F is for Fear of Failure


A is for academic validation, the circumstance in which students covet for the feeling of self-satisfaction upon having an achievement, receiving an exemplary grade, or some other form of deteriorating their time, mentality, and emotional capacity, for the sake of academia.

Various reasons and factors have been attributed as to why students crave, and even become addicted, to academic validation. There is a societal perspective that those who are good in school are to be commended and praised, there is the parental pressure that is placed on the student that they eventually adapt as their own pattern of thinking, and there is the fear of failure and what that might lead to.

What isn’t considered, however, is the copious amounts of work and stress on the student. Not until it’s too late. When they internalize that praise, especially from a young age, they base their identity and self-worth mostly, or even entirely, on their academic success. Their life outside of school, their emotional, mental, and physical, health, their social life, is inconsequential, and not prioritized.

The validation has its positive effects too. In this situation, in the sense that it serves as a motivation for students to strive for success, that it enhances their self-esteem and adds to their self-fulfillment.

However, the psychological effects of academic validation being tied to one’s self identity is damaging, to say the least. It’s long-term and worryingly continuous. One could start thinking that how much they are worth is solely based off their academic performance, or that their grades are what define them, that if they have inadequate marks that they must be a bad person.

The price for academic validation is the well-being of an individual. Academics are undoubtedly important, but it mustn’t eclipse the other aspects of one’s life. Students are more than their grades, they have so much more they can possibly offer, if they refocus their attention and energy elsewhere, and not solely on school.