I am in agreement that this university, and every university, should push its students to excel in all facets. After all, it is a privilege to attend college, so I agree with the editorial that official university policies should reflect this goal of excellence. However, I take pause at the editorial’s assertion that the culture of this university is a core part of the issue.
My experience at the university has been highlighted by community members that care about the success of their peers as well as their own in the classroom, in the community and in preparation for life after graduation. This stands in stark contrast to the competitive atmosphere of high school, where, in my experience, the “Be the best at all costs” culture led to rampant academic dishonesty, anxiety among students and disrespect toward less successful peers.
I understand my evidence is anecdotal at best. But it is shortsighted for the editorial board to suggest that a culture that “pushes students to compete with each other” is the key to unlocking broader academic success. Moreover, this does not consider how the cooperative culture we have at the university sets us apart from other “comparator institutions” in factors not reflected in GPA.
Brendan Laux is a junior at the university. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.