By: Anndrea Vasquez
Erika quickly boards her usual 7:40 train, while simultaneously finishing one of her chapters due for her AP Literature class. She begins to go over her day in her head. AP Lit, AP Chem, and later AP Gov. Each class is a college course, with vigorous lessons and intense readings each day. Once she arrives at school, she is greeted by her peers who question her about the Peer Advocate box decorating activity that she was supposed to complete, and promises she’ll get it done that night. It also comes to mind that she has to finish making posters for Student Council at lunch. She also makes a mental note about attending the Latin dance club after school. At 3:05, she not only has Latin dance after school but also has to head to volunteering at the local library, as soon as she leaves. She spends the rest of her night doing her piles of homework and sleeps around 2. She restarts her day at 7:00 a.m.
Now the question is, what drives these overachievers? What pushes them, and what is their ultimate goal? I took to the students of APB to find out. The assumption of an overachiever is usually a high school senior, or junior, which is usually true, but what about the students starting early, and are already one step ahead? After speaking to several freshmen, Aaleiyah Armadan is said to be known as the overachiever in her 9th-grade class. After asking what drives Aaleiyah, she said: “What drives me is my mom and my family because they push me to do my best.” Aaleiyah continued with, “I also like to perfect the stuff that I enjoy and be sure I do everything to the best of my ability.” Although 9th grade doesn’t provide as rigorous courses as 12th grade, Aaleiyah does find herself becoming loaded with work. “I find school easy, so far, but there are times where things get overwhelming and I find my own ways to cope with it.” Aaleiyah is excited for the rest of her future at APB and hopes to continue being an APB scholar.
Yuliana, a 12th grader, has a completely different reason for being an overachiever. Yuli is taking 4 AP’s this year and has already completed 3 from her junior year. With this, Yuli says she knows no limits and feels that although she knows she is an overachiever, she sees herself as a bad overachiever. Reason being, Yuli swamps herself with work and doesn’t manage her time well. She also enjoys striving and taking difficult classes because she loves a challenge and enjoys trying new things. Yuliana’s reason for being so driven is similar to many students at APB; undocumentation. Yuli was born in Mexico, and because of this, always goes the extra mile. “When I was in elementary school, I had a lot of trouble learning English, and I would go to school Monday through Friday, but I would also have to stay an extra hour of tutoring. I am extremely good at writing essays now and when I receive the praise it feels wonderful knowing I’ve come so far from where I began.” Yuliana also added, “…being an illegal immigrant, I understand that to move up in the world and be valued equal to someone who was born here, I need to show that I am willing to take challenges and take those extra steps in my education.” Yuli obviously is very involved in school, and because of this, hopes to receive scholarships in the future and be accepted into her dream colleges, all a result of her hard work.
To continue with 12th-grade overachievers, Karina Cruz is the overachiever of APB.
Karina has taken six AP classes and is number one in her 12th-grade class. After asking Karina what drives her, she claimed to get into Ivy League schools like Princeton, Harvard and Columbia was her main goal. Karina also stated that she enjoys achieving because “…I love knowing my hard work was worth it. What drives me to be number one is just the fact that I can do it, even if it’s hard, nothing else is stopping me.” With an attitude such as hers, Karina will continue to soar in her following academics. Karina is also good with her time management, stating that “I wanted to take all seven AP’s, but I also have a job and I didn’t want to risk failing other classes.” Karina hopes to get into all the colleges she applied for and is continuing to excel in her last year of high school.
Being an overachiever is hard work, and takes a lot of time and energy. Striving to the top is always competitive but can be extremely rewarding, and in the future, students should expect to see the same competitiveness in college, and careers. Overachievers have different drives and separate means of why they do what they do. In both 9th and 12th grades, achieving just feels good. So what drives overachievers? It can be family, documentation, getting into prestigious schools, but each person has their own reason and each should be praised. So, cheers to the overachievers who work hard and don’t get enough sleep. Keep doing what you do.