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Student Adversity

In: English and Literature

Submitted By pandanic
Words 1029
Pages 5
Nicholas Nguyen
Professor Wagenhoffer
English 100
19 September 2014

Humans have a natural affinity towards overcoming challenges and difficult adversity. Throughout life, we adapt to challenges and master the ability to surmount obstacles. Despite the difficulties we experience, the process of overcoming complications allows us to become more knowledgeable on the task at hand. However, it is not just the conquering of adversity that is beneficial, but the adversity itself has positive effects on the challenged. Adversity allows an individual to develop a sense of discipline, as well as encouraging individuals to exercise their mind to confront a problem or conflict. Specifically, students who encounter hardships are more inclined to try harder, which promotes competition within the school. Although adversity may be beneficial towards some students, challenges can be detrimental for students who lack confidence. For instance, some students develop a mentality of despair; they believe that if one has to work hard, then the person does not have the natural ability for the assignment. Based on the effects of adversity aforementioned, I believe that students can both benefit from the obstacles faced in school with the proper mentality or the effects could be hindering.
Students face adversity every day, regardless of how transparent the obstacle may be; some problems may not be as evident as others. According to Carol S. Dweck, author of Brainology, all students face adversities throughout their high-school career, specifically, the challenge of overcoming a fixed mindset. In this excerpt, “The belief that intelligence is fixed dampened students’ motivation to learn, made them afraid of effort, and made them want to quit after a setback”, Carol portrays the illusion that students have over intuitive intelligence (Dweck 2). Students who share this belief of a God-given ability to do well in school eventually develop a sense of despair. This mentality, consequently, leads to a permanent mindset of hopelessness: a fixed mindset.
Through one’s efforts of overcoming adversity, one is able to gain self-esteem and confidence. Unsurprisingly, those in authority have a powerful influence on the development of a student, but in ways that one may have not imagined. In this generation, society has collectively endorsed the attitude that figures of authority should inflate the youth’s self-esteem. In a community that instinctively rewards, it may be reasonable to endorse such an attitude to encourage confidence and courage, but this comes at a heavy price. As evidenced in the article, Brainology, “The children praised for their intelligence did not want to learn.” reveals the detrimental effects of constant appraisal. On the other hand, self-esteem can be beneficial towards the student in small doses, for it can provide the confidence an academic needs to maximize one’s performance. For example, students who push their efforts to surmount their obstacles should feel appreciated for their hard endeavors. Humans have an innate capacity to summon self-confidence used to motivate ourselves in tough situations, which is especially important in keeping an optimistic perspective. To resolve this issue, Dweck suggests that students who overcome hardships should be complimented on their dedication and hard work, rather than their “natural” intuition.
Gladwell, author of Braincandy, argues that today’s generation of videogames has expanded student’s analytical abilities. He presents the idea that complex games have intricacies that involve the individual to overcome problems within the game, which strengthens one’s ability to think critically and act rationally (Gladwell 3). Gladwell, however, fails to mention an important distinction between applying adversity in a videogame and real life situations. For instance, it can be refuted that an individual is given the opportunity to restart the game when the problems become too challenging, whereas that privilege is rarely presented in real life scenarios. For this reason, the student may decide to abandon the task if there is not a clear direction or answer. Students who play videogames and can easily prevail within the game may not develop the essential resilience needed to endure lasting problems.
Conflicts within our lives play a crucial role in our ability to stay self-sufficient. Ironically, this development comes from our efforts, specifically, the ones directed towards challenges. As a student, I see adversity as an evident conflict that cannot be avoided. Despite this, adversity can be beneficial for the student. For instance, time management has been the root of my problems, for which I am incapable of juggling my lighthearted nature and my serious attitude. As an aspiring academic, I have had to consistently work hard on keeping my G.P.A decent, “average”; despondent of my inability to be like my siblings, full-time IB students. I have let this one situation, a direct comparison of “they” as a success story and “me” as a classic failure,” to manipulate my life. As my high-school career progressed, I sought to correct my weaknesses and overcome my poor habits; I directed my endeavors towards school work, which was previously ignored. As a consequence of my efforts, I came to the clairvoyant realization of my reality; I have wasted a large portion of my life blaming others for my missteps instead of directing my efforts to improve my lacking qualities. By overcoming my situation, I developed a sense of responsibility, which is the first step towards maturity.
Adversity is an unavoidable gift that everyone must endure. By taking the correct approach, one can internalize their problems and direct their burdens toward improving themselves. An individual’s ability to cope with it is a crucial benefactor, for it allows the individual to recognize their mistakes and work towards improving themselves. Without adversity, humans would live a void life; a complacent life would hinder our developing character, for we will never enrich ourselves with new understanding. By engulfing ourselves in problems that would otherwise be avoided, we master our conquered issues. Albeit adversity may not always result in a gain, however, it still remains as a major contribution towards one’s success. Through our errors of our approach of the challenge, we learn how to efficiently overcome the recurred obstacle through our mistakes. Withal, students should embrace their challenges, rather than hiding from them, for these adversities will permanently shape the student’s resilience.

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