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The LEAP Student Blog

'Pursuit of Excellence,' by Joey Lurie, Mercer Island HS
 3/13/2023 12:00:00 AM

Joey Lurie
Mercer Island HS, Class of 2024

Growing up on Mercer Island has given me opportunities and privileges I am beyond fortunate and grateful to have received. But with these opportunities comes many expectations. To be viewed as successful in this community not only do we need to have the best grades, but we need to be on a state-winning team, have a job, and be “successful” socially.

This mentality is so draining for students, especially when it comes to junior and senior year. I am a junior, but watching all of my senior friends go through the college process, is draining even from an outside perspective. The pressure to go to the best business school, or play at the best D1 school, hurts kids. Students should be trying to find the the school that works for them, and not the school that everyone else thinks works for them.

I am a two-sport varsity athlete who takes two AP classes and gets above average grades… and it sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself and work super hard for it, but if I could do some things different I would. Fortunately I don’t have hours of homework a day, but still I don’t have time to just be a teenager and hangout with my friends. It does help that I am lucky enough to have parents who support me through whatever I am going through, who always have my back, but a lot of kids aren’t as fortunate.

I can’t count how many times I have seen kids upset about the “bad” grade they got on one quiz or test, acting like it is going to dictate their entire future. This is due to the culture that is set by parents, schools, and communities. With this type of pressure, students are no longer able to experience the fun parts of high school, and we are burnt out just a few years in, then expected to go to school for at least four more years after.

This hits especially hard on student athletes here on Mercer Island. MI has a very strong athletics program, last year alone we had at least eight state titles in either team or individual sports. So along with academic expectations there are athletic expectations. I have always been an athlete, but I don’t think I want to continue on to play at the collegiate level. When I tell people this I get asked so many questions and have the same conversation everytime… my answer is always the same, “I’m burnt out and tired.” Playing two sports year round for about 14 years will do that.

We need to change the idea that to be “successful” you need to check off specific boxes. Success looks different to everyone, because what makes you feel happy and complete is going to look different to everyone. The end goal should always be to feel satisfied with yourself. Especially here on Mercer Island and communities alike, there needs to be more conversations about finding what is important for you as an individual, and not feeling the pressure to fit in to what is “expected” of you. We need to take control of our own lives, and find a path that works for us.

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March 2023

3/29/2023 'Shifting the Spotlight,' by Drew Fialho, Lake Washington HS
3/13/2023 'Pursuit of Excellence,' by Joey Lurie, Mercer Island HS
3/1/2023 'Why is Sports Medicine Education Important for High School Athletes?' by Rocky Srinivasan, Eastside Prep

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