It’s All Relative

There is a counterculture emerging in the halls of Hockaday caused by our upperclassmen. Though recently, the “It Gets Better Campaign” on YouTube, which features adults of the LGBT community consoling those younger than them and encouraging them to know that bullying is only temporary, has become popular, our Upper School student body has recently adopted a culture of striking fear into younger students about their future workload by saying that, to their misfortune, their lives will only get worse as they get older.

This message that each year is harder can be seen not only in blatant statements that undermine underclassmen’s morale, but also in subtle gestures: eye rolls, dismissive gestures and other condescending actions. Comparing these different stages of life isn’t a fair assessment of workload because it is all relative. You wouldn’t snap at a kindergartener for worrying about getting a gold star, so don’t criticize a freshman who’s worried about her Freshman Research Paper—it was a big deal to you then, too.

While we concede that there are two pinnacles of potentially incomparable stress within every high-schooler’s career, standardized testing and college applications, these are the only exceptions. Yes, writing an eight-page paper for Mr. Kramer the night before it is due is a big deal, but so is writing a four-page paper over a week to someone three years your junior.

If we make out each year to be harder and less satisfying than the last, we only discourage those younger than us rather than inspire them. Each year naturally entails more work at a higher quality—why would we even be in school if it didn’t?

It’s important for us to maintain a sense of community within the school. Each year, girls should look forward to the next, knowing that they’re ready and that the new privileges they will receive make the heavier workload worthwhile. Sure, seniors have college applications, but they also get to go off campus for lunch. It all balances out.

High school is a climb, but the higher you climb and further you get, the more experienced you are for the challenges ahead. So next time someone younger than you voices their seemingly trivial complaints, help to pull them up rather than knock them down.