How to Succeed in School, in Life with Less Stress

Michael DeLeers, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Over the years, Notre Dame Academy has earned the reputation of a place of intense academic competition. The expectation that students take rigorous classes and maintain a high GPA all while participating in an extracurricular has driven many students to the edge.

In response, students have flocked to tutors, studied for countless hours, and even resorted to cheating. All this being said, what if I told you there was an easier way, a way to grow your whole person and to succeed in school with less stress?

My solution is philosophy, offered for Notre Dame’s juniors and seniors. Philosophy strives to grow the whole person in every area of his life. Coming from the root words philo, meaning love, and sophia, meaning wisdom, philosophy is literally a love of wisdom. This love of wisdom is exactly what philosophy is; it is developing the passion for knowledge that every person has within himself. The class varies from classes like Calculus and English because it challenges students to take an introspective view of themselves and an extrospective view of the world around them.

In a school where students are focused on memorizing the correct answer, philosophy offers an abrupt break from that tradition. Although the class is completely different from any class you will have ever taken, it is not easy. Growth does not come without a little work.

If you wish to accept the call to adventure, which philosophy is, prepare yourself for heavy readings on subjects ranging from existentialism to determinism. Although the readings may be confusing and dry at some points, the payoff is huge; philosophy helps develop the part of your brain involving critical thinking and writing ability.  Indeed, it broadens even the widest of vocabularies with beautiful language.

If this does not attract you, think about how these improvements could benefit you as a student. For instance, many students are constantly worried about the ACT; some students pay thousands of dollars through tutoring just to increase their score one or two points. Philosophy can help raise your score one or two points because of the benefits stated above. It increases your reading and writing ability so much that once the ACT comes the readings seem like child’s play.

Your improvements as a student do not end in high school either.  According to a study by Physics Buzz, college students who major in philosophy average the highest scores in all three areas of the Graduate Record Examination, a standardized exam used to measure one’s aptitude for abstract thinking in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics and vocabulary.  The GRE is a major factor in acceptance into graduate school. Thus, if you are interested in growing yourself into a more well-rounded individual, give philosophy a try.