Everyone wants to graduate the top of their class, valedictorian, with a 5.0 GPA, etc, but what does it all really mean and how do you get there? Well for starters, this is not for everyone, and if you are chasing after a school title, it is a lot of hard work. What does one of these titles get you? - not much for the work involved.
For starters, climbing up the ladder to earn one of these titles requires taking many AP (advanced placement) and honors classes, just to have an even playing field with everyone else who is shooting for awards. As I discussed in a previous article Too Much Homework these classes all add homework, taking away from living and enjoying a normal, teenage life. That is the easy part, now that you take these advanced classes and do the extra work, you need to get A's in all of your classes. You wind up competing with at least a dozen other kids who can get A's, not to mention thousands of other students around the country, and for what? – recognition and a better chance to get into a "good" college. The odds of having your dream come true are slim, but people don't realize this and compete even harder. Yes, there is a chance to attain that coveted Ivy League education, but not a high one. So you take years of advanced classes, sacrificing your teenhood, all to compete with other students who want the same thing. School should be about learning, not competing.
Let's suppose that you still want to compete, and are a good student, capable of doing well. Now education gets dirty. Just as with politics, students who really want something will do anything necessary to attain it. I have heard of people sabotaging other's reports and stealing information, just to get an edge over the competition. Not many students are honest about homework and tests anymore because those few extra points can mean the difference between a top notch college and just a "decent" one. There are still honest students out there, but their numbers are dwindling as they realize how intense the competition is. Students will compete any way possible to put themselves in a better position than their neighbor. Again, school changes from a place of learning to a place for competing and proving oneself.
Is it worth it competing in school to graduate with a title? - that is for each individual student to decide, but everyone needs to realize the work involved. There are nights when students don't go to sleep until 2am and wake up again at 5am just to finish homework. School is rough, too rough in my opinion. Older folks always tell me that they had sooo much fun in school and that they really enjoyed it. I wish the same could be said about schools today.