It's time to face growing expectations
As we grow older, expectations seem to grow higher and higher. For high school students — some entering our first year and others entering our last — this statement is proving to be more and more true. Yet what are the expectations being placed upon us? And who are the ones placing them?
"Both ourselves and the people around us set our expectations," answered Live Oak High School junior Janet Acosta. Those include doing well in school, staying out of trouble and doing the right things so the younger generation has a good example to follow, she explained.
It seems that this list sums up what teachers and parents stress to students, especially those in senior high. "They come as children and leave as young adults," said LOHS principal's secretary Linda Downs when describing the transition from junior through senior high.
For Downs, her expectation is for the students to grow. "What you give is what you are going to receive," she said.
Respect is also an important characteristic that shapes students through the process of high school, Downs said. If you expect more out of students, you will get more — but if you expect less, you will get less. Therefore, expectations need to be higher, so that when students leave high school, they will leave fully grounded in what it means to have responsibility.
Responsibility is an important facet in the becoming of a high school student: No longer are classes decided for us, and no longer are we as reliant on our parents as we once were. We must now make our own decisions and decide for ourselves what we will or will not accomplish.
If that expectation of responsibility is just one that someone else places upon us, however, it will never be grasped; we must have that expectation for ourselves.
"If you don't have expectations, you are not going to achieve your goals," said Jasmin Acosta, a senior at LOHS.
Until we set our own expectation of responsibility and personal growth, we will never have the motivation to reach those goals. It is not by others but by ourselves that we choose to do the things we do. It is by our choices and our actions that we accomplish things, not by others doing it for us, however influential they might be.
Yet until we realize this and apply it, we will never have goals. Goals are endpoints toward which our efforts are directed.
So where will your future be directed? As high school students, that is the main question posed, and the answer is not hard to find: It lies between our reluctance to have responsibility and our willingness to accept it.
Jacqueline Mullen is a senior at Live Oak High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.