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Con: Planning for the future

Pre-planning may allow students to constructively control themselves, but one misstep becomes considerably intensified when things don’t go smoothly. Students lose motivation and optimism when barred from their only route to success.  Unforgiving expectations, induced by rigid pre-planning and routine, result in a lack of flexibility.

 When students derail from their agenda of perceived success—whether it’s straight A’s or receiving a 5 on an AP exam–they become severely disheartened. They struggle to register their failures and look past them.

Students who deviate from their itinerary much later on suffer the heaviest blows.  The persistence of structure intensifies the need for constant verification; the effort put in is always expected to pay off in a certain way. The longer this cycle continues, the stronger the illusion of invincibility becomes. When these conditioned students finally encounter failures, they are more likely to become traumatized. They become robbed of their only means of confirmation–like a grade on their transcript– and a lack of self-assurance and confidence results.  The failure to achieve such high standards, like the perfect SAT score, is only agonizing because their pride has been decimated, not their future.

The humdrum of  a student’s routine internalizes a sense of mastery in handling his or her life and environment. Uninterrupted success, however, is impossible. Changes and failures in life are bound to occur. Thus, having far-reaching goals but a lack of expectations, or need for constant confirmation, inspires and prolongs exceptional performance. Students with long-range commitments sustained by optimism can recover quickly from difficult conditions. Self-imposed benchmarks should be utilized to guide and encourage a work ethic–not dictate the measures of success.

Resilience and adaptability are vital qualities to ensure self-improvement.  Unpredictable changes erode the sense of safety and mastery provided by routine, leaving the student anxious and less able to cope with life’s twists and turns.

By Lisa Shen, Opinion editor


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