Academic addiction goes unnoticed


Sadie Lyman

Many students will do whatever they can to receive a good grade. The A+ pills represent the addictive side of this craving, which many students face.

When people hear the word “addiction,” many automatically think of drugs or alcohol.

However, many students face addiction whether they realize it or not.

Instead of drugs and alcohol, their addiction is to getting good grades, and this addiction is just as harmful as any other.

There are two types of addictions: substance and process.

Substance addictions refer to a dependence on alcohol or any form of drugs, legal or not. This type of addiction is more common and most people are more aware of it.

Process addictions are a dependence on activities, such as shopping, gambling, and eating. Though process addictions aren’t as common as substance addictions, they can still cause the same amount of harm.

The addiction to getting good grades is classified as a process addiction. There are many factors that contribute to the development of an addiction to getting good grades.

“I think that, for some students, the grade becomes more important than what they are learning, and I do believe that students can become addicted to getting good grades. I also think Carlmont has many ambitious students who genuinely want to do well in school, and I respect that,” said Carlmont math teacher Mary Codianne.

Grades and test scores are commonly talked about amongst students, so when one student receives a poor grade, they often think less of themselves because of their peers.

Often, the environment of school creates stress. This can create the same type of peer pressure that goes into the making of an addiction.

“I think what makes school stressful for most people is probably trying to live up to the expectations that people have for you. Also, the level of competition in school creates pressure on many students,” said Caleb Joya, a sophomore. “The expectations are that if you don’t get a certain GPA or a good grade on a test, you’re considered dumb.”

People may often base their actions off of what their peers want. Peer pressure plays an important role in the upbringing of many addictions, like those to drugs and alcohol. Pressure to get the best grades can also have the same effect and create an addiction.

Students can also set high standards for other students without realizing it as the learning process is different for each and every student.

“For some people, school is a lot harder because they cannot learn as quickly as their classmates. Some people I know never study, and they do great on tests. Others need to work a little harder. What we need to realize is that everybody is different. Just because one person needs to study more doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart,” said Mahara Kashanian, a sophomore.

An important factor that contributes to the addiction is the feeling of getting a good grade. Many students crave success, and receiving a good grade can give those students a dopamine hit, which creates a feeling of happiness.

Some feel that the need to get good grades stems from a fear of the future.

“I think that if kids were not as worried about college, they wouldn’t worry as much about their grades. Students think that their future opportunities rely on their grades; they genuinely believe their future success will be limited by a grade,” Codianne said.

Due to this belief, students have made their whole lives about their grades, they crave academic success and are addicted to the rush that comes with receiving a good grade.

With any addiction, a person craves more and more. Whether its alcohol, shopping, or A’s on tests, it is all considered addiction.

Kashanian said, “All students should strive to be successful in school, but when it gets to a point where it’s an unhealthy obsession, we have to realize that one bad grade is not the end of the world.”