is designed for the education system their nation follows, which has been described as less rigorous and demanding than the IB. The connection between US applications and IB students may be fragile as sustenance of mental health through the generations has not been practicable.


There is a lot of pressure for UK applicants to accomplish a form of work experience, particularly in the summer of Year 12. Unlike schools in the United States, UK universities assess the fitness of a student to pursue one degree and focus on how they have showcased their passion for the subject in their last years of school. Therefore, it is unimportant to delve into details about hobbies and interests in a Personal Statement, and more important to boast about one’s commitment to their subject. Work experience can be difficult to obtain in Switzerland depending on the area of interest. Children may have parents with jobs students might be interested in and have the opportunity to easily find an internship at their parents office... It is most unfortunate when parents have no connection to their child’s interests and cannot help them find work experience as easily. Instead, students can contact martyn.rowlands@ecolint.ch and mita.villigier-dohkia@ecolint.ch for guidance on available opportunities around Geneva. Comparing this to the US, it is a far less challenging path, although it asks a student to select their passion at an age where it can change very quickly. There might be mental health consequences in committing to the wrong subject.


The commitment, dedication and journey are worth more than the locations at which all of the milestones occur. Too many stars, billionaires, happy and healthy people, who have come out of lower-ranking universities (or none at all), believe that a prestigious title is not so meaningful. Do we really have anything to worry about?

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Lulwa Naman


Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/international-baccalaureate-are-we-ready-to ughest-exams-world-8180728.html

https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/choosing-university/worlds-top-100-universities