Beauty in competition

Alyssa Johnston, Junior Staff Reporter

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Sports. Tests. Kahoot. The sole basis of society is competition. It is everywhere: in the classrooms, on the fields, in households, online. In many cases, we don’t even realize that we are competing against one another.

Competition starts at home within families. In my family, I am one of three siblings and I am the only girl. My whole life I have competed against my older brother.

If Brandon would get on a sports team, then I would have to get on the better sports team. If Brandon got to sit in the front seat and feel like a grownup, then I would want to be able to sit in the front seat. This went on for everything: bedtimes, bed safety rails, being able to dress myself, being able to ride my bike without a helmet.

Everything in my life was a competition as I grew up, but it was good for me. I learned how to stand on my own quickly and to always strive to be the best I could be.

This competitive attitude that I gained at home transferred into school as well. Gym class, math class, science, or English—it didn’t matter what class, but we all competed against each other to be at the top of the class, the teacher’s favorite. I remember discussing different grades with my peers and trying to figure out who would get the correct answer and prove everyone else wrong. This was back in elementary and middle school.

Today at Mercy, my friends and I still practice this age-old competition; hoping to get the right answers and the best grades. Grades and wanting to be the best pushed us to compete against one another to become our best selves.

In middle school and high school, the competition became tougher as we were separated into AP, honors, regular, and concepts classes. I started taking “honors” math classes in 3rd grade, and by 6th grade we started honors English classes as well.

High school was completely new for me. There was a newfound pressure from my parents, teachers and my new counselor. It was a good kind of pressure however, allowing me to earn a grade, talk to someone about how I could improve and then actually work toward getting better.
Along with academics, high school brought a different challenge: competitive sports teams. I have been playing soccer since I was 2, but when I went to the Mercy soccer camp during the summer of 2015, I saw how good everyone was and I got nervous.

My timidness grew when we had our first soccer meeting and the coaches announced that there would be only two teams and multiple cuts. My first high school tryouts finally arrived and everyone battled to earn a spot on the team. I was ecstatic when I learned that I earned a spot on JV my freshman year, and I couldn’t wait to work my way up to VARSITY.

Sports and different class levels all lead up to the big moment of competition: applying to colleges. Scholarships are on the line and only a few spots are offered per school, and every senior is hoping to be in one of the spots to their dream school.

As you walk the halls of Mercy or scroll through your Instagram feed, you see and hear about the different acceptances people are receiving. This is one of the biggest competitions of all: to see who can get into the best programs in the best places.

All of these different competitive ways that people are brought up with are not bad. Yes, they can be stressful and tedious to maneuver your way through, but they are all pushing you to be your best self and to keep striving to achieve the greatest you can in life.

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