In Response To “Barking Up The Wrong Tree”

I’m not saying that it’s entirely wrong but this article seems to be pointing out something that a.) should be obvious and b.) leads to the false conclusion that to be the valedictorian means automatically that you’re a robotic, herd-loving pawn of “the system.” It’s true – valedictorians are not likely to be particularly successful. But that’s true of any individual within a large population. Including you.
The US has something like 25,000 public high schools, and that doesn’t count the private schools. You therefore have something like 25,000 valedictorians. Do you really expect that all 25,000 are going to be the next Gandhi? And given that the majority of humans – valedictorians or not – are very schedule and rule-oriented, do you really take this as surprising? Valedictorian is a title. It doesn’t make the person who received the title any more or less human. Furthermore, this article seems to state that the edgy rebels are the ones who go far. That may be the case sometimes, but it’s not because gamblers have some sort of advantage in terms of their luck. In reality the people who go far do so because of perseverance, not because of a title they did or did not achieve in an early, relatively minor point in their life. There is no real, truly quantifiable indicator of success at this point.
Also, just to refute that BS about standardized tests being a better indicator of IQ:  “How I Learned To Take the SAT Like A Rich Kid”  reveals that many if not most of the highest scorers belong to the upper rungs of society because they can afford extensive test preparation.
I fully admit that following the rules is indeed a major issue – see the book Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz. But contrary to what the article seems to imply, this phenomenon is not limited to valedictorians, nor does it mean the chances of valedictorians changing or impressing the world is especially lower simply because they have obtained such a title. It is, rather, a tragic phenomenon that applies to us all, straight-A student or not: that we, as humans, have a tendency to conform to the rules and do nothing, forsaking our ideals for comfort and never truly making our mark on the world.

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