Warrior Words: No place for competition — a common pursuit

A trend Warrior Words readers may notice while reading my column this year may be a majority of them being about how shocked and overwhelmed seniors are at the fact that we will be in college within the next few months. With 2015 upon us now — Happy New Year to everyone reading — as Jackie Cooke said in her recent article, this is really it. For most of us, this is the culmination of our time in the Wilton school system or wherever we come from; this is what all of our years of hard work in the classroom have led up to. While this is the end of our time in the Wilton school system, not everyone will be pursuing higher education afterwards. Many people will be working, going to trade school, or even enlisting in the military. I think a lot of people in this town and this area seem to forget that, and honestly, how could one not? Wilton’s graduation rates and percentages of students who go to places of higher learning after Wilton High School are among the highest in the country. It is incredible, and something I know I take for granted at times, and I am sure some of my classmates and peers have at one time or another.

To clarify, the graduation and college attendance rates are phenomenal, and I am not saying these are bad things. Rather, I feel that a burden has been put on Wilton students, and it almost seems like a competition to get into the best, most well-regarded school there is, which in my opinion should not be what high school is about. Students should absolutely be motivated to work harder and achieve more in order to get into better schools or have better opportunities after high school, but in our society there is too much comparison and competition with one another. Students ought to find a school, or place, that is a great fit, and is somewhere they will enjoy their time. They ought not to search for destinations based solely off name recognition and how they correlate with test scores or grade-point averages. The college search is the search for a new home, not an institution worth bragging about to friends and family.

Too many times people have been talking about colleges and I have seen a person turn their nose up at a school that they have not heard of, or does not sound as prestigious as others. A parent in a conversation recently said to me “Yeah, when people ask where my kid is going to school next year I try to change the subject. People care too much about brand recognition and get very competitive. I tell them that I don’t know, and I just want him/her to go somewhere where he/she is happy.” When this person said this, it really opened my eyes up to this competitive aspect of the college search.

Also feel free to disagree, but after college, people do not get jobs solely based off of where they attend school, if at all. They get them based off of work ethic, attitude, and how one can apply his/her skills and knowledge to their field. There are plenty of options after high school to make a person grow and become more self-sufficient, whether it be the military, college, work, post-graduate years, or trade school. At the end of it all, students and my fellow Warriors should do what they feel is right, and what will make them happy, not miserable, just to satisfy expectations of the mob.

Alex Jacobson is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.