Overachievers: Driven to Success, or into the Ground?

Meena Sharma, Feature Writer

Ambitious and determined.

Overachievers have always been viewed as the people who are set for life, but this is not the only aspect of what they experience.

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of what you can handle. Some people can push themselves to the limit and feel fulfilled, while others could feel pressured into pushing themselves to the limit, and be unable to handle it,” says Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rahul Sharma.

Overachievers are students who exert excessive effort into their school work in order to obtain outstanding results. The pursuit of perfection is often clouded by

Negative effects of being an overachiever do exist in the process of achieving  the positive outcomes that they experience.  

Stress, anxiety, and depression, are a few of the consequences what overachievers often experience. They are more susceptible to these conditions for reasons such as not meeting expectations that are set for them.

“I do think I have more stress than a ‘normal’ student,” freshman Lara-Nour Walton explains. “I also feel like I’m sleep deprived at times.”

Overachievers are concerned with exceeding their standards, they will contribute their time towards academics, extracurriculars, and other activities they take part in, which deprives them of social activities and, more importantly, sleep.

Some students don’t feel the pressure that comes with being an “overachiever”, the stress they endure causes them to commit to their work and their effort pays off.

“I do well in school, and I feel that will help me be more successful in the future,” freshman India Aaron says. Aaron cannot recall when she gained this ambitious way of facing life, as it is the only version of herself that her and her family are aware of.

If a student is highly devoted to their work, the higher chance they have of being accepted into subjective colleges, getting  jobs, and being prosperous overall. Overachieving also crosses over to extra-curricular activities, as they contribute to one’s success.

“I am trying to become an active member at ETHS,” Walton says.

Many overachievers have their eyes set on a certain college or career, and feel as if exceeding standards will help them achieve this goal.

According to Psychology Today, our culture values success at early ages, which leads to unhealthy amounts of stress and competition among teens.  Furthermore, overachieving is linked to perfectionism, which leads to disappointment for minor things, like getting an A- rather than an A+. This is because overachievers judge themselves too harshly, and when they perform well, they still don’t feel accomplished.

Regardless, strong ambition is a valuable trait to have. Ambition is linked to more opportunities, confidence and self esteem. Depending on the student and the circumstances, the side effects of overachieving can manifest in different ways. If the student feels pressure to get good grades and perform high, it is more likely that they will be negatively influenced. The reverse is true for students who are self-motivated and can handle the effort they put into being a perfectionist. Setting challenging goals is essential for growth and learning, but there is a limit to what is healthy and what is detrimental to your wellbeing.

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