Staff Ed: Judging others based on academics has to stop.

Healthy academic competition can be beneficial but not when it becomes harmful.


Although competition is often viewed as a good thing for adolescent development, it can also sometimes be harmful to the student mind. We aren’t talking about it from an athletic standpoint, but rather academic competition.

The KE staff has noticed that there is a profusion of academic competition at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, which leads to a negative school environment. Students are afraid to share their grades and scores, due to the poor connotation of having bad grades. For example, if a student is not particularly strong in a certain subject, they may be considered dumb or a lesser student. Or if one student got a slightly lower ACT score, peers may hear of it and form judgments about the person solely based off of one test. One could also look at this vice-versa, where students will excessively boast of their good grades, ACT scores, and colleges they got admitted to with the intent of making others feel bad. Lastly, some students will judge others about the type of class they are taking. If they don’t have any AP or honors classes on their schedule, they might judge the person as being lazy or dumb.

This academic competition can be helpful to some, but to others, it can be incredibly demotivating.

BSM is a private college preparatory school, which carries a lot of weight. Students at BSM are taught to be successful in the classroom and have above average grades and scores. Yes, this means that students at Benilde St. Margaret’s should be hardworking and studious, but it doesn’t mean students should judge others for not being as academically successful. As the KE staff sees it, academic success is subjective. Classes and tests may be easier for one student than another; a B- to one student may be an A to another.

This academic competition can be helpful to some, but to others, it can be incredibly demotivating. When a student with a 21 on the ACT is listening to their classmates talk about the recent 35 they got on the ACT, that student may begin to feel hopeless. This feeling of hopelessness can lead to a student not studying and not caring about school because, from what they’ve heard, everyone is smarter than they are. If students aren’t good at one class, that does not dictate their entire academic performance.

We aren’t suggesting incorporating an oversensitive “everyone gets a trophy” system at BSM because high schools should still encourage and teach students to be competitive because these skills will be valuable later in life since things won’t be handed over on a silver platter. But rather, BSM should devise a plan to mitigate this intense, cutthroat atmosphere that exists and continues to make students feel poorly about themselves. Students should try to be more respectful of others’ personal business.