As high school students, one of the questions that we often forget to ask ourselves is, “Are we happy?”
As a member of Western Reserve Academy (WRA), a private high school in Ohio known for its challenging academics, I often find many students including myself, not being able to balance our time with the high demand in academics. Rather than pursuing our own interests, we are busy meeting the requirements in classes. I realized we could be missing what is really important, engrossed by constant strive for good grades and exerting ourselves for higher achievements.
In order to research more about student life at WRA, Mr. Adam Yankay, a member of the Mathematics Department, and his College Level Statistics class came up with a survey. This survey was designed to ask what students considered to be their priorities and whether they enjoyed what they were doing at school.
The survey included seven questions, in addition to an optional section in which students could offer any thoughts or comments they had. Most questions asked for ratings from one to five(one for “full disagreement” and five for “full agreement”). Some of the questions included:
1. “To what degree do you agree with the following statement? : WRA provides me opportunity to pursue my interest.”
2. “To what degree do you agree with the following statement? : While engaging with academic challenges and opportunities at WRA, I am generally happy.”
3. “To what degree do you agree with the following statement? : I believe that I can maintain my physical and mental health while succeeding at WRA.”
|[A question from the survey. Photo taken by James Doh]
In order to learn more about the survey and future plan of actions regarding the results, I interviewed Mr. Yankay.
Q1. What motivated you initially to come up with such a survey?
“It started at sit-down dinner, where I sat with some students and heard their frustration with time, such as balancing life at WRA. As a teacher, I always want to hear from students about any issues and help students process in a healthy way, but at the same time, I questioned whether this phenomenon was more of a wide-spread feeling. As a result, I decided to send out a survey to the entire student body to see what they felt about their lives at school, and whether they were happy.”
Q2. How do you think we could educate ourselves about the importance of happiness in life?
“For me, a component of a complete education is for students to consider that financial success does not guarantee happiness. Simply getting into a good college does not guarantee happiness.”
Q3. What is your plan after acquiring information from the responses?
“I have been sharing this information with the Admissions Department who is eager to consider this information through the lens of asking if we are delivering what families and students want at WRA.”
|[Mr. Adam Yankay is being interviewed about the survey.
Photo taken by Zohaib Malik ’19 at Western Reserve Academy]
Increased competition to perform well academically and get into good colleges has shaped the essence of modern education and society today. However, simply going to the “top” colleges does not necessarily guarantee success in life nor does it bring happiness. Finding their own interests and pursuing their passion without feeling pressured by others is what is really needed for the students. It is time for us to think about what makes us happy.
James “Jihun” Doh
Western Reserve Academy
James “Jihun” Doh firstname.lastname@example.org
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