Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Overachievers, A Final Word

I finished The Overachievers last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. At the end of the book, Robbins gives her own list of tactics that schools, teachers, parents and students could use to help bring this overachiever mentality under control. By the end, as a reader you know where Robbins stands on this issue. I can understand why some readers may not appreciate her personal opinions showing through, but in this case, I'm fine with it. While I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, one of Robbins suggestions made a lot of sense: Teachers could assign test days for their particular subject - Physics on Monday, English on Tuesday, Math on Wednesday, etc.

So often students end up with midterms, projects and papers due within the same week, or even worse, on the same day. While I understand the importance of learning time management and the ability to multi-task, I think by knowing tests would at least fall one day apart, would help students study better and, in the end, perform better. I also understand that in college and the "real world" your deadlines won't be assigned this way. But, maybe a variation of this system would be beneficial and help teachers understand that their classes aren't the only ones these students are taking?

One other real life situation that I've paid more attention to since starting the book is the Academic All-Stars that a local news station hypes each week. More often than not, these students have 4.0+ GPAs (weighted GPAs, seriously?), volunteer, play sports, play an instrument, are in the National Honor Society and so on. While I think it's great to publicize these student's achievements, these past few weeks I've wondered if on the inside these students are depressed, frustrated, stressed or lonely. Are they slamming Red Bulls to get through the day? What messages do these news spots send to fellow students who "only" have a 3.5 GPA and play just one sport really well? That they're not good enough?

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