You know you have a problem when going to sleep at 2 a.m. every night becomes routine. For the average Schechter student, most of the day is spent working tirelessly on school work with hardly any time for extracurriculars or a social life. And down time? Forget about it. It is widely accepted that all of this work is done just to get higher scores and better grades in the hope of reaching everyone’s ultimate goal: success.
Students seem to have their beliefs and ideas of success all figured out. Many people believe to be successful, you have to get good grades, go to a good school, get a good job and make a comfortable living. Although some may believe this is a skewed perception of success, it is not necessarily the fault of the students.
We live in a world where the idea of success often seems to have only one definition. At an early age, we are taught the very detailed and planned process that will help us become a successful adult.
In reality, though, many students disagree with this one-path ideology and believe that success means something different for each individual.
For example, some believe that you do not become successful until you make your dreams reality regardless of your education or economic achievement. “Success is reaching the goal that you have dreamed of reaching since you were a kid,” freshman Joey Schluger said.
Many believe that long-term aspirations are part of what makes you who you are and achieving a goal that you have been imagining since a young age, one that’s close your heart, is incomparably satisfying.
However, fulfilling lifelong goals is not enough to be successful for everyone. “Success means reaching a goal that you have previously set for yourself, but it also means learning from all of your life experiences and becoming a better person,” sophomore Elliot Efrat said.
For some people, constantly learning and leading a moral life can be the key to success. By this token, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is not truly successful if the CEO does not treat others with respect.
In addition to being a good person and fulfilling long time dreams, many believe a key part to being successful is general happiness. “I define success as being happy and healthy,” junior Gesela Levin said.
Happiness and health are two things most people strive to achieve to live a good life. Although happiness is also not always in our control, we can do everything in our power to focus on the good, count our blessings, and live a happy life. Health is not always in our control either, but we can control whether or not we do things that are unhealthy for our bodies, such as consuming junk food or illegal drugs.
As individuals, students have varying definitions of the concept of being successful, but as a whole, the educational community has very strict guidelines on how to become successful.
In Schechter’s case, the path to success is even more predetermined than in the majority of the country. The 100% graduation rate along with the 100% college attendance among the graduates suggests that every student is required to do well enough in school to eventually reach college. People like Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple and college dropout, have proven that college is not for everyone and that failure to finish college does not necessarily imply a lack of success.
When asked how students at Schechter define success, High School Psychologist Dr. William Blank said, “I think most students define success as getting A’s.” It is evident to the faculty and the students themselves at Schechter that the students focus a lot on getting good grades. Both the high school education system and college process can make students lose themselves in numbers and letters that, in the long run, are not going to have as much of an impact as it seems from a high school perspective.
Grades aren’t everything. As students, we hear this phrase every time our parents find us upset over a grade we recently received or worrying about getting into college. However, the knowledge that we can rapidly increase our long-term success by getting better grades doesn’t reinforce this all-too-common phrase.
Most agree that grades are important, but some more than others make the point that they truly aren’t everything, and they certainly aren’t the definition of success.
“Certainly GPA’s matter in terms of how selective of a college you can get into, but there is a college for everyone, and the most selective college might not be the best college,” Blank said. “I would love to see students defining success as, rather than the letter grade or the number on the test, whether or not they worked up to their potential, if they worked as hard as they could, and if they are proud of their effort regardless of what the number or letter grade is.”
Even if you have a ‘C’ in English or a B+ in Math, success is determined more by the things that will continue to be important in life, beyond high school. Whether it be dreams, goals, family, or happiness, nothing we do in high school can cement our eventual success.