Spring Cleaning: Let’s get rid of the ‘overachiever’ stigma


Kernel Opinion SIG

Somewhere around week five of the semester is when that extra espresso in your coffee at 5 p.m. is totally acceptable because you’re not going to sleep anyway and the beautiful 100 percent you had in the class drops to an 80 for God knows what reason (but truthfully, we all know it’s because you slept through your alarms and missed attendance).

We’ve all been there: Showing up to class late and not even trying to apologize anymore because you’ve run out of creative excuses and you care less and less about your papers that are piling up with spite on the corner of the kitchen table. Somewhere around this time, when most of your classmates have this attitude, is when you’re singled out as an “overachiever” if you still care about your work and grades. And somehow, this is now a negative thing.

Somewhere along the way, the exhaustion we all experience as college students became a unifying topic that made some care less about why we’re here: to learn. Not just to pass classes and check off requirement boxes, but to truly learn. And we can only do that by truly caring. Exhaustion has evolved into apathy and is uniting friend circles around campus for all the wrong reasons. We have to end this.

We must get rid of the immature jabs at other students who show interest in pouring energy into a paper, class discussions or a project. When “Let’s go hang tonight” is met with “No, I have to study” and somehow, the person studying is the “boring” person, we have a societal problem. Learning should never be treated as something that’s out of style. I know, I know, I can see the eye rolls now.

I’ve been told by friends, family and even mentors that I am an overachiever. I’m curious when caring became so unfashionable? If you follow my columns, you know that I will always urge self-care and a focus on mental health and relaxation. But I also urge you to knuckle down and give 100 percent to your classes and to your college experience. We’re not here to make friends and party (though those are nice perks). We’re here to lay the foundation for a successful and dynamic career where we can make a difference on our world.

Have fun. Party. Make friends. But care about your grades, too. Take time to study and pour energy into classes. In 20 years, don’t be like the person in the limelight that you may criticize now for lack of clear thought. Learn now how to be a well thought-out and intelligent human being. You can only do that through applying yourself and owning the label of “overachiever” as something to be proud of.