Versatility > Individuality

Michaela Reid, Op-ed

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As a competitive student or just as a person, I feel that I have been told to strive for two completely opposite goals before the end of high school. “ Be well rounded” and  “Be an individual”, meanwhile I have never understood how to balance it out in my life.

While it is ideal the attain individuality and well-roundness, sometimes that’s not  possible for every student. Students are often convinced that they must be one over the other.

I’m conflicted because I think that being an individual is more valuable in life, but colleges seem to think otherwise. What colleges supposedly want seems to be the driving factor that influences a lot of students’ lives.

Often, students don’t reach out or research early enough to figure out what their dream colleges want from them. Discussing courses that would pertain to a major shouldn’t seem like such a crazy idea. For example, if a student wanted to major in art related studies, why would they take any extremely hard AP science classes.

If you are a competitive student, you might fall into the trap of having AP classes across the board for multiple years and end up feeling overwhelmed and unsure about which topic you actually like. The stress formed can cloud what you truly enjoy in school.

That’s why balance is key: you can do what you love. I want to finish my high school career feeling like I know a little bit more about myself and what I want to do with my life as opposed to simply feeling like a robot who can manage a lot of stress.

So what do colleges want from students? For some clarity, College Counselor Kevin Coy expresses his point of view on what colleges want to see more of: well-roundedness or a standout individual.

“ For that student that doesn’t know what they want to do, that well roundness is extremely beneficial,” Coy said. “Everyone wants to be that standout individual but everyone’s path is going to be different.”

One interesting notion that he mentioned was that bigger scholarships essentially equate to higher GPAs, however one could’ve taken all CPs and received a 4.0. This would not better prepare you for college in the long run or in higher level skills that you need for life in general.

Life’s success can often be attributed to being able to see the larger picture. If a student only sees the immediate goal of going to college for free by being that standout individual, they might never have the versatility to possibly change their major or the ability to cope with different types of challenges.

The goal even farther ahead is to be employable by the time you leave college, thus the question should be what college is right for you, not what kind of student do colleges want you to be.

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Versatility > Individuality