Thursday, September 5, 2013

Academics: What did You Get from Being on Top?

image source: Washtenaw Community College
It’s been years since we graduated from high school.  One time at a small gathering, my friends asked me what did I get from being in the first section during high school.  I smiled.  I cannot think of an answer.  They asked me again but still, nothing.

They paused for a while and then switched to a new topic.  I asked myself, why can’t I give them a response?  There could be something but for that moment, I can’t think of a good answer.  Fame? Pride? Self fulfillment? Recognition? Money? These things can be achieved by students from other sections; even those who didn’t receive any academic awards or honor.  They could even surpass any achievement done by those students with honors.

On my way home until the following day, I’m still pondering about that question and still got no answers.  Suddenly I thought: maybe, the reason why I can’t find an answer is because being on top is already the answer! I think the question shouldn’t be what did I get; maybe it should be, why did I got there or why did I tried my best to stay there.

To elaborate, here’s an example: a reporter asking an athlete what did he got from winning a medal or a trophy.  Isn’t that ridiculous? An athlete trains hard to reach his goals.  He needs passion and perseverance to achieve those goals.  These goals could be as simple as just having fun and safe games or aiming for being the best athlete there is or even both.  Trophies, medals, awards, fame, and money: all of that are just tokens of his achievements.  These things he received are embodiments of his hard work.

That thought is also true with academics.  As a student, I had plans and dreams. They’re not yet clear during those days but they’re starting to pile up on my mind.  To fulfill them, I also need perseverance and hard work.  I know that education is not all about academics but I chose to focus on this simply because I’m not good at sports or other extraneous physical activities and I’m bored with them.  As for, let’s call it, my secondary skills, I try to improve my artistic side by practicing digital arts, animations, writing, and singing.  With all of that in mind, it seems that I got no other choice but to be good in academics.

Another reason is, I want to prove that appearance should not be the basis of one’s character and intellectual capacity.  They want results, I give them results. Just please, don’t mess with my hair.  That’s what I thought.  I'm hoping for this kind of judgment be removed from our system.  I’m with the idea that judging a person should be based on their actions or the way they think.  Our appearances shouldn’t matter or at most it should be for precautions only; unless, of course, if you're a model or an endorser.  It’s not easy to avoid judging people by their appearance.  I know this because I’m having troubles regarding it myself but I try to give them a fair chance.  I hope you do the same.

Take the photo as an example.  We can easily say that the man from the right is an idiotic thief that anytime would grab your purse or cellphones whereas the woman from the left is highly intellectual and respectable.  If you’re updated with the news, you’ll know that the woman is the thief.  The scary part: she’s not alone.  As for the man, I believe his intellectual though not highly and could be respectable if he has to.  You can trust me on this because I know him personally.

Lastly, and I think this is what really pushed me to aim high; to keep my parents from bugging me to study hard.  They’re right but they’re also annoying.  To lessen unnecessary discussions, I just keep my grades high and aim to the top.  Well, I did thought that having high grades would make them proud.  It's for their sacrifices.  They try to sustain my needs and I try to do my job at least as a student.  Though most of the time, I just want to avoid being scolded.  A negative reinforcement with a positive outcome, I believe.

Again, to answer my friends' question: It seemed that I got nothing from being one of the leading students in academics because it’s the other way around.  I did my best during my stay in the academe and tried  to make my best be better than the best of others.  As a result, it gave me a spot in the first section, I managed to keep that spot, and it allowed me to graduate with honors.  After that, it’s just another marathon.


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