OPINION: The “honors kid” mindset


Lauren Hoogeveen, Page Editor

In second or third grade, I remember being pulled out of class to join the honors math class for their lesson. When the teacher asked me a question and I didn’t know the answer, I became frustrated and started crying. Although I don’t particularly recall being upset about continuing regular math class, I do remember how embarrassed I felt getting a question wrong in front of the “smart kids.” From parents asking the school for their children to be put in the honors program to hearing students stress about college in middle school, it was apparent from an early age how competitive school quickly became.

Over the years, I started to notice major differences between my honors English classes and regular classes. A lot of kids would set extremely high expectations for themselves and deemed anything below those expectations as “bad.” While I’ll sometimes think a grade is “bad” when it really is not, over the past couple years I began to realize how toxic this mindset could be to my peers. Overhearing conversations about “bad” GPAs and taking certain classes versus others started to make me feel insecure about my own intelligence. 

Earlier this year, I started talking to some of my teachers about the culture of MHS and how students put so much stress on every little assignment. I remember Mr. Barnes told me that one day we’ll all get to college and realize that not everyone puts in the same effort to end up at the same place. That conversation reminded me that my entire intelligence isn’t determined by whether or not I’m in all honors classes or what grade I got on a paper. After that, I became more comfortable with where I was in my education and overall felt more confident in my work.

Although it took me some time, I came to the cheesy realization that everyone is truly smart in their own way. As long as I am proud of the work I do and strive to be better at the things I may struggle with, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. It’s extremely important to find balance—not everyone is the type of student that spends their free Saturday night squeezing in some extra studying. Just because you didn’t take as many AP classes as the kid that sits next to you at lunch, doesn’t make you unintelligent.