Saturday, October 15, 2011

We need the perfect balance

*The post below may have some contradicting thoughts. I have multiple different feelings towards this topic, and I didn't know how to express them all.

The day has come. You're sitting in class, waiting for your test to be passed back when you hear "Crap. What the heck? Oh my god! He's just such a bad teacher! This is all his fault. He never teaches us anything. Gahhh! I hate my life." I'll even admit that I've said stuff similar to that before. But really...think about it. Is it honestly the teacher's fault?'s ours.

There are people who walk into school Monday and are like "Holy crap I still have so much homework. I just did not have time to do it over the weekend." And then you hear that they were having sleepovers and hanging out with their friends. Like REALLY? Just stay home over the weekend and catch up. It's not going to kill you. You brought this upon yourself. I don't find it annoying when people have legitimate reasons (such as family emergencies, extracurriculars, stuff like that) but if they are just going out and having fun, then I truly do not care if they are swamped with homework.

I'm not saying that everyone is like that though. In the documentary Two Million Minutes, they portray American students as complete slackers. Yes, there are people like the ones that I described in the paragraphs above. But in reality, the majority of us aren't. Most of us know how to balance our social life and academic life. Our lives aren't focused around school 24/7, but that doesn't mean that we don't care. Also, unlike the students in India and China, we do stuff like volunteering to help our community. This will prepare us for life in the real world, and help others in the process. When they said that American's ranked highest in self confidence, I took that as a good sign--but not in a cocky way. If you feel good about yourself and believe that you can accomplish something, then that will bring you to push for what you want.

Furthermore, I don't think that it is sufficient to just be book smart. If you are socially inept, how are you supposed to go through an interview and get a job? You need a balance of intelligence and self confidence.

I'm not saying that we don't have room to improve though. We can still do much better, and use time wiser. At least I know that I could. I often get distracted while doing homework. And I can see students at Wayzata totally slacking off. If you are failing even the most basic classes, then I don't even know what to say. That takes skill. The students in China and India may not have had as much fun, but I mean let's face it. They have amazing work ethic. Do you wake up in the morning and do 3 hours of homework before breakfast and then multiple more hours of homework and studying  like that girl in India? on a SATURDAY? No? Didn't think so.

 But then again, why would you want to? You see, my opinions are rocking back and forth. I feel like this blog post is kind of wishy washy. I want to side with both sides. For one thing, I feel like the importance of school has been ignored more and more nowadays. It seems that the social scene has taken over in America as a whole.  Students need to buckle up and reconsider the choices they are making. But on the other hand, I don't like how they are bashing the students in America. I dislike how the focus of the documentary was that American students are complete lazy bums and are losing their competitive edge.

Lastly, I'd just like to point some stuff out. As a Chinese American, it bothers me when people laugh at the kids in China or talk bad. To be honest, at first I was embarrassed by watching it. Why did they have to portray China so negatively? Not everyone is a nerd who makes tests for fun. But then I thought about it more, and realized that I should be proud of them. They didn't do anything to me. They didn't do anything to you. They're working hard and what are you doing? Oh yeah. Laughing at them. Not cool. Yes, they could get a life, but oh well. It's just different cultures. And when you point out that they actually didn't get into the school they wanted to go to. Okay, let's think about this. There's almost five times as many people in only the best of the best of the best can go to the top schools that they were trying to get into. If the kids there don't study their butts off then they will have zero chance into getting into any prestigious college, or college at all, because some other kid WILL be studying their butt off, and their score for the college entrance exam will beat the score of the one who wasn't studying. And then they won't be able to go into whatever school. Because in China, colleges base their entire decision off of your college entrance exam score. In the movie, there was probably just some other kid who was smarter than them, so they couldn't get into the college they wanted to. The competition there is one hundred times worse than it is here. So stop making fun of them for doing what they do. They know that to be successful in their country, they need to study like crazy. I'm not saying that they are perfect or that students in America are stupid. But I just needed to let this out and clarify why these teens need to do this. I WISH that I was as smart as them. But I'm not. Not even close. 

All in all though, I feel that this documentary doesn't tell the audience the entire story. It's based off of the situations of only six teenagers and they definitely do not represent every student in their countries. 


  1. You bring up a good point when you say that being book smart isn't enough! It's so true that a balance is needed because people don't want to work with someone who isn't good at communicating with others.

    I know exactly how you feel when people laugh at the kids in China. It's so offensive that some people think it's a joke that they have to study that hard. And I also agree that they depicted China in such a bad way. It almost felt like the creators of the documentary were making fun of Chinese culture.

  2. I feel like your opinion is shared by many people in America. They can admit that we have a problem in the education system, but they also say we need the social aspect of life as well. It is all about moderation, just like life. You need to find a balance or you won't be able to reach your potential. Colleges don't only look at grades, but they also look at extra curricular activities. It shows that everyone is looking for a balance.

  3. Like Becky said, there is way more competition in China to get into all of those schools. I think to get into the best of the best, Chinese kids have to have the flawless grades, and be well-rounded. Is that even possible? And we think kids here have it hard to balance. With all of the competition there, it seems pretty impossible to maintain perfect grades and be well-rounded. It all depends on what Chinese universities are looking for -- well rounded kids or the smartest ones.

  4. I totally agree with you what students blame their teachers for everything and at the same time, they don't do the work they need to do. LIke you said, they are having sleepovers with their friends or out partying the night away instead of doing school work.

    I also agree with you that the documentary dosnt portray both sides of the argument effectively and fairly. They only show that bad sides of the American students and only the good sides of the foreign students. What they should've done was show both the good and bad sides of both the foreign and American students.

  5. I agree with all of your comments, and especially with the fact that we can all improve. I'm not saying we should study as much as the indians and chinese kids but we should be able to improve to some extent rather than completely wasting our days watching TV or playing games.