HOW DO ASSUMPTIONS OF EXCELLENCE AFFECT UTS STUDENTS?
1. At UTS, this is just another example of inequality and unfair advantage. For those who live far away, taking the crowded subway every morning is a pain, and trying to complete homework on it is even more of a pain. But those who can afford to buy an apartment right beside UTS minimize their travel time, which can lead to an advantage over other students.
2. This picture reminds me that there are a lot of people in my grade and schoolhouse parents don't have time to pack lunch for them, so most days they have to buy an unhealthy but fairly cheap lunch to fill themselves, like instant noodles or pizza.
3. This is a picture of the math hallway on the 3rd floor of the UTS building. In the picture you can see the doors to the math classrooms and to the teachers office area. This picture relates to expectations at UTS because students are expected to love math and to be very good at it, especially the students in the Advanced math course. The math course is split into two different groups to help people who learn faster or slower, but that doesn't mean that the people who learn faster are all math geniuses and want to do math for the rest of their lives. This year my my math teacher forced me to participate in voluntary math contests, which I do not usually take because they cause me unnecessary stress and lower my self-esteem when I struggle the most out of everyone else in the room. I think that to help this situation, we should stop putting so much pressure on students to be good at math and give students who excel at art or humanities, for example, as much praise as we give the math students. Also, teachers can be allowed to try to push their students to challenge themselves, but they should not be allowed to force students into doing something they are not comfortable with, especially if the student has tried it before and still finds that they do not like it.
4. This is a photo of two posters advertising extracurricular events taped to the door of the staircase across from my locker. Every day, students are bombarded with emails inviting them to all sorts of clubs and events and surrounded by posters such as these ones. This puts a lot of pressure on students because, at UTS, we are expected to be well-rounded and have a strong line-up of extracurriculars. One of the most obvious issues here is time management: students are not only flooded with schoolwork, they already tend to overload on extracurricular activities. This leads to intense stress and many students have difficulty managing all of their commitments. However, regardless of responsibilities, we are constantly encouraged to join clubs and attend more events. And from what I've seen, if a student decides to have a lighter extracurricular load, they often feel inadequate when comparing themselves to their peers who have more going on. Admittedly, this advertising is useful - it spreads awareness about events going on and can be very helpful to students who are interested. However, we need to address the pressure put on students to have the most extracurriculars or the "best résumé."
5. Whenever I look at my calendar, it's always jam-packed with extra-curriculars, clubs, and assignment due dates, and it makes me quite stressed (and I'm certainly not the only one). To cope with that, I try to organize a few hours each weekend to relax and do different activities that relate to nature.