Is School Becoming Too Competitive?

Emma St.Aubin

We compete for prizes, for parking spaces, for grades. We compete to see who’s fastest, who’s strongest, and we all came to college to compete for employment.

Competition, one might say, makes the world go ‘round. Still, many of us are hesitant about it. We may praise the competitiveness of athletes, but we criticize the competitiveness of classmates.

One person’s win can be another person’s loss, and the drive to be better than others, when taken too far, can appear ruthless and selfish. To suggest what nice people we are, we deny that we ourselves are competitive.

All of us compete to some extent. Whether we are naturally competitive or yearn to enhance our competitive instincts, it is nearly unavoidable.

In order to compete we must take risks that are normally constrained by fear. Risk-taking is a crucial quality of competitiveness. Those who tend to be risk-takers tend to be the competitors, while those who analyze the risks involved may restrain themselves, requiring high odds in their favor before they even enter the game.

Either way, competition can be both a virtue and a vice. As students, competition can breed excellence and build character, but it can also lead to hurt feelings and diminished confidence.

“The hard part is considering people who don’t do well with competition. If they’re not competitive, it’s obvious that they might not want to

participate in competition. It could be a bad scenario for these students because it’s possible that they might get left behind in some things like employment after college,” Molly Farley, a secondary education for English major said.

Getting ahead, being successful and being the best are all common concepts in our society. Most people spend their lives trying to outdo others to make their way to the top. While many view this as detrimental, many view this as a good thing—competition encourages people to excel and do their best.

As we near graduation and enter the working world, our surrounding competition will only flourish. Employment after graduation doesn’t always come easily, and without a competitive edge, it may mean waking up to a inbox full of rejections. In this case, being persistent and competitive may be beneficial.

“Competition for things like higher grades and employment after graduation can be great for students because, for competitive people, it’s a push to really earn what they want—to go above and beyond to get something. In the working world, competition is common, and I think experiencing it at the college level can be a good training tool for a lot of students,” Farley said.

With competitions surrounding many daily activities, we must remember that just like anything that can benefit or fail us, moderation is key. Although competing may be thrilling and motivating, sometimes it is necessary to step back and simply watch.

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