More than just a student

Sydney Dybing

I would be hard pressed to name students at Liberty who don’t do any activities outside of school, whether they’re successful academically or not. AP U.S. History teacher Mr. Darnell this year caught me off guard earlier this year when he told another student, “You’re not a swimmer, a soccer player, or anything else. You’re a student.” Throughout the ensuing debate, I came to interpret this to mean that Mr. Darnell believes that this is the only possible identity for a person in our age group.

I adamantly disagree with this statement. In the United States, it’s true that there seems to be a social stigma that going to college is the equivalent of success in the future. From early in their lives, children are encouraged to work their hardest in school so that they can go to college and be happy when they’re adults. It’s clearly true that the more education one receives, the more likely that person is to get a good job in the future, and being a good student is a goal I have for myself.

However, the reality is that there are some students who just aren’t cut out for higher education. Be it lack of intelligence, interest, or sincerely having a passion for something else, it’s completely inaccurate to identify every single teenager as merely “a student”.  The process of labeling people as simply one thing in our society is degrading to the character of all of the individuals around us. I may be a good student, and to succeed in school may be my primary objective during high school, but I’m still not just “a student”.

I’m a clarinet player, swimmer, soccer player, quirky television show advocate, and employee at a non-profit science museum. Most likely I will not find careers in these areas in the future, but they are still parts of my life that are integral to who I am.

People are not meant to be given a single label. Rather, I believe that we are amalgamations of our passions, families, and dreams, and it’s all of these things combined that make a person who can be happy and successful throughout their life.