SUCCESS: The Hopeful Seven-Letter Word

Hannah Noh, School News Editor

Success. Since we were children, everyone around us, from our parents and friends to our celebrity role models, has influenced the way we define this word. And because perspective is a product of societal influence and personal experience, BCA students may have similar definitions of what it means to be successful. Although all of us come from diverse backgrounds and families, our motives for attending this school ― along with the demanding academic workload that we tackle together ― may be molding our views of success towards one direction.

To understand BCA students’ various definitions of success, and to gather our student body’s opinions on this topic, the Academy Chronicle conducted a survey that received a total of 93 responses.

When survey respondents were asked what most closely defines success for them at the moment, 28% responded with “a ‘fun,’ enjoyable career.” Such a result may be surprising to the readers who are aware that BCA is known for its rigor, and that its students are known for their eagerness to catch up with such academic challenges. Yet, options associated with numerical accomplishments (e.g. exam grades) did not amass the highest number of votes. Hence, the fact that “a ‘fun,’ enjoyable career” garnered the highest percentage of clicks from the students who took this questionnaire may be an unexpected outcome.

In fact, the second highest definition of success turned out to be “close relationships with friends and family,” totaling with 15% of the responses. Meanwhile, “attending/being accepted into a prestigious school” cumulated only 14% of responses, and “monetary wealth/a highly profitable career” gathered 13%.



Even just by examining these few percentages, one can obtain a general idea of how the complex concept of success is structured in the minds of BCA students. Although we tend to place a heavy emphasis on numerical achievements when it comes to aiming for success, it is evident that still, we try not to let ourselves forget what we came to this school for: to find our passions. Is that not what would lead to “a ‘fun,’ enjoyable career?”

Next, our survey asked, “As a current student at BCA, when do you feel the most successful?” and respondents were instructed to check all options that applied to them. But, this question obtained entirely different results. Students chose “Receiving high grades, scores, and results” 75 times, which ended up being the most popular selection. However, it is important not to overlook the fact that the runner-up became “Finding/pursuing something you are passionate about,” which collected 70 votes.

The outcome of this particular question may be attributed to the fact that the choices were limited to BCA student life, not life in general. Therefore, “a ‘fun,’ enjoyable career” would not be applicable to high school experiences just yet. So, grades, G.P.A, and standardized test scores may be the more immediate definitions of success for current students.

A senior in AMST concluded, “BCA students typically define success in more numerical and concrete terms: high test grades, admission into colleges with low-digit acceptance rates, and so on.” This may be the case because the students who wish to find success through passion and a fulfilling career may feel as if the path to achieving this is with high test scores ― at least for now.



And finally, students were faced with a simple yes-or-no question: Do you feel successful? Only 40% answered yes, while 60% answered no. And as a follow up, the Chronicle asked survey participants for the biggest contributors, or biggest obstacles, to their success.



Among those who answered yes, a large number of them credited their supportive friends and family, and their hard work. Several responses mentioned how faith in their religion provides them strength. This shows that success may not always be purely an individual feat ― support from and good relationships with friends and family is also necessary. Therefore, it is important not to burden ourselves with this societal pressure to be successful because without the help and encouragement from those around us, we may likely burn out before we reach our goals.

Some students also seemed to feel that BCA’s opportunities make them successful. Viena Aiello, a freshman in AVPA-T explained, “I am learning how to act since I am in the theater academy, and I want to be an actress, so I feel successful enough knowing this will bring me closer to my goal.”

On the other hand, those who answered no tended to point to several issues as the cause for their not feeling successful. One of these includes strained mental well-being as a result of stress, difficulty forming friendships, parental pressure, and competition among peers.

A junior in AMST calls this pressure “unhealthy,” and says, “With a heavy workload, I barely have any time to spend with my family or my friends.” Similarly, many responses stated that this lack of time limits students’ abilities to pursue extra-curricular activities required for their college résumés, jobs for earning money, or other paths to finding success.

This view seems to be popular among us BCA students, as AAST junior Grace Tan explains. “I think we feel expected to find success in both schoolwork and extracurriculars, so we try to balance good grades with competitive activities outside of school, from Model UN conferences to volunteering positions at a local hospital.” This mindset, she says, “can result in constant overexertion.”

However, one AEDT freshman admits that she also makes sure to “focus on [her] out-of-school life,” and that to her, “even finishing a TV series is an accomplishment if [she] enjoyed what [she] did.”

Therefore, although it may be inevitable for a majority of BCA students to define success with quantitative results, ranging from grades to college acceptances to future salaries, the student body seems to be gradually transitioning out of this perspective. In other words, more students seem to be growing increasingly aware of how unhealthy this mentality is. But, no matter what the word “success” means to you, the Academy Chronicle hopes you achieve it.