It’s Time to Break the Straight-A Student Stereotype

Monday, April 05

By Rocio Mourelos

They keep their notebooks up to date and their cases filled with pens. They use glasses and antique clothing. They’d rather spend their free time reading or using a computer, and they’d never join any sports team. Is this real life or the introduction of a Wattpad fan fiction in which One Direction decides to adopt a 16-year-old nerd?

Throughout the years, straight-A students were characterized like this in every book, movie, or TV show, which made the stereotype surpass the screen. Why does this happen, though? Do people attribute those characteristics to straight-A students because they are jealous of their success? Or because they feel guilty for their lack of success or because they simply don’t know how nerds do it? Nevertheless, I believe this misconception has begun to disappear. Maybe people are slowly realizing that the successful adults in life were sometimes straight-A students.

A straight-A student is not necessarily a nerd. A great majority of these students are very talented. They, more or less, know what they want to do or become. Desire to do this is their leading character. They have overcome laziness and now strive for their goal. These people are more focused than everyone. Why is this, though? Have they suddenly decided this was their personality? Not really. While little thought is given to the realities behind a high-achieving student's life, society can tend to focus on what it believes to be the consequences of such devotion to studies. Straight-A students are expected to be boring; that they work too hard and play too little. Straight-A students never take the time to let their hair down and relax; they have to constantly push for that A. Many students are pressured to get high notes and keep an outstanding level. This pressure often comes from their parents, or even from their own teachers who are always expecting them to be perfect. This makes them disciplined, hard-working, and active, but could also get them stressed. Really stressed.

This talk of pressure is only one side of the conversation, however. Imagine walking down the sidewalks of school, can you tell which students get straight-A’s? Do they walk with their heads held higher or with an extra bounce in their step? Most likely not, but that doesn’t mean they are not completely proud of themselves on the inside. With that amount of pride and sense of accomplishment, there are bound to be some big disappointments. Getting a B in the middle of plenty of As might seem like a failure for these students, which is totally not. Having different grades is completely normal, and fine.

Despite the stress, pressure, and negative stereotypes; the perceptions of straight-A students are certainly not without their positive elements. Most people view students with high GPAs as very smart, dedicated, and determined individuals. But some may wonder if it’s all really worth it. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. Everyone admires a student that gets straight-A’s, but it seems like few people actually want to give up the time and effort it takes. No one wants to be that boring student. And this is why we should break the Straight-A student stereotype. We need people in schools devoting their minds to education. Of course, they don’t need to have this state of mind 24/7, since that wouldn’t be healthy. But incentivizing students to work hard in order to succeed should be an everyday practice for teachers and school workers. They could also need to be taught how to balance school and their social lives, so as to make the best out of both, at the same time. Along with this, cracks between teenagers’ bonds due to this stereotyping could be closed, as they would stop looking at each other differently, just because someone is carrying more books than another one.

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