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The Auroran Today

Academic Validation: Is it okay to fail?

Take a deep dive into the complex feelings that stress out MHS students on a daily basis.

Picture this, it’s a winter Monday and you are walking into your first hour class,  your head still foggy with morning exhaustion. As you sit down you start to see your teacher passing out the tests from the week prior. Your heart starts to sink as your teacher hands you a paper highlighted with a large red F. You can’t help but feel disappointed in yourself as you think of all the effort you put into studying. You just feel defeated. For many high school students, this situation might seem like the end of the world and/or all way too familiar.

It’s well known that people’s high school years are the peak of stress and chaos, with the balancing act of friends, family, and academics. All of these aspects can cause long lasting effects on a student’s mental health. There is a feeling that can rise that is known as academic validation. This is when a student comes to depend on their academics for the feelings of appreciation and praise.  

MHS Sophomore, Micayla Edkin, talks about her experience with this feeling. 

An example of a harder class tanking a successful student’s grade.

“To me, it’s literally just validating yourself with grades, like sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough if I don’t get a certain grade,” said Micayla.

A large factor in the feeling of academic validation are the classes the student is enrolled in. It can be very easy to select a wide variety of classes that seem like they would be a good fit. But you never really know until you attend the class for yourself. So when you sign up for multiple challenging classes, they might become hard to balance. Micayla provides a solution for the overwhelming and crushing feelings those classes cause.

“I stress bake a lot on those nights when I feel overwhelmed. I will just bring the treats into school for my friends the next day. My go-to right now is banana bread,” said Micayla.

There are many healthy outlets available that can help students take pressure off of themselves. These include baking, painting, journaling, meditation, or maybe even a new instrument. It’s very important to put in your best effort into education, but remember no one is perfect. These outlets are healthy and give you something else to put your energy into.

At the same time however, there are also students that are not searching for academic validation, but just seeking to pass their academics. 

Scot Gehret is currently an ALC teacher at MHS, and has a very unique outlook on the struggle students face as he often works alongside students who need an alternative setting or chance to pass. He teaches a mix of all grades recovering credits from classes they either failed or never finished.

Those students are given a comforting and encouraging environment to get their studies completed. They even have an ALC “Hall of Fame” where if a student passes a class they get a signed certificate added to the wall. This is Gehret’s way of giving those students the validation they deserve.

“I think anything helps, we give lots of motivation like candy, but I hope 360 success stories show them what any student is capable of,” said Gehret.

The ALC program at MHS’s goal is to encourage kids and set them up for success. So even though failure should not be encouraged, it can sometimes be a building block needed for the final picture. 

“Grades are important but they are not the most important. Learning how to learn and how to withhold information seems to show itself more in the long run,” said Gehret.

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