As many of us can attest to, high school students put a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed. The future is a daunting idea to entertain, and feeling the need to be perfect in school doesn’t help with this stress. But, this pressure can also push students to work harder, try things out of their comfort zone, and get used to the struggles people face after high school. At Berkeley High School, academic competitions are a way that students can gain immense knowledge of a subject in a supportive team environment that makes learning fun.
Some of the competitions that are available at BHS include the Mathletes Club, Spelling Bee, Debate Club, and Model UN. To learn more about academic competitions, I interviewed Anoushka Chitnis who is a senior on Mathletes. She has been a part of the club since ninth grade and has participated in math competitions. For Chitnis, seeing other student’s accomplishments was really inspiring and drove her to put in more work studying. She talked about her experience as a freshman on the team, “There would be multiple teams from our school, so everyone was allowed to compete … being part of (Mathletes) pushed me to want to be one of them, and like, want to be one of the best and so then I’d review math and just work harder for it.” It isn’t so much about negative comparison as it is about seeing the potential that you have.
Another major benefit of academic competitions is that students learn a lot about the subject. Sure, there are advanced classes offered, but these clubs give you even more immersive study of the topic and the competitive aspect keeps students interested in a way that classes don’t for many people. For kids who don’t have an athletic passion but still have a competitive drive, these sorts of competitions are an outlet for that competitive spirit.
During academic competitions, there is a large chance that you will lose at least once during the time that you participate. It can be disheartening, but it can also push you to be more prepared for the next one. For some students, losing isn’t something that they are very used to. Gaining this experience and learning how to maturely deal with it is an important life skill that is vital to being a successful adult. Learning how to lose in academic competitions is a good way for students to learn how to push through disappointments and continue to work hard.
It may seem like these kinds of competitions add unnecessary stress, but they help students to get better at subjects while enjoying the learning process and push them to strive for greatness. Students deserve the opportunity to work for a goal that will showcase and improve their skills. Without these challenges, there is no drive.