Heads Up – Your Fellow Classmates Aren’t for Trampling

Alice Zhu


I often hear juniors in the school asking about what Grade 11 is like. Well, here’s my impression: Grade 11 is pretty much the same as Grade 9 or Grade 10, except for a few things. Firstly, students obtain a heavier workload. Students also become exposed to various events and workshops that relate to their future occupations or careers, and become more aware of universities and colleges across Canada that they may attend after high school.

I’m all right with these changes. After all, I’m excited about what I will do in the future and, of course, I really want to start making money. But something strange is happening. Something cold and deadly. I’m in my third year of high school and I know about three quarters of the students in my grade by now, but I feel like my relationship with them is weakening by the second.

When I was a freshman, I was naive – curious, but naive – and light hearted, willing to chat with anyone; and everyone I talked to would respond back to me in a friendly manner. The next year, in Grade 10, things didn’t change that much; I would read books with my friends, watch movies with them, and no matter what questions I had to ask, my
classmates would always try to answer them. But in Grade 11, I feel as if my
group of friends just shrank by 10-fold. Gone were the friendly exchanges, the
assistance we provided each other, and the feeling of security whenever I stood
by my friends. Now, everything is up to me alone to complete, because we’re all
competitors in the race of life. We’ve become aware that to get into our dream
university or to live the life we want to live, we must crush the students who
may take away that future.

So back to my earlier statement: I am excited for my graduation from high school and the pursuit of my future occupation, but I am astounded by what this ambition is doing to many high school students across Canada and across the globe, including myself. It is literally isolating us from our friends, forcing us to attain success on our own, and,
ironically enough, making this goal more difficult to fulfill because we need
to depend on each other – whether it’s because we need to work together for
projects, or share each other’s notes, or study for tests with each other – in
order to do better in school.

The path that is followed by high school students who are in a situation like this is extremely adverse. In my opinion, there is absolutely no reason why students should isolate themselves from other students to do better in school or to achieve higher grades than others, because it makes no sense whatsoever. We all need the assistance and moral support of other students once in a while because we are humans.

After all, we are all going to graduate from high school at some point in our lives, and we are all going to collaborate in society in the future. So instead of trying to make other
students seem “inferior” to you, why not help them reach their own goals to
ensure a better future for mankind?

In high school, there is no winner and there is no loser. Every student has a goal in mind – though it may not be firmly set down yet – that no one can take away from him/her. Of course, competition in school can never be entirely eliminated, but students shouldn’t compete to the point where negative thoughts and actions start to manifest. So I would like to remind every student at NT of the dangers and the consequences
of competition, because in life’s race, we won’t make it to the end unless we
help each other.