Let’s Talk: Complaining at MVHS
March 15, 2019
Exploring the implications of complaining as a means of reinforcing negativity or releasing stress
Complaining reinforces negativity
At MVHS, I encounter it everywhere. I hear it from the students in the hallways; I see it in the graffiti written in Sharpie in the girls bathrooms; I feel it in the environment during a stressful week or after a hard test.
“It” is the constant complaining — the fierce animosity to anything and everything MVHS. The constant conviction that our school sucks and that we’ve been especially wronged by the universe for having to attend it.
It’s so competitive. Our school is so much harder than other schools. We’re all just set up to fail. Our teachers are awful. No one has a social life. Everyone’s a snake. Admin doesn’t even care. Our sports are awful. The campus is ugly. Our dances are lame.
It seems like there are an infinite number of reasons people complain and condemn MVHS. But here’s the thing — at the end of the day, our constant complaining does nothing to help the situation — rather it makes everything so, so much worse.
Unarguably, MVHS is a difficult school to attend. In 2018, we were ranked #7 in National STEM rankings and #13 in high schools in California, recognized by Newsweek and the U.S. News and World Report for high achievement. However, as any MVHS student knows, this high status comes with large amounts of stress, pressure and competition.
Our classes are hard, our standards are high and our workload is strenuous. And we complain about it all the time.
But for the sake of our own mental health and happiness, it’s time we stop.
As cliché as it sounds, nothing gets better when we complain to ourselves and our friends. Our teachers aren’t going to magically hand out all A’s. The competitive environment will not disappear. We’re not all of a sudden going to have a perfect school-life balance. Rather, we’re just reinforcing negative ideas and negative viewpoints.
Personally, if I am surrounded by people who are always sad and angry, my mood echoes those feelings. But if I am surrounded by people who are happy and positive, that positive energy is reflected in my own feelings. And according to a U.S. News article, that’s the case with most people. Positive and negative emotions are easily, and oftentimes subconsciously, passed from person to person.
Although we may say it’s our own choice to wallow in self-pity, this negative attitude hurts others. If we want to feel happier about school, then we need to start acting like it. Stop complaining and start seeing the positive side of things.
And whether we realize or not, there are a lot of positive things about MVHS — things that we should be more grateful for. Many of our parents have moved to Cupertino, accepting the absurd cost of living, just so we could have a great education.
Although school may be extremely difficult, this is only because we are learning at a much higher level than the average high school student, something that is clearly represented in our rankings. We’re lucky to go to a school where we can gain an education that better prepares us for college and beyond.
And although the environment is competitive, it forces every student to work harder. If we all went to a school where no one did any extracurriculars, we probably would just sit at home every day after school. We probably would never find summer activities that teach us new things. But the high level of achievement forces every student to put their best foot forward and find opportunities to do more at every turn.
Although we may not have the best social life, spending breaks studying or prepping for APs, we also do not have many of the same problems that other high schools encounter. Issues like rampant substance abuse, high teen pregnancy rates and low graduation rates are not as prevalent at MVHS as compared to other schools.
It is no doubt easier to focus on the negative aspect of things. Being positive is difficult, but we have to actively try to monitor our complaints about MVHS. Remember that to a certain extent, every school is difficult and stressful. And to a certain extent, being stressed is a natural counterpart of being a person who has a full, busy and engaging life. MVHS may not be perfect, but our situation is far better than the thousands of people who struggle to even receive an education.
Just a little effort can go a long way. Start by reminding yourself about how much we have to be thankful for. These thoughts translate to less complaining and more positive speech, which will translate to a more positive attitude. It’s time we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and choose to be more positive. At the end of the day, we do have the power to make MVHS a better place.
Complaining releases stress
It’s safe to assume that MVHS is a pretty competitive school, in which students are constantly pushed to their academic limits and develop the potential to do great things later in life. However, with this comes an enormous amount of pressure that parents and faculty simply can’t fathom. It takes being a student to truly understand what an average MVHS student goes through in just one day of school.
It’s true, at a certain point it can get irritating when students are constantly complaining about the workload and the pressure. It seems like we spend all this time resisting what we go through in school, when in reality, doing this will get us nowhere. We’re told by parents, faculty and sometimes even peers to just suck it up; if everyone else can do it, so can you.
What many of us fail to realize, however, is that venting our frustrations can actually help us understand what more we want from our schools. By bottling up the pressure we feel, all we do is contribute to the intimidating dynamic of the school, which is the very foundation of the issue.
Sure, complaining about school won’t make us smarter. But being able to express your opinions and having classmates do the same shows students that they aren’t suffering alone in the tedious journey that is high school. With this in mind, they naturally have a boosted morale with which they can tackle the obstacles they face.
Despite contrary belief, personally, I’d feel much more motivated knowing others are struggling, as thinking everyone is succeeding would just give me a sense of defeat.
And it is also true that we should appreciate what we have and be thankful to be students in such a highly ranked school that is going to help us go where we need to in life. However, by merely accepting what we have rather than questioning it when need be, schools won’t ever improve.
Sure, it is unlikely that a bunch of students complaining amongst each other about a certain class or workload isn’t going to help anything. However, it’s these complaints we have that get translated into end-of-the-year school-provided surveys that are used as guides for future improvement. Without the chance to express discontent throughout the year to our peers, many students wouldn’t feel passionate at all about change, which we usually reflect in said surveys. Not to mention, lamenting to our peers can actually make others aware of issues they may never have been if we had all been expected to enjoy everything the school has to offer with a smile on our faces.
Finally, and quite simply, each and every one of us is entitled to the right of free speech. As long as it is not harmful to the wellbeing of others, students are well within their rights to complain about school. There should be no reason they shouldn’t be allowed or encouraged to voice their concerns or opinions, no matter how ungrateful or far fetched they may seem.
Ultimately, it’s our feedback and criticism that is going to make a change. Only students have borne the brunt of these schools and should voice their thoughts for everyone’s well being. So long as it is done respectfully, we have no right to complain about the complaining.