Alexandra Robbins: The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids



This book was a wild ride In my AP Language and Composition we had an assignment that involved choosing a nonfiction book to read We got a huge list of books to choose from but The Overachievers was one that really caught my attention because so many people have called me that throughout my life The characters in this book are so similar to my classmates and to me that at times I had to put it down and take a break It was actually scary how much I could relate to what the characters were going through there were times that it actually felt like my own life was being written about In the book there were kids who were taking a million AP Classes and a million extra circulars and who would get home tragically late only to have to stay up late to finish their homework something I ve gone through throughout my entire high school career All the characters who were introduced were people who I could find at least one thing in common with This book was amazing and very eye opening because it let me see how unhealthy this lifestyle really is and how the fact that I didn t see before is worrying The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids a nonfiction work by Alexandra Robbins is a book I chose to read because it was a reuirement for our English Honors class Students usually groan at the thought of reading a book because it is a school reuirement but I found The Overachievers to be uite an interesting read In it Robbins traces the thoughts and lives of several overachieving students namely juniors and seniors from Whitman High School located in Bethesda Maryland who face various dilemmas that range from being emotional and mental to physical Most of these problems have been acuired through stress from the rigorous classes and extracurricular activities they take on which are directly correlated to admissions into top tier universities The desire to be accepted into the most prestigious colleges of the nation is derived from either the students ambition to become successful in life or from parental pressureI found the central conflict in the novel to be man vs man The whole overachieving system according to Robbins originates from the ambitions of people to come out at the top for people to be recognized publicly as the number one in whatever they encounter But since there are only a handful of number one positions open everyone scrambles wildly to grasp that title often engaging in unethical behavior just to achieve it Dishonesty is a major motif of the book students guiltlessly use it to satisfy their own or their parents ambitions which usually constitutes of achieving the highest marks possible whether it be in academics or in sports Some students or parents even go so far as to attempt to sabotage others chances for so called success Conseuently a student s intellect can t be judged based on the grades that he or she receives in school Another result of this recurring dishonesty is that being successful in today s overachieving society is no longer dependent upon an individual s genuine hunger for knowledge and being able to fulfill that hunger by learning well purely for personal benefit Therefore the theme that I gathered from this book is that the concerns of overachieving students or their parents to become successful by today s societal standards will often hinder their true desires An example in the book is AP Frank a graduate of Whitman High School whose overbearing mother doesn t take into account her son s hopes for his own future I believe that parents like that thrust a life upon their own children that they wish they had thus children are not really viewed as other separate human beings but rather symbolize a second chance at lifeRobbins writes the book in a documentary style often interrupting the stories of the students lives with her own commentary and carefully researched statistics as well as comments from students from other schools around the United States A reader might also get the impression that the novel is a compilation of third person diary entries with Robbins providing researched statistics that are directly related to the events of the students lives What really sets The Overachievers aside from other typical research projects is the emotion and passion that Robbins puts into the subject For example it is evident from her writing style that she holds distaste for the No Child Left Behind Act which she believes contributes to the stressful environment that schools have become The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids is a book I would definitely recommend to all the overachievers in America especially the children under age twelve who are currently being pressured by their parents to learn material far beyond the typical level of learning at their age Since the novel is uite easy to read I mainly recommend it to oung learners because children of ounger ages have the tendency to loyally obey their parents wishes no matter how strenuous And eventually they grow into the habit of acting accordingly with the intentions of their parents Although reading this book might prove to be a disillusioning experience I believe it to be better that children know in advance what kind of so. The bestselling author of Pledged returns with a groundbreaking look at the pressure to achieve faced by America's teens In Pledged Alexandra Robbins followed four college girls to produce a riveting narrative that read like fiction Now in The Overachievers Robbins uses the same captivating style to explore how our high stakes educational culture has spiraled out of control During the ear of her ten ear reunion Robbins goes back to

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Ciety they are growing up in This novel is also a good read for high school students who can connect to the overachievers on a personal level If our are an adult this book will surely make Hai nhà you nostalgic This book is a stark criticism of the educating system The problems outlined in the book are not only relevant to the educating system in US but also to educating system in general The author also gives address on how one can go about solving the problems in the end of the book The book may be best described in the words of the author It is not a call for mediocrity It is a call for perspectiveand the best part is this book hasou hooked The Overachievers Secret Lives of Driven Kids gets a 25 out of 5 stars from me although for the sake of the Goodreads website I gave the book a 2 The book had a strong interesting opening However when I reached the halfway point I was really only interested in reading about the characters for a reason I couldn t understand About 250 pages into the book I discovered that my big problem with the book was that I felt like I was being fed the same information in every section that was not about the kids Robbins was following making the book repetitive and uninteresting for me in the long run It s been a while since I ve truly liked a book that a teacher assigned me to read In a little over 400 pages Robbins discusses the hectic lives of a few teenage overachievers while focusing on a broader topic the dysfunction of the American education system She touches topics like the overbooked schedule of the American teenager helicopter parents and the stress of getting into a top rated college Since I am a teenager in three AP classes I am able to relate to this book I myself am not an overachiever but while reading this I was able to compare the lives of the kids presented in this novel to the lives of peers that I know Some of them were even carbon copies minus the names The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids is a must read for anyone in High School When I read this after college I felt like I was being transported back to high school Not only did I know the kinds of kids she was describing I WAS one of those kids As a somewhat adult it s hard to imagine how I could ever pull off everything I did in high school now I can barely make it through the workday sometimes how did I go to school do homework work at my job and play competitive sports and not simply die of exhaustion The thought makes me crazyThis was a great read for someone who had been there but I also would recommend it to anyone considering having kids or working in the school system It gives great insight to the difference between motivation and pressure and reminds Harry Potter a Me Ka Pōhaku Akeakamai: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Hawaiian you of what it s really like to be back in high school My favorite of my books A Year LaterIt s close to the end of my seniorear of high school it s about time for me to really decide where I want to go and it s been a Falling Through Clouds year since I read The Overachieverset this book is still sticking in my head Of all the books that I ve read this is probably one of the most important Honestly I don t uite know why because it just gets me so righteously angry whenever I think about my own college application experiences in terms of this book curse the Early Decision admission track and curse Vanderbilt for having not one but TWO Early Decision tracks instead of an Early Action one but this book was still so relevant to me I m so glad that I picked this to read in English my junior earActual ReviewI had to read The Overachievers for my AP English class We were given a list of seventeen books and were told to choose which book we wanted to read the most I chose this book because being what my friends call an overachiever I wanted to read about myselfThe book wasn t uite like that though Alexandra Robbins the author followed several high school to college age students who are considered overachievers by their peers Reading about these people made me ever grateful for one reason I m not an overachiever like these studentsMy gosh talk about stress This book centers on the kind of people who would kill themselves if they didn t get into Harvard or would curl into a ball and flood Earth with their tears if they got a dreaded B This book is so good because not only does Robbins discuss the overachiever culture and its causes and effects but also how to successfully dismantle this culture She goes into detail about how students stress and pressure come from multiple sources eg class rank parental involvementhelicopter parenting college rankings AP class and extracurricular overload and how everyone students parents counselors even colleges can contribute to lessen the burdenI would highly recommend this book to anyone who knows or who is an overachiever because this book despite being several ears old rings as true as ever Alexandra Robbins The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids is a poignant non fiction work that touches upon the modern competitive education system which has seemingly gone out of control Rather than earning grades for learning students are obtaining artificial grades through cheating and even resorting to non prescribed medications to fa. Er high school where she follows heart tuggingly likeable students including AP Frank who grapples with horrifying parental pressure to succeed; Audrey whose panicked perfectionism overshadows her life; Sam who worries his ears of overachieving will be wasted if he doesn't attend a name brand college; Taylor whose ambition threatens her popular girl status; and The Stealth Overachiever a mystery junior who flies under the radar Robbin.

review The Overachievers The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

Cilitate their study habits in order to get into their dream college During Alexandra s 10 ear high school reunion she gathers a group of her friends high school experiences and puts them in her book It includes stereotypes such as the overachieving scholar the popular athlete those who are can never seem to fulfill their parents expectations and others who struggle to put on a flawless and well rounded facade These high school students engage themselves in numerous extracurricular activities and also manage to balance seventeen AP classes throughout high school all in attempt to get into their dream college The Overachievers is an enticing story which combines the conflicts of both man vs society and man vs himself For example Julie a oung student who portrays the typical overachieving scholar gives her best effort to do extraordinarily well in school to get into her dream college Stanford She faces fierce competition among the other overachievers at school and feels the need to maintain their perfect impressions of her On the other hand one of Julie s peers AP Frank feels pressured to fulfill his mother s harsh expectations He is important to the novel because he shows that the lack of time and energy reuired to live up to these expectations both shared by the students and their parents is a product of the pressure of trying to live up to societal standards Other overachievers compete to maintain a meticulous academic record in order to be accepted into a prestigious university Each student invests hours of his or her personal time studying for each test which slowly wears away at the character s sanity as they try to make room for a social life as well With every club activity and study session he or she participates in the student begins to feel the stress as they watch hisher time and energy dwindle to almost nothing In retrospect the driving force behind each character s actions is in response to the pressure and stress that acts as a constant motif throughout the novel Julie and AP Frank are merely a few examples of the victims who suffer from the excruciating standards set by society and their parents in a desperate attempt to be accepted into an ideal college institution College acts as the overpowering symbol of success that drives each character into a dismal and debilitating whirlwind of stress However Robbins exhibits a crucial theme in her book Getting into a prestigious university does not determine whether one will be successful or not She is reminding all high school students who constantly feel anxiety of getting into a name brand college that school should be a place for learning not a place for competing to be number oneOverall The Overachievers is a compelling book that I was recommended to read in English class It attracted me because I was able to relate to the high school experience in the story This book has helped me constantly remind myself that grades are not an accurate judgment of what the potential an average student like I may have and that school is just an environment to learn and grow Robbins diary style writing makes the book feel a lot personal as if the reader were reading a friend s journal about the everyday stress from school In between entries Robbins intervenes and provides startling statistics on the various aspects of modern education such as kids resorting to drugs to attain better performance in school and suicide rates She also gives her opinion of what she thinks of the current education system bad and inefficient I would definitely recommend this book to all high school students today especially juniors and seniors who are looking for an easy to read book to relate to Robbins accessible style of writing keeps the audience captivated to want to continue reading on The Overachievers is by far one of my favorite books earning a rating of five out of five stars Well This was possibly one of the best books I have ever read You know that I am stingy with my 5 star book ratings but this one was sorely deserved The book is non fiction following the stories of several high schoolers and providing a commentary on the US education system and the beginning of the Age of the Comparison It was written around 2008 and so the statistics are obviously outdated but I think one of the most shocking things is that despite Robbins s clear and factual critiue the same trend in student anxiety continues This in itself is a cause for concern Why are we not doing to investigate and improve student well being and the corruptness of much of the system Not only is this factually interesting however but also personally enlightening I would identify as an overachiever myself having been called this by multiple people and I did find myself relating intensely to many of the characters interviewed by Robbins This was especially powerful I think because she wrote it as a story meaning that there was substance suspense and progression in a way which is rarely seen in pieces similar to this If ou are freuently anxious about Mr. Fix-It your grades at school I would definitely recommend this book toou If The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers you feel as thoughou always have to be the best ou should read this This has made it into my Top Fiv. S tackles teen issues such as intense stress the student and teacher cheating epidemic sports rage parental guilt the black market for study drugs and a college admissions process so cutthroat that students are driven to suicide and depression because of a B With a compelling mix of fast paced narrative and fascinating investigative journalism The Overachievers aims both to calm the admissions frenzy and to expose its escalating danger.

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