The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

In the same bubble

Students should stop measuring their success solely through their grades
In+the+same+bubble

It is common at MVHS for the expectation to be that there is an eventual pay off for the abundant amount of effort put into high school coursework, typically through the pipeline of an acceptance letter to a top-ranked university, which allegedly guarantees a comfortable future depending on the area of study. The idea is that grades highlight a good academic standing which will reflect success in future life — but what many students don’t realize is that these academics will only get you so far.

Although the academic skills that are acquired during the MVHS journey help with technical expertise in any industry, there are other skills needed to succeed in a future job. Specifically, soft skills — which are people skills that help maneuver around social interactions — play a crucial role in interpersonal communication, which often is just as important as, if not more important than academic skills. Researchers in a study conducted by Harvard University found that well‐developed soft and people skills accounted for 85% of job successes, in comparison to only 15% of job success coming from technical skills and knowledge.

For example, networking, the process of making connections and building relationships, is a practical example of a soft skill that is often utilized in the professional world. The same way a college counselor assists when applying for college, a connection within your desired industry who can recommend you makes it much easier to get a job.  However, the only way to gain these connections is through networking, which demonstrates the importance of soft skills.

There are a multitude of people who have the same academic successes when it comes to applying for jobs — what sets you apart are the people that can vouch for you and the ability you have to showcase your talents, which are all attributed to soft skills. In fact, business managers often say that better soft skills are more desirable than better technical skills, especially when choosing between candidates with only a small difference in skill.

The MVHS culture of always focusing on grades and taking harder and harder classes limits the time available for students to develop these crucial soft skills. While it is common in MVHS to see students worry about having the top scores for every test, it is less common to see them concerned about building strong relationships with their teachers, or to see them compromise with people they don’t agree with in group projects. Communication and teamwork are essential to success in the workplace, and MVHS students should try to nurture those skills as much as their math or science skills. 

In particular, many MVHS students go out of their way to attain summer internships and take community college classes to further their academic standing; students should apply that same effort to making new friends at said summer programs or hanging out with those community college peers after class to make new friends, because those are the events that build up soft skills.

Even in the typical daily school life, there are a lot of opportunities for students to improve social skills. Build good relationships with their teachers, or go out with friends for boba and make small talk with the shop employee. Put more effort into that literature discussion and volunteer to lead it. Soft skills can only be built up through continuous practice in your everyday interactions.  

Soft skills are just as important as technical skills and MVHS students put too much emphasis on their technical skills and therefore neglect their soft skills throughout their high school career. Most people think that success is only measured through their grades; it’s time we learn it can be measured through other means as well.

About the Contributor
Raj Thapliyal, Staff Writer
Raj is a staff writer. He enjoys playing volleyball, table tennis and playing video games. He's also a member of DECA.
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