Celebrate Average

Celebrate Average

Veronica Liow, Managing Editor

We always hear stories about the student who is awarded with the President’s Service Award for completing 4,000 hours of community service or the student who is accepted into Harvard for early action, and that’s great that students strive to be better! Students who accomplish extraordinary things should be acknowledged for their contributions to the community. These people, after all, might be the ones who develop the cure to cancer or uncover the truth behind the universe. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the extraordinary.

But what about the ordinary? Why aren’t they celebrated?

Unfortunately, today’s society puts a negative connotation around the word, “average”, as if meeting the standards is no longer “enough”. You are told from a young age that you need to be special in order to be valued as a human being. Your parents and fellow peers expect you to be greater than you already are, whether that “greatness” is shown through taking six weighted classes or joining and actively participating in 20 clubs. They expect you to meet — if not surpass — these unreasonably high expectations.

You are told that if you do not get good grades to get into a good university to get a good job to get a good salary to raise kids, which you will eventually train to get good grades to get into a good university to get a good job, and so on, then you are not important enough to be celebrated. Society tells you that if you do not make an impact on the world, then you are not significant enough to be recognized.

But why?

To most simply put it, we want more. Generation after generation, society emphasizes the importance of improvement in the community, especially with so many fast-paced technological and medical advancements, which have suddenly become the “norm”. People who distinguish themselves by impacting others for the greater good are praised, and it is only human nature to want that affirmation.

In addition, no one wants to feel left behind. If the majority of your friends skip a grade in math, more likely than not, you will strive to do the same. There is this sense of being “not enough” that scares us as humans. We do not want to feel worthless.

Therefore, a large majority of us aim for more than what is expected. We want to feel like we are important to the community, as if that justifies our value as a human being.

Senior Ryan Sim, said, “Average is viewed as negative because people want to stand out. They are afraid of dying unrecognized and un-celebrated. They are afraid of anonymity. But in reality, most of us will never be Hollywood stars, never be in Time’s 100, never be President of the United States. But the difference we make in the world around us, the impacts we make on the people closest to us and the choices that we take will last forever.”

As Ryan said, the choices we make in our lives will continue to influence others. Sometimes, we are so focused on making huge impacts that we forget how huge of an impact seemingly small ones might have as well. Giving a small smile to a stranger in aisle seven of Safeway may make his entire day. Telling your teacher that you appreciate her for guiding you through that terribly difficult pre-calculus chapter may make her entire career. Little things like showing kindness, living a life of integrity etc. should be celebrated too! Why not celebrate compassion, integrity or other overlooked and seemingly average traits? Why not celebrate average?

Sophomore Robin Fu said, “Honestly speaking, we aren’t all born equal, and we don’t have equal chances no matter what is said of it. So what does it mean to be average? Like their title suggests, they’re ‘average’, but everyone has their own definition of average. And while they may be viewed as average because they aren’t the future CEO of Microsoft, or a ground-breaking scientist, the “average” should be celebrated because they can be extraordinary in their own ways. They are extraordinary for the life they’ve lived so far, and the life they will come to live. They are extraordinary for the experiences they’ve given others and the knowledge they’ve gained themselves. They are extraordinary for how they affect people, whether it is or is not recognized by the general public.”

Frequently, we forget or do not bother to care about the little things because they are so often ignored by our peers. In some cases, coming off as unnoticed serves as motivation to improve, and that’s amazing too! We shouldn’t condemn those who go above and beyond. People who work hard deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.

But what should you do if you are normal?

Do whatever you want.

Take on as many weighted classes as you want, even if that number amounts to zero. Join as many clubs as you want, even if that number amounts to zero too.

It is okay to be okay. Do not let people put you down for not exceeding their ridiculously high expectations. Do not let people make you feel as if you are worthless because you did not get above 2300 on the SAT. Your value as a human being is so much more than a couple of numbers or letters. It is not worth drowning under a pile of textbooks or suffocating under pressure and stress if what you are doing is not what you love or even like. You do not have to deprive yourself of basic necessities such as sleep, especially when you are on the verge of a breakdown in order to get that ‘A’ on your AP Euro test. So what if you only get a ‘C’? At the end of the day, you took care of yourself, and that is what matters most.