Academic Validation and the Student Struggle
Everyone wants to feel accepted by those around them. Whether it’s someone complimenting a drawing that you spent a lot of time on or recognizing the effort you put into your outfit one day. It makes us feel special when someone else acknowledges and approves of us. Academic validation is exactly this, students wanting to be praised for their achievements and success. It brings a warm feeling of pride when someone, especially teachers and guardians, acknowledges a student’s remarkable performance in school.
Some people may think that students who seek academic validation are at an advantage. They have motivation to study endlessly or to stay up until early morning working on an essay, just to receive a high mark and for their hard work to be appreciated. Nevertheless, I believe that this is a misconception, and students who search for academic validation face many challenges.
Wanting to have the best grades sets students up for disappointment when they cannot reach the high expectations for themselves. They begin to feel as if their worth is dependent on their academic success, and this may lead to problems with how they perceive themselves. In other words, academic validation influences students to strive for perfection, but tears down their self-esteem in the process.
Along with the self-esteem issues that academic validation may bring, it also brings unnecessary stress to students. Students who crave academic validation often end up over-working themselves to achieve what they want. They may begin to neglect their health and to drown themselves in extra work, all for the positive reinforcement that comes with getting the top grades.
And to add on to the obstacles that arise from academic validation, students may begin comparing their grades to others. Instead of reflecting on their past mistakes and working to make improvements, students may become less eager to try their best when they see their peers attaining higher grades than themselves.
Trying to overcome the desire for academic validation can be hard, because students have become used to anticipating the best from themselves. It’s okay to make mistakes, because they’re a learning experience that helps you grow and improve. In the end, grades shouldn’t be more important than your health and well-being, and you should be proud of yourself for all that you’ve accomplished no matter what.
By Jelena Mandic