Normative psychology in education today is based on shame

The culture of unrest on college campuses never seems to end – and a main explanation for that is shame.

The Hustle culture – a mentality of always wanting more in career, success and the like – is terribly glorified, pushed and admired by students and educators.

I work in the nonprofit sector, both in my own nonprofit organization and in partnerships with others. I often speak with undergraduate students, who sometimes share their experiences with me. These students try to make sense of wanting or trying to “do everything”.

As I listened, I found myself having flashbacks of competitive moments in high school, where every student was trying to do the exact same thing. Why is this process of toxic scam culture repeating itself? I was naive enough to think and believe that the “trying to do everything” cycle ended in high school. The truth is, no matter where you are in life, this cycle can restart within you, and its impact manifests in many ways.

I recently graduated from college and have constantly reflected on my college experience in terms of hustle culture. I have certainly succumbed to the aforementioned lifestyle in various ways. After many conversations with members of my organizations, I started talking about our toxic tendencies to set unrealistic goals with my friends. Most, if not all, of them said they had definitely given in to those pressures before. I’ve noticed that most of my peers who identify as people of color, in particular, try to do more than expected.

I too am someone who pushes myself to do a million things at once: for what? I’m still trying to figure this out.

However, from illuminative models, I’m sure it’s my own personal shame that’s driving this. Part of my personal truth in striving for a good education, future, and general “productivity” stems from the shame I would feel if I did anything else. The driving force behind all of this in students is normative psychology, a particular standard of behavior of a large group of people that is shame-based and embedded in our global educational systems.

I had the pleasure of speaking with former Wall Street Journal reporter and current New York Times opinion contributor Asra Nomani. Nomani also works as an education advocate as a co-founder of Coalition TJ, which aims to promote quality and equitable admissions standards for high school students. Nomani specifically advocates for students of color and other underrepresented students to get the fair treatment they deserve in high school and college admissions.

I chatted with her as she guided me around the track where she had previously competed in high school. His calm nature, enthusiasm and warmth relieved me throughout the seemingly heavy topic we discussed together. Nomani and I have similar backgrounds: we are both immigrants to the United States and strive to get the best education possible. In high school, Nomani was also ambitious. Like all of us, she tried her best in everything she got involved in and strived to find out more about her goal. Her story fits perfectly with her current student advocacy work.

When I shared my thoughts and recounted conversations with friends about experiencing shame and the “bustle culture” at school and work, she immediately nodded.

“A lot of people are looking for virtue signaling,” Nomani said. “Machines have taken over trying to indoctrinate young people, to use young people for their talents. If these aforementioned talents are not shared or used, they are made to feel guilty. be ashamed of nothing.

Nomani then re-emphasized the need for more merit-based platforms for students in admissions and acceptances. To protect students today, Nomani said schools should look at a child’s merit rather than their statistics. The way educators emphasized admissions and awards shaped the intense shame that students experience today.

Merit, Nomani added, was her personal weapon that helped her overcome the challenges of shame and hardship in education and journalism. When Nomani graduated from college, she worked as an intern at the Wall Street Journal in the San Francisco bureau, then worked full-time as a reporter for 30 years.

Naturally, at that time, she had been harshly criticized for her writing, but she persisted and supported a career that allowed her to become the excellent writer, lawyer, mentor and mother that she is. Merit, for all students, should be highlighted as a powerful force against the undesirable forces that drive children and adults to succeed. She described it, beautifully, as finding a “spark”.

“Sometimes we go through many types of movements. As a youngster you sometimes find yourself not doing exactly what you want,” Nomani said. “But if you keep going, the answers you seek will eventually come to you.”

At the end of the day, all you have is your character. Your integrity is your greatest asset. Remember, the best way to overcome shame is to let the brilliance of your values ​​be at the heart of what you do. Stand for the right thing and success in your education and everything after that is indisputable. Don’t let the culture of hustle keep you from what you want to achieve.

Macy Lee is a writer, artist, and recent graduate of UC Davis. Contact the Opinion Bureau at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter @dailycalopinion.

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