OPINION: How Our Society Defines “Average”

How society defines “average” and how we can change that definition.


The difference between society’s so called “average” and people who want to be above societies “average.”

Today’s society has transformed the formerly adequate word, “average”, into something that pierces straight into the chest. It is not a word that will attract praise. The word is shamed upon by most. It is humiliating, unsatisfactory.


According to the Oxford Dictionary, “average” is “an amount, standard, level, or rate regarded as usual or ordinary”. This definition is shunned by society, which stresses and applauds what can be found far beyond the set bounds of average.


It’s rare for an average student to be told “you have a bright future ahead of you!” or “I could easily see you getting into Harvard, Stanford, Cornell…”.  They are infrequently praised for doing the best they can do. In all actuality, most things that may seem sufficient to them are quelled by our corrupt society.


Oh, you got a C on your history report? You are only putting in the effort to pass. Anybody could do that, right?


Gee, you lost 10 pounds? Took you long enough to reach a healthy weight. If people think you are average, there is nothing remarkable about you, right?


Your test scores, your college, your weight, your talent, your height- it’s all the same as everyone else, nothing is considered truly “special” according to the means of society.


Teachers and parents all push for these higher than standard grades because that is supposedly how to get into an extraordinary college, which then leads to an extraordinary job, which further leads to extraordinary financial security and honorable life.


We are hurled into so much pressure to be greater, faster, stronger than everyone else. Societal standards have transformed living life into a brutal competition.


Getting better than great grades will assure your admission to a better than great college. So we push ourselves to the bone, even when you can have just as spectacular a life as a high school dropout. Although difficult, it is within the realms of possibility.


As once quoted by Elon Musk, “it’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”


This societal pressure cannot be avoided, as it is human nature to desire status and superiority. Or maybe it can.


Instead of teaching children to glorify perfectionism, we should encourage putting in just enough effort and doing the best they can because, right now, in high school, we are all growing, experimenting, and figuring out who we are and how we learn best.


This much pressure to be virtually faultless is draining the mental health of students and is merely denting the way people abide. Therefore, it is crucial that we put a stop to the word “average” infesting and polluting the way life is lived.


If we, as a community, work to reconstruct the definition of average, our children, in the long run, will feel less tension and will ultimately be able to enjoy the entirety of their childhood.  


It is up to you, up to us, to end this absurdity, to prioritize our time, and focus on putting our energy into better things than being “above the standard”.