Many have fallen prey to the everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality in recent years. After all, one must never hurt the feelings of precious little flowers who might not be as talented as their peers!
One of the latest victims bitten by this bug is the revered Cambridge University in Great Britain. According to The Telegraph, Cambridge’s tradition of publicly posting each student’s exam results recently came under fire:
“Earlier this year, campaigners argued that the lists were ‘damaging’ to the welfare of students, triggering depression and ‘promoting a culture of shaming’.
A campaign called ‘Our Grade, Our Choice’ called for students to have the choice to opt out of the lists without having to provide ‘demonstrable evidence of medical or other exceptional extenuating circumstances’ that would ‘endanger their health’.”
But as it turns out, today’s precious little flowers aren’t as sensitive as we’ve all been led to believe. When Cambridge put the decision to a vote, a healthy majority of students voted to continue with the public posting of exam results, regardless of the mental or emotional damage they might incur.
In fact, many admitted that instead of hurting their self-esteem and causing great emotional stress, the public exam results actually relieved pressure. According to one student:
“‘I found the class lists immensely comforting at a time of great stress. They made me feel less alone in my “unworthiness” and relieved the pressure of anyone asking how I did.’”
Such admissions raise some interesting questions. Have we been misguided in our eagerness toward sensitivity? Is it possible that young people would both do and feel better about themselves if we quit trying to make everyone equal across the board? Is it time to stop making sure everyone gets a trophy?
Image Credit: Andrew Dunn (cropped) bit.ly/1jxQJMa
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.