Academic performance


Hannah Potter. Photo by Yousuf El-Jayyousi

Yousuf El-Jayyousi

[vc_empty_space height=”30″][vc_separator color=”chino” style=”shadow”][vc_empty_space height=”30″]Completing one of the highest mathematics courses offered in college, Differential Equations, in his freshman year, sophomore Leo Zhuang is known by his friends as well as acquaintances for his skill in mathematics. So much so that he feels other aspects of his, such as his personality, are simply disregarded when he is asked time after time what level of math he is enrolled in.
Zhuang generally does not feel affected by the pressure enough to change the way he performs or the courses he takes. Although he does feel there is an expectation for him to perform well, he generally feels motivated by it. However, at other times, it makes his interests, such as math, feel like a job or chore in order to continue to try to impress other students and teachers.
While he is generally regarded as someone successful in math, Zhuang said many times after tests he is told by fellow students that he would be the one to “wreck the curve” by scoring 100 percent. This puts even more pressure on him to live up to such expectations.
“Honestly, nothing really matters unless it impacts me on an intrinsic level,” Zhuang said, “The only thing that can impact me on that level is myself. If I don’t view myself in a positive manner, that’s what will really hurt me.”[vc_empty_space height=”30″][vc_separator color=”chino” style=”shadow”][vc_empty_space height=”30″]Always striving to push herself to the limit, senior Gretchen Cone has tried her best to work hard through the courses she has enrolled in her four years at RBHS.
Cone feels directly affected by the people she hangs out with. She says that many of her friends are very smart, causing her to feel as though she is at a much lower level academically. She also believes her appearance has had a role in her academic achievement.
“I am a blond, so ever since I was little there has always been that stigma,” said Cone
Over her high school career, Cone has tried to take an AP class and honors classes each year because he feels the need to appear to be the best. Because of this she was not always able to get the grade she wanted for herself. She now feels that had she not given into the pressure she would have been able to attain a much higher GPA than she has now.
“I kept taking those classes because I wanted to keep that image up and wanted to be able to say that I am in an AP class,” said Cone.
Although this has sometimes motivated Cone in her school work, when the workload piles up at the end of the year, she feels “paralyzed” and has difficulty putting her best work forward. She does, however, believe that this experience has forced her to learn time management skills.
While Cone believes that most see her as someone with high academic achievement due to her ability to articulate her words carefully in discussions during class, she knows that her fellow students sometimes see some of her work as subpar due to its quantitative score. This causes her to worry about her academic appearance to others, especially to the general student body.
“You walk through the halls and you just don’t want people to look at you and already have a list of all the things possibly wrong,” Cone said. “That’s been something since I was little, just because there’s always been people better at things than I am.”[vc_empty_space height=”30″][vc_separator color=”chino” style=”shadow”][vc_empty_space height=”30″]With a passion for humanitarian topics and global issues, junior Hannah Potter feels a strong ground in English and foreign language related subjects because of their open ended assignments and topics.
While Potter does not see herself as exceptionally smart, other students do come to her for help, even when she may not always have an answer. As a result, she says that she feels an enormous amount of pressure to always be right and to know the answer.
“With their expectation of me, I don’t want to let people know that I’m not perfect all the time,” said Potter
Regardless of whether it’s her friends or family, Potter always feels the pressure to perform at the top level that she can reach. She finds this motivates her with the expectations people have for her academic performance.
Potter said she continually takes honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses which she would otherwise not have taken if it were not for the pressure to keep a perfect image of herself.
Although she hopes that people see her as someone who can challenge herself, Potter believes that overall she is seen as an average person who fits in with the crowd academically.Despite the hours she spends on school work, she also feels pressure to reach the expectations her teachers place on her.
“I hate to disappoint my teachers,” Potter said, “So if I write an essay or do poorly on a test I get really afraid of them judging me and thinking that maybe I was too smart or they no longer trust me academically.”