Is an Academically Competitive Atmosphere in School a Pro or a Con

Many experts believe that a competitive academic atmosphere is beneficial to students. As for me, I thrive on competition! It motivates me to work harder. Even as a student in the fifth grade, I was highly competitive, constantly battling my classmate Stephen Rola for the highest average in our class of twenty-three. In the second marking period, he received his report card and shoved it in my face.
“I got a 97 average, Katie! What did you get?”
I opened my envelope, tears filling my eyes as I saw the grade that mocked me. 96.4. How could this have happened? I became so angry and decided that never again would I allow Stephen Rola to beat me. I worked like no fifth grader had ever worked before. As soon as I came home from school I worked until I had finished and had proof-read my work over and over to the point where my head was pounding. The next quarter, I smugly shoved my 97.3 average into the face of 96.7 Stephen.
Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic. In reality, I was in academic competition with Stephen Rola in the fifth grade, but it was not remotely close to a ferocious battle; we were close friends trying good-naturedly to top one another’s grades.
Success in today’s society depends on keeping up with or surpassing others, in all aspects of life. Everyone is trying to be better than everyone else, so that he can be the most successful, whether it be in fame, economy, sports, business, or politics. A competitive academic atmosphere gives students a mere taste of what their future lives will be, as they grow and move on to begin their own careers and lives.
On college campuses, a noncompetitive atmosphere often results in relaxed, laid-back students who lack motivation to work hard. On the other hand, competition is a positive force driving students to perform to their full potential and is a necessary element of their education.
I agree with the words of businessman Jacob Kindleberger “A little competition is a good thing and severe competition is a blessing. Thank God for competition.”