What the Future Holds

Jacob Blauvelt , Reporter

As the first semester of my senior year comes to an end, I can’t help but think what my life will be like once I graduate. Where will I start working?  How will I feel about the college experience? Will I still talk to my friends? From elementary school all the way to my last year of high school, I have always focused on achieving high scores and good grades. Despite moving to different states and switching schools multiple times, I never let it get in the way of my education. I always wanted to be at the top of my class. Not so I could brag about it, but because I knew I could, and not doing so meant I was not living up to self-set standards. These standards were not made because of my parents interjecting on my school work, but rather because they didn’t. I knew my parents would be fine even if I achieved average grades and did not get involved in anything at school, as long as I was passing. That was not okay for me though. For most of my time in school, I complete every assignment without mentioning it to my parents. They always asked if I wanted help on my science fair projects or an English paper, but I kindly declined. I wanted to make sure I could do my work by myself, in order to pass my classes with ease. While many become concerned about their grades, achieving perfect scores on assignments, others become involved in much more demanding extracurricular activities such as athletics, speech and debate, band, and many more. So, the number that represents how successful a student is throughout high school, is hardly relevant.

As I prepare for my post-secondary education, I find myself wondering if working so hard is even worth it? After countless days of stress over tests and quizzes, losing sleep over the previous night’s homework, did it really pay off? Do the grades that students achieve in school reflect their actual knowledge and hard work in a subject?  When it comes to homework, of course, it is important, but not worth stressing over. I have found myself becoming frustrated over not being able to figure out a math problem or not finishing a workbook activity. Being able to go to class stress-free is the most important thing to me. When I can do my best to understand the material without feeling that I am going to get a bad grade on the homework, I feel like I learn better. As for the grades students achieve in classes, it sometimes can be deceiving. If someone is actively refusing to do their work, then, of course, they are not going to have a passing grade. On the other hand, not every student learns the same. Some may not understand how the teacher is presenting the material and need other viewpoints. “To me, it definitely does not represent their knowledge of the subject, and the stress is not worth it at all. I have felt it before,” says Brian Sanchez, a senior at Cypress Creek.

The idea of having to achieve perfect marks in all courses from a young age is a vicious never-ending cycle. Starting high school, students, including myself, become so caught up in the number that is supposed to represent their academic prowess, GPA, as determined by what grades they earned and what classes they took. However, GPA among students equally able to earn A grades in all of their courses is dependent solely upon the number of weighted courses versus the number of unweighted courses the student took. Not accounting for extracurricular involvement, social awareness or even how much was learned. The system imposed upon students by tradition has separated true education from academic achievement, where one can be accomplished without the other. High school academics are just a game that the students must learn quickly, in order to climb the leaderboards of class rank. The most successful players, as dictated by the ranks, learn their way around the system and choose courses accordingly.

GPA has become like currency in a game of Monopoly, in which the players who chance upon the right tiles or construct the right schedules earn more, while others inevitably earn less. No matter what, someone wins the game, while the rest stand defeated. School has instilled the same spirit of competition within its participants, diminishing its original purpose – educate citizens for the future. While the competitive top-tier students glance at their transcript and wish for a higher GPA, a better class rank, the students ranked at the bottom are left with little to no motivation to succeed academically and with the sense of defeat. When asking Cassidy Middleton, a senior here at Cypress Creek, about this she stated, “I think the class rank motivates students who want to work hard and achieve high goals, while students ranked lower are left with no motivation.”

The student that ends up with the highest GPA is the one glorified under the name Valedictorian and chosen to represent the class when in reality, grades have little to do with knowledge of his or her classmates. The responsibility of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian is to deliver a speech representative of the graduating class, a task that hardly coincides with the criteria of GPA. Students in other prestigious positions such as officers in band, captains of speech, debate, and athletics hold far more responsibilities that require them to not only work with their peers but to guide them to success.

I am confident that all students here at Cypress Creek will move forward to tremendous successes in the future. Not as a result of our experience striving for straight A’s, but because of the lessons learned and memories made working with fellow students and members of staff. From attending my first high school football game as a Freshman to dressing up for Senior Prom, I know that when I think about my high school experience twenty years from now, that is where my mind will go. Not my attempts to scrape up a 90 percent to obtain an A in my course.  Whether students take part in extracurricular activities or just worry about their GPA, I know that all have exceptionally bright futures ahead, to shine in a predominately dark and cruel world.