Being called a ‘try-hard’


Jack Shields

Being called a ‘try-hard’ impacts on student. Jackie Bucaro reflects on her own academic journey, becoming what many call try-hard.

The survey I conducted for this edition’s feature says that 83.3% of BSM students have been called a try-hard. I am one of them, in case you couldn’t tell by the number of interviews in that feature. Despite being called a try-hard for half the projects I’ve done, I can say with complete honesty that I don’t think I deserve that title.

Unless I’m completely exhausted, I want to put effort into my projects, so that’s what I do.

— Jackie Bucaro

To be fair, attention is usually a by-product of hard work. I’m going to get attention for my poster if I tried to make it look beautiful. That’s just the way things work. So I look like a try-hard, I act like a try-hard, and I probably have about as many friends as a try-hard, but I’m not here to kiss up to teachers. Unless I’m completely exhausted, I want to put effort into my projects, so that’s what I do.

I am not a try-hard, but that’s not easy to recognize. No one can look inside my head and see my motivations; if I look like a try-hard, I’m going to get called a try-hard. At this point, I’m not offended by the insult, but I think it’s a bit of an issue. Despite how lighthearted or joking ‘try-hard’ is, being called a try-hard is like a badge of shame. So when I’m called a try-hard, I feel embarrassed. 

What am I ashamed for? Working hard? Enjoying what I’m doing? There’s no reason to be embarrassed about any of this. 

I don’t like feeling as though I’m doing something wrong for working hard. Obviously, I can brush the feeling away quickly; it’s happened so many times by now. In my experience as a try-hard–or a would-be try-hard–I’ve found that it all comes down to your intent. If you are happy working hard in classes, keep going. It doesn’t make you a try-hard. And even if it does, is that really the worst thing to be?