Competition is healthy, but too much is detrimental

Competition is healthy, but too much is detrimental

One thing that has struck me since high school is that students, myself included, tend to care about “who has the most to do” or “who has the worst week ahead.”

My high school was competitive, a lot like Wake Forest, and the students often tried to one-up others by complaining about how much harder their week was going to be, or how many tests they had coming up.

It seemed as if we were striving to have  it “the worst.” It was always a competition for who had the toughest week ahead, but I always thought that we should be competing for the opposite. Instead of competing for the title of “the most to do” we should have been competing for who had “the least to do.”

But, that is not what a rigorous academic environment encourages.

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We wanted to beat our friends in who had the most to do because it seemed like it was a badge of honor to have it bad.

If we had more to do, then we were just a little better than our friends because we accomplished more that week. There was a sense of pride when it came to the challenge of the week and doing better than our friends.

An aspect of a competitive school is students fighting to be the best at overcoming challenges and handling copious amount of responsibilities.

We often say how hard the upcoming week is going to be and complain about what we have to do.

Acknowledging the hardships of what lies ahead is not bad, but I do not think we should fight for who has it the worst.

As Wake Forest students, we are in a competitive environment. Competition is one of the things that fuels our drive to succeed — and while it is not bad to have competition, there is a difference between healthy and unhealthy competition.

One result of unhealthy competition is the need to “show off” how hard we have it and that we can handle it better than everyone else.

Competition motivates us to work hard so that when we do graduate college, we come out of it with a good GPA and with the skills to succeed in the real world.

Having some competition surrounding us helps push us in the right direction. It helps push us to work a little harder. Knowing that I have to apply to the Business School makes me work a little harder in the pre-requisite courses because I know that the stakes are high.

However, too much competition can also cause us to crack and deters our success. 

When the competition is too high, we over-work ourselves by adding in extracurricular activities to fill our resumes, we take challenging classes so that our transcripts look good. We over-extend ourselves to set us aside from everyone else.

Competition can push us to the breaking point because we are constantly in fear that we are not good enough and do not have what it takes to stand out.

We should be working in an environment where we are pushed by our peers, but not to the point that we are fighting them for a status of the worst work-load.

While it is important to face our challenges head on, we should not be bragging about how difficult it is.

There should not be this need to constantly one-up people by how much work you have; you should want to be able to brag (humbly) about how little work you have.

I want to be challenged, but I also do not mind having an easy time every once in a while. We do not need to be stressing 100 percent of the time — it is okay to relax, even in a competitive environment.

It is important to be in a place that challenges us and motivates us to succeed, but we should also understand the repercussions of too much, of overworking ourselves and the pressure that comes with competition.

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