I’m Going to Be a Doctor!

Recently, I was talking to my roommate, who also went to the same high school as I did, about the differences and similarities between our high school and UCSD. We came to the conclusion that the social pressure of our high school enforces the idea that everything needs a ranking. In other words, your performances in academics and involvement in extracurricular activities determined your worth as a person, as opposed to your actual character traits. We recalled how competitive our high school was and how it impacts students as they continue onto college. For example, we talked about how a former schoolmate, who I shall refer to as ‘M’, still unnecessarily comments about certain subjects in order to show that they are knowledgeable and can dominate the conversation, despite not providing accurate information. I think this stems from the peer pressure in high school where we constantly had to prove our intelligence to demonstrate that we are better than everyone else. Similarly, in Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality, he states that “comparisons [are] carried out when needed and almost without thinking about it…this development increased his superiority over the other animals by making him aware of it” (70). This comparison among high school students became second nature to us because being number one was what really mattered. With ‘M’, my roommate and I noticed that they still push themselves to attain that ‘pre-med’ status and become a doctor, just like everyone else, to show that they can do it too.

6 thoughts on “I’m Going to Be a Doctor!

  1. I can clearly see Rousseau’s ideas expressed through this anecdote, and I can relate to this experience. Matter of fact, my high school decided to take away our rankings because of the toxic, overly competitive environment it created. I suppose in a sense my high school found a way to apply Rousseau’s principals in a world where society has already done its damage.

  2. I agree that the nature of high school tends to peer pressure students into fiercely competing with each other. This post made me realize that there has always been at least 1 ‘M’ that I have met in each of my four years of high school.

  3. Nicole, I really liked how you related one of Rousseau’s ideas to something we experience in everyday life! I feel that I have definitely experienced people like “M” in that a lot of pre-med students feel the need to keep up an image when in reality they are struggling. I think a lot of this has to do with the stigma that surrounds mental health, and universities need to make a bigger deal about how important it is to take care of yourself and to also find time to do something that is a stress relief!

  4. I definitely agree with what you are saying and agree as well with how closely related Rousseau’s idea is to our current life experience. Not only that, but I believe that society itself is pushing us to be highly competitive. We are being compared not to just the people around us, but the generations before us as well.

  5. I totally agree with you on how schools nowadays tend to make students compete with each other and how not only school but as well as society is making us compete versus one another in almost everything.

  6. Nicole, I agree with you about how high schools a toxic culture of competition and misaligned values of self worth. However, I say this doesn’t stop at high school. If anything it’s worse in college. Competition amount students I so strong that some will refuse to help other students. There was a time a asked to see another students notes because I missed a class and he said no. That was it no. Students also feel pressure to join clubs or sororities to improve they’re resume for the future. A person’s worth is no longer determined by the qualities they have, but instead what it says on a piece of paper.

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