This essay crystallizes some of the deep misgivings about my education and, well, life up to this point.
This is not to say that students from elite colleges never pursue a riskier or less lucrative course after graduation, but even when they do, they tend to give up more quickly than others [...] Why should this be? Because students from elite schools expect success, and expect it now. They have, by definition, never experienced anything else, and their sense of self has been built around their ability to succeed. The idea of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them, defeats them. They’ve been driven their whole lives by a fear of failure—often, in the first instance, by their parents’ fear of failure.
(Incidentally, I did get a Phi Beta Kappa, but it hasn’t done much good for me, halfway across the world. All I get are exhortations to buy their merchandise :/ )
Now imagine a whole country that worships academic achievement as the main yardstick for personal success. Behind that are the best of intentions — from parents, government officers, and politicians — and we all know where those lead to.