Why Are We So Impressed With Impressions?

June 28, 2008
By Arielle DiDonato, Philadelphia, PA

As a high school student, I feel that we are so happy go-lucky when it comes time to impress someone else. But why? Is there still a bit of social class distinction that we all yearn for from our great ancestors? Or is it the joy we get when we can be better than the Joe Shmoe next to us? But what exactly is that joy really composed of? Here are just some of my observations that I’ve made in my few, sixteen years of living.

Ever since the beginning of school days, as in first grade, I had a competitive edge. I had to have the neatest handwriting along with the most stars on that pointless chart our teacher kept, which would ultimately lead to the “best” student earning a crappy eraser that was equivalent to gold in our puny, first grade minds. So, now that I’ve given that short background on my - let’s say spirit - I will relate it to impressing people. Well how could we impress anyone without being competitive? If we weren’t competitive in achieving the highest grades, best job, first spot in Starbucks line, then there wouldn’t be much to impress others with, now would there? No.

As I have begun to embark on my collegiate journey - choosing schools, taking the SAT, the whole nine - I’ve come to learn one thing: we strive so hard to be perfect for such pointless reasons. Why do students care to impress admission officers more than they would their future wives, husbands, children, in-laws, bosses, etc.? Does it really make sense in the end? Because I certainly cannot fathom how some person would study for five hours a day, memorizing 3500 SAT “vocab” just to achieve a 2000+. For what? For what? For what?! Going to college isn’t going to instantly make you someone. You are going to be the force that makes you someone, can I get a duh? But I think I have found my answer. What is that you might say. To impress! There is absolutely no other reason that a student could pride themselves in getting a perfect SAT score, winning the national mathlete competition, creating the world’s most innovative robot, while managing seven AP courses unless they just desire that one gratifying moment of impressing someone. The thing that I seriously do not get is what is this joy made out of - what is it’s substance? Can nothing else make a student so joyous than an acceptance letter from a college ranked highly on U.S. Newsweek? Give me a break, please. The problem that is wrong with youth today is that we’re so obsessed with impressing others by wearing the latest trend, sporting the newest iPod, getting the highest grades, that our views of joy and happiness have become so distorted. It should seem like a no brainer that helping someone should make a person feel better than getting the highest grade on that super hard A.P. U.S. History test, yet it does not.

It is sad how misguided we, America’s youth have become. And I am not proclaiming my innocence. I’ll admit that fierce competitive nature that I developed in first grade, yeah, it is still with me today. Trust me, I get pissed just like you when I feel I am screwed out of the highest grade or distinction. It does, however, upset me that the majority of people’s feelings of happiness have been reduced to such unavailing means. I say people too because it is not just teens or students who feel this way, perhaps it is worse in the working world - I would not know for I do not hold a job at this very tender age of sixteen. Yeah, right. I am sorry that this mean seem like an incoherent rant of complete nonsense, but hopefully you will be able to adjust to my style and get a sense of what I am really trying to get across.

So as I conclude this big jumble of wordiness, I dare to propose a plan to you all. This plan is to just find something more satisfying than impressing someone because there is always going to be someone who can out-do you, who has a more competitive edge, and this, that, and the third. Find something that makes you, yes you, happy. If you do dare to complete the daunting task of reading all those classical novels to boost your critical reading score for that devil I like to call SAT, do it because it will make you happy, not some admission officer who could honestly careless about you. If you are going to turn down Harvard for that small college nobody knows of, then amen to you! Honestly, guys, the competitive nature thing gets old fast and is ever so hard to overcome. So, before you get too deep into impressing your peers, remember that little important thing you have forgotten so much about lately: yourself.

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This article has 2 comments.

Megan C said...
on Sep. 28 2008 at 5:01 pm
The only problem is that the world today needs to be impressed. People are so driven with competitive personalities and the need to impress others because it seems as though no one can make it unless they study all of that 'SAT' vocab, get 2000 on the SAT, go to that great school, and get that amazing job for that fancy house. The world we live in today is entirely flawed, causing all of our young minds direction and dreams to be flawed as well. My dream and goal is not to get all the right greats, and go to a great school. My dream is to be happy doing what I love, however, in today's world the only way you can do what you love is to make a lot of money. The world is too expensive to do otherwise. And to make a lot of money, we have to impress a lot of people. It is a long chain of events that could possibly never break, but only continue on for ages.

Good writing, and great focus. I completely agree. People most certaintly need to start thinking about themselves, however, I think it is impossible to do in the world we live in, and that, that is the saddest thing of all.

LisaMatt said...
on Aug. 15 2008 at 1:45 pm
I think that if we all follow Arielle's advice than we would all be

alot happier. Nice life, if you can get it.

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