For those who don’t live in Australia, that is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It is a number from 1-100 that determines what universities you get into, what classes you can do. And for two years in highschool, this number is your life.
It’s the reason you do exams and study and usually when someone does ATAR, they have a goal in mind about where they want that number to be.
And fuck, it’s total bullshit.
It is a number that ranks you across all of the other students in the nation. Pretty much the further away from the average you are, the more you’re number will change (for better or worse)
70 is the standard admission rank to universities, law programs admissions starting at 97.
The very layman’s definition of how it works is that, if you get 80, you have a higher score than 80% of the populous. So you can’t get 100 because you are part of the populous and you can’t beat yourself.
This means that this system consists of pitting students against your peers. You friends are you competition, the better they do, the worse you do.
Why have we stopped valuing learning in school and have decided to put kids in pits with books to see who can retain information the best and who can stay up all night, or get their hands on Adderall, or who can handle all the pressure of a number without breaking down?
Why do we live our lives for other people?
Why is it that when I make an achievement, my first thought is how the people around me will perceive me better for this, rather than how proud I am of myself?
Why is it that when I fail, I focus on how everyone around me did better than me?
Why is anything I do never well enough because someone else did better? I’m sick of feeling like I’m not good enough because someone did better than me.
And I am fucking sick of a system that makes me have waves of anxiety where I need to know everyone else’s score, when the only time I feel any spark of happiness is when I do the best in a test.
My life has been reduced to a number that a teacher gives me, who really couldn’t understand how important it is to me.
That time when a teacher joked that my 99% wasn’t good enough and I didn’t want to tell him that it really wasn’t.
I hate the feeling when my heart hits the bottom of my stomach when I do badly. I hate that when I stress out about tests, I decide that I deserve to indulge in bad habits. I hate resenting my friends for doing better than me but more so I hate when I do better than them, because I know all too well the nights crying over textbooks and to my psychologist.
I want to be happy with my place in this world. I don’t want to care about what anyone else got. I want to be proud of my scores; I want to be proud of my friends’ scores.