In an age when there seems to be endless pressure on kids to maintain straight A’s while loading up on AP courses and extracurricular activities, some parents have started questioning how beneficial are the expectations being placed on their children to keep up with others for admission to a top university.
While being driven to participate in activities primarily to compete with others is certainly not healthy nor does it lead to the best long term results, expectations can be healthy when used properly.
Expectations are healthy and helpful when you push yourself to improve at something because you’re competing against yourself or you’re working for a greater cause. Humans have accomplished great things when the reason for action isn’t just whether or not something will “look good to Harvard.”
Women in World War II
Women in the workforce used to be a very uncommon thing to see. In WWII, 350,000 women served in the US Armed Forces. And in five years, the percentage of women in the workforce went from 27% to 37%. They helped keep the country running and were a big reason why the US was able to sustain its war efforts.
Stand and Deliver
The students at Garfield High School in Los Angeles weren’t supposed to amount to anything. But Jaime Escalante, a Bolivian immigrant who taught math at Garfield, demanded excellence from his students. In 1978 he taught his first calculus class. There were five students and two passed the AP test. The next year, seven out of nine passed it. By 1981, 14 of 15 passed. By 1988, there was a movie made about his story.
When you have high expectations for yourself and you’re constantly competing against yourself, you’ll be surprised at your results.
What are you good at? Where can you add value to others?
Double down on those strengths. You’ll end up helping the world, as well as your college applications in the process.