We have a culture now, where it’s not only okay – but expected – to hate high achievers. Wealthy people are the greedy 1% (unless they’re celebrities, and then it’s okay for some reason). Every little kid gets a participation award. If you’re not the quarterback of the football team or the star of the school play, then it’s certainly not because you can’t throw a ball or sing a note, it’s because the coach/director is a fool and Mom or Dad better tell them so!

In the essay titled “To (All) the Colleges that Rejected Me,” a Pennsylvanian high school senior details her disappointment in the admissions process. Like any product of the liberal “fairness” culture, she accepts no responsibility for her failures and mocks those who succeeded.

“For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school…I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything.”

For starters, Suzy, most people from those ethnic groups don’t wear headdresses to school. I don’t like affirmative action any more than you do; the bar should be set at the same height for all applicants, regardless of ethnicity – it is never unfair to treat everyone the same. But when someone makes comments like this (a headdress? really?) about race (which shouldn’t matter), that person highlights her own lack of understanding.

By Suzy’s metrics, I’m not “diverse” either. I’m a Caucasian female from the suburbs. But I would prefer to stand out because I chose to push myself really, really hard, not because of genetics I did not choose. I did not apply to any school where I was a legacy. I did not get in everywhere I applied. I did get into a place that was a perfect fit for me.

“I also probably should have started a fake charity. Providing veterinary services for homeless people’s pets. Collecting donations for the underprivileged chimpanzees of the Congo. Raising awareness for Chapped-Lips-in-the-Winter Syndrome…As long as you’re using someone else’s misfortunes to try to propel yourself into the Ivy League, you’re golden.”

In a culture of “fairness” where we’re all “equal,” nobody is more altruistic than anybody else. That’s why Suzy assumes that all the charity work done by her competitors was done out of selfishness. They all did it for college, those sneaky little fake do-gooders! I’m sure everyone living in a Habitat for Humanity house built by high schoolers is going to move out and bulldoze the place – there’s a chance that someone who helped build it didn’t have entirely pure motivations, and that voids all the good they did.

Suzy takes on the issue of travel, saying, “Everyone knows that if you don’t have anything difficult going on in your own life, you should just hop on a plane so you’re able to talk about what other people have to deal with.”

Why the mocking tone here? Sometimes, people who are fortunate are able to travel to those who are less fortunate, and create a positive difference in both of their lives. Those service trips are great! Am I supposed to hate them now, because those people got into great schools and Suzy didn’t?

She thinks that her peers’ charity work is a silly little beauty pageant of faux-concern for people in need. I’m sure that, for some college applicants, it is. High school is a silly little beauty pageant for a lot of people. You know how you out-compete them in the admissions process? You find something you’re passionate about and commit to it!
Suzy laments the “be yourself!” mantra of parents and teachers as she grew up. I don’t blame her for being upset at finding out that it’s a lie. Suzy sounds the warning bell for all of us. When you coddle kids and then unleash them on the real world, it’s not fair to the kid – and it’s a disservice to the rest of us in the real world, who must now take on the dirty work of undoing one more self-entitled person’s delusions.

“Better yourself” should be the new theme. Work harder. Get smarter. Push yourself to the edge of your abilities and see just how much you are capable of. If you’re capable of great things, you have no reason to be ashamed. And if you’re not there yet but you’re still working hard, then keep going and let high achievers be role models, not villains, in your story.

Angela Morabito | Georgetown University | @_AngelaMorabito