The Only Real Validation?

By Keira De Vita

The sense of belonging, the sense of being enough, always seems to heavily impact those greatly involved in their studies. The desire for this feeling, known as academic validation, provides a true feeling of achievement. The true feeling one can feel validated from, because it is how you measure true success. It is addicting. Getting the anticipated grade is enough for most, but did I get the hardest question correct, did I amaze you with my conclusion? Am I memorable? Academic validation affects everyone differently but students seeking this validation not only want to know that they are doing everything right, but seek praise to know that it is good enough for the grader. 

It slowly has become a more popular identity, especially in the sunny state of California (gain more insight on education in the Bay Area specifically in the Sword Podcast). This confirmation of self worth layers itself as opportunity, unfolding and presenting new challenges, it is like an addiction in this case. With competition rising, and the growing stress surrounding school, students find a sense of identity through their grades, doing the complete opposite of what everyone around them says when they shout “Your grades do not define you”. But the second your grades slip up you are out of the running for the college you have been working towards for years. Validation seekers also use this as a form of identification and confirmation of self worth for themselves throughout life. It is a never ending talking cycle, a speaking point, the center of all bad jokes, of being unable to articulate the purpose of such achievement to those who do not strive to achieve the same way as a student seeking academic validation does. The people who suffer with academic validation should be looked at as more than just a student, as someone who suffers from an addiction. The reason it becomes so addicting is  due to the fact that it is not a widely spoken topic and not normalized as something that should not be your fundamental goal in life. That said, highlighting academic validation is primitive to learn about oneself. If the quality of seeking validation and value in yourself is through grades or assignments the question should be raised if a student is aware of this trait is it a healthy addiction? There is no clear straightforward answer, it comes down to the extremity of the addiction as well as the mindset of the targeted audience.