It starts with our culture

Jake Sapp | Staff Writer

Mason has a serious problem, and it isn’t the fault of the administration or our teachers. It’s a culture problem. 

As I talk to people in grades both above and below me, I constantly hear things about how stressed they are because their “parents are going to kill them if they get a bad grade.” This is such a commonality, that I have begun to ponder whether or not it’s truly a good thing that we place such a heavy emphasis on what our parents expect of us, instead of what we expect from ourselves. Oftentimes it seems as though we are unable to motivate ourselves to do anything if there isn’t a constant threat of parental disapproval or punishment.

Because of this constant perceived threat, I see kids drive themselves to the point of near-insanity trying to reach the goals that their parents set for them. In the end this turns out to be detrimental to students because once they reach the heralded 4-year college and well-paying job that they have been told they need to reach, they have no clue what to do with themselves.

I hear about people who stay up until 4 in the morning studying for a quiz that they absolutely cannot do badly on, or else they won’t get into the college that they’re “supposed to go to,” and all it does is make me question the priorities we have more and more.

For most of their lives, students have been guided along a path that they didn’t carve for themselves. Because of this, they have no idea which way to go once they reach a fork in the road with nobody to guide them.

Last summer I attended a meeting that revolved around both parental and student input on how the school should improve for the 2018-2019 school year. While the parents seemed to be solely focused on college, AP courses, enrichment activities, service hours, etc., the students were mostly focused on the issues of depression and anxiety that our school faces still to this very day.

The meeting opened my eyes to how different the parent and student mindset is when it comes to education and the learning environment, and I feel as though the parent mindset that was displayed to me there has contributed immensely to the lack of self-reliance that students have at MHS.

Over the last few years, as I have grown as both a person and a student. While I still do hold what my parents instruct me to do in a high regard (I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them), the key difference is that I am not solely going off of the instruction they give me. Rather, I take both my goals and their advice into account and build from there in order to become the person that I want to be.

Changing mindsets isn’t an easy thing to do, especially if you have been stuck with it for your entire life. However, I do feel as though if students learned how to live for themselves instead of their parents or guardians, a lot of the issues we see in the halls would die down, even if just a little bit.