We’ve heard it all before: Asian Americans complaining about the immense pressure put on by their parents to attend Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale. We should all study harder, ace the SATs and excel in extracurricular activities to pad our college applications so we can fulfill their dreams of being a part of these prestigious universities. While I don’t condone a stressful lifestyle for high school students, I do believe that there are times when our parents are looking out for our best interest–and this is one of them.
Why wouldn’t you want to attend an Ivy League school? Their graduates end up making more money, they can schmooze with famous, wealthy alumni, they’re able to hang out with more white people and the campuses are a lot prettier than most state schools (see vintage postcard above). And the biggest benefit comes from the feeling of superiority over all the other Asian Americans who weren’t able to attend the same school. (Let’s be honest: this is really the only reason why we all want to go to Harvard.)
So couldn’t you argue that the pressure and stereotypes we face to attend an Ivy League school is more advantageous that detrimental to our community? If we’re here in America to seek better lives, what’s wrong with having our parents making sure we do things right?
Starting now, I’m calling for a change in the attitude towards higher education among Asian Americans. Study harder. Ace the SAT exams. Excel in those 15 extracurricular activities you signed up. Do what it takes to get ahead. Squash the weak and the dumb. Make sure that early acceptance letter (or email) from Dartmouth shows up in your mailbox. And lose that fobby accent. It’s all for the best. Who’s with me??