Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Society's Pressure to be Successful (Annotations)

Roua, Dragos F. Being Successful. The Choice of a Personal Path (2008).

Being Successful discusses the definition of success. Dragos states that most people have a difficult time trying to figure out the meaning of success, and asserts that people who try to figure out what success means are probably not enjoying their life. The meaning of success is difficult for an individual to figure out because it is defined by society. In order to be successful, society has to think of you as successful. Success is also a comparison between people. For example, if two people were compared to each other (whether they are both successful or both unsuccessful), the more successful one would be considered successful and the less successful one would be considered unsuccessful. One cannot be successful if society does not accept them as successful because society defines what success is. Real success, however, is doing what makes you happy. As Dragos asserts, doing what makes you happy inevitably leads you to success because you want to do it, rather than being forced to do it.

Z, Leanne. How the Educational Process Puts Pressure on Students. Associated Content (2008).

How the Educational Process Puts Pressure on Students points out that education is a part of life; that we learn throughout our lives. However, LeannZ states, society has “formalized” education. As a result, children are compared to each other and are labeled as “geniuses,” “dumb,” etc. This in turn puts pressure on the “dumb” children to level up to the other children and puts pressure on the “geniuses” to live up to the expectations of becoming successful. However, LeannZ might have overlooked the possibility that this can also help them by encouraging them to work harder. LeannZ claims that instead of encouraging our children to become what they truly want to be, our society puts pressure on them to become someone more successful (ex. magician vs. doctor). So in a sense, she is arguing that “formalized” education merely has a concern for success, and not for the education itself.

Welsh, Meghan. Students Face Mounting Pressure to Succeed. Generation Next (2006).

Students Face Mounting Pressure to Succeed asserts that the life of a typical student is consumed with school, work, and activities that are supposed to prep them for success in the future. Regardless of their goal, students are faced with the pressure to succeed. Welsh claims that students nowadays tend to set unattainable goals for themselves. You can call me one of these typical ambitious students, but I on the other hand believe all goals are attainable; some goals are just more difficult than others. Because students set unattainable goals for themselves, Welsh continues, they get stressed out and they panic. Due to the fear of failure or to the fear of not living up to society’s expectations, students sometimes resort to cheating and plagiarism, which defeats the whole purpose of going to school to get educated. But then again, Welsh adds, students’ goals nowadays is to become successful, not to be educated.

Chartier, Tom. There’s No Pressure Here!. Lew Rockwell (2007).

There’s No Pressure Here! takes an interesting approach on the subject of the pressure to succeed. He approaches the subject from an alternate perspective: the pressure to not fail. Chartier explains that good grades and high SAT scores in high school get us accepted into good colleges, and good colleges open the doors for good careers, which allow us to have successful futures. Because we want the best for our children’s future, we put pressure on them to succeed. However, because good grades and high SAT scores have decreased, we now put pressure on our children to not fail. Although this may be true, Chartier might have overlooked the possibility that some children may face more pressure to succeed since other children are doing poorly. However, whether it is the pressure to succeed or the pressure to not fail, we still put pressure on our children nonetheless. What is the value of success, Chartier asks, if it causes our children to become unhappy adults?

Pope, Denise C. Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students. Yale University Press (2003).

Clark, Claire H., David C. Spendlove, Neal A. Whitman. Student Stress: Effects and Solutions. Jossey-Bass (1984).

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