Written by a former I.S. Student
In response to The Silent Majority of Teens:
The same exact issues are prevalent at the college level. The pressures to perform are multiplied, especially when a lack of performance can crush your lifelong goals and aspirations. The weight of that pressure accumulates because now you are paying for your education. Your parents are investing thousands upon thousands of dollars on YOU, expecting you to meet THEIR expectations. In this school I am surrounded by prodigies; sons and daughters of doctors, lawyers, politicians, and CEOs. I used to think that I was less fortunate because my parents aren't college graduates or even high school graduates. I admit that my freshmen year in college I felt ashamed that I didn't have the best clothes, wasn't a member of a sorority and didn't fit in with "those girls". But I soon realized how blessed I really was to be in this situation. My mother did not educate me on how to get into college, how to get a medical degree and how to have a competitive edge. Instead she taught me how to be sincere, empathetic, loving and accepting. She taught me how to work hard, but to never let stress overwhelm my life. She taught me how to work selflessly instead of selfishly. With this outlook I have been able to succeed at a top university. I get recognized by faculty not solely on my performance but by my character. I do not exhibit the jealousy, competitiveness and disrespect that other students do. When I commit to a project (be it in research or in the community) I commit to it wholeheartedly because I LOVE what I do.
I tell this to my residents all the time, "Do what you love". Freshmen always come to this school thinking that they want to be doctors or politicians, but as soon as they begin to take these courses and they don't do well, they start to feel like failures. They go from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a large pond of overachievers. But not everyone is meant to be a doctor or a lawyer, and that's OKAY! If you love to write, than WRITE! You don't need to fit the mold that society built. Doing what you love leads to success because you will put more effort into what you do, and you will be happier doing it.