THE BLOG
06/15/2009 08:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What's So Wrong With Overachievement?

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Erin Bilir

I guess you could say I'm that teenager. You know, the one who's overambitious, over stimulated, and overworked. I get straight A's, I participate in extracurricular activities, and I hold myself to a high standard in everything I do.

If you were to travel down the halls of my high school, you'd find it brimming with lovesick young couples, making out, holding hands, and engaging in other, even more embarrassing public displays of affection. And then you'd find me, curled up in a locker bank poring over a copy of "The Sound and The Fury."

What most people tend not to understand, is I am engaging in a subtler form of PDA. To me, my love of learning is really no different than the feeling other teens have for a certain sport, art form, or high school sweetheart.

So why is it that while others are applauded for following their hearts and pursuing their passions I find myself condemned...stigmatized. Many adults in my life, even my parents and some of my teachers, say the same thing: "Slow down...life isn't all about getting an A." I know they all care about me, but still, some of them would love nothing more than to see me fail. Not because they're cruel or anything, but because they want to me to know that "life will go on." They wish I'd go to parties, jump up and down at concerts, exchange text messages, and meet up with girlfriends at the Starbucks to talk about Zac Efron. If I were messing up and testing my boundaries and authority, I guess I'd seem more normal.

But I have a big goal. And it's not about making money, or having a big important title, or getting into a specific college. My dream, my most secret hope, is to be someone extraordinary, someone who has actually done something of importance for this world.

It's a little embarrassing, but I have a poster of Mohandas Gandhi hanging on my wall. Every morning when I wake up, before I go to take that test or to hand in that essay, I see that picture and I remember why I'm getting up in the first place. Come to think of it, couldn't Gandhi be considered a bit of an overachiever himself?

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