*Skip to the second half to get straight to the point.*
I used to be very mediocre.
I guess I can say I still am… not trying to sound like some sort of huge achiever… but I want to tell a story of how I lived the life of a normal kid.
Today I look around me at the younger generations and I see kids driven into the ground. Everyone’s parents forcing them to have 4.5 GPAs, a bazillion extra curricular activities, perfect SAT scores and most of those kids look stressed out beyond their years. No longer does a kid do an activity because they enjoy it, but more so because “it will look good on college applications”. So you have hoards of kids learning dance, singing songs, playing soccer – all because they should have something to put on their application.
They’re already going to grow up and have to go to work every single day and be stressed out, why are we starting that experience from such a young age??
Now in no way am I promoting being an underachiever. I do understand that the basic concept of doing things is important – but damn parents, stop driving your kids into the ground! Give them time to do a few less things and more time to be a kid! How competitive it’s gotten is so toxic and ridiculous!
I’m a Stanford Inpatient Clinical pharmacist today. Stanford – you know that college everyone would love their kids to go to? Yeah that one. And I’m damn good at what I do. I was also a mostly A but also sometimes a B and once in a blue moon C student. I didn’t have a 4.5 gpa or a perfect SAT score. But I had competitive enough grades and a competitive enough score. I played soccer because I LOVED the sport, and I loved it so much I worked hard and was MVP sophomore year despite fracturing my ankle in different places multiple times throughout the years. I wasn’t forced to play against my will, only to buff up my applications. I learned to sing to fulfill my fathers dream and make him proud. Not to buff up my applications. And I limited my activities to that.
I didn’t even apply to Berkeley (the most competitive UC at that time) because I knew there was no point. Instead I considered my options.
I focused when it mattered and excelled… and before I knew it I was 23 and graduated with a doctorate. Me, the average joe (or Jane) kid with a couple C’s and two extra curricular had graduated with a doctorate at an age when most of her peers were just finishing up undergrad and trying to figure out what to do next.
Now I don’t want to put anyone else’s course down, because yes if your kid goes to an IVY league or Berkeley – that’s truly fantastic. On the flip side that’s ok too because everyone gets to their end point when they’re supposed to – life is not a race.
I just want to really emphasize though that I got a chance to be a normal kid, doing the things I love, not aging a million years under the stress of being an overachiever. And despite that I was able to still be successful today.
Parents, yes encourage your kids to try their hardest and work hard and accomplish as much as they can, but don’t drive them into the ground. There’s nothing wrong with going to a community college first or a state or even a UC (which I was shocked to hear “isn’t good enough for some”).
Remember to allow your kids to be kids. They don’t constantly have to be on the go.
A frankly very successful inpatient clinical pharmacist who started off as a mediocre child.
P.S this is not referring to lazy kids – if your kid is lazy push them to get up and do something.
P.P.S Not everyone has to be a doctor or an engineer. Let you kid explore themselves. Please.