Behind our decision to publish the post-graduation card
Every year, the oracle publishes a graduation map with a list of schools for seniors and future plans listed by location in its latest issue. The map is meant to represent the diversity of the school’s community and individual student achievements, but has been criticized for contributing to a toxic, college-oriented campus culture.
Most local high school publications also publish versions of the graduation card, but in recent years Palo Alto, Cupertino, and Gunn High Schools have eliminated their graduation cards, citing their perpetuation of toxic competition as the reason. of this decision.
After careful consideration of the three main criticisms leveled at the map, and in an effort to inform readers and make ethical decisions that will best serve the student body in mind, the oracle Editorial Committee decided to keep the graduation card in this issue.
The first criticism is that the graduation card forces students to make unhealthy comparisons about their projects without considering the external factors playing a role in student decisions.
However, the map only provides factual information; The tendency of students, staff, and parents to interpret the map without considering the external factors that lead to student decisions is not the fault of the graduate map itself. Eliminating the card would not eliminate the unhealthy comparison; only a region-wide cultural shift in how students, faculty, and parents perceive the university could achieve this.
To guide the interpretation of the map and help encourage this cultural shift, the oracle includes a statement next to the map. The statement urges readers to consider the variety of financial circumstances, personal and career aspirations, and family situations that influence student decisions after graduation.
Even if there is no published map, students will share their postgraduate projects on social media. However, allowing all students to share their plans through the graduation card ensures that the student body is informed of a wide range of plans, rather than being limited to the plans of the people they follow who choose to to share.
A second criticism of the card is that it makes students feel uncomfortable, especially if they are not proud of their future plans.
By comparing their plans to those of the rest of their group of friends, students who take less traditional paths or attend less “prestigious” schools may feel less proud of their future. But by allowing these students to see a diversity of paths, including paths similar to their own, the graduation card creates a sense of community and assurance.
This year, participation in the card is completely optional. Previously, the oracle has repeatedly tracked students who have not completed the form to be included, but to lessen the pressure for students who do not wish to be listed, the oracle has emphasized self-selection. the oracle assumed that not responding to the survey meant that a student did not want to be listed and therefore did not send follow-up emails to those who did not respond.
A third criticism is that the map contributes to a toxic academic culture by valuing individuality over community. the oracle only considered listing the schools, without the names of the students, but ultimately decided against it as it places more emphasis on the prestige of the school than on the personal achievements of the student, than graduation card strives to celebrate. The card provides a physical reminder of hard work, perseverance and dedication that fueled their success throughout high school and will carry with them.
In a survey sent to the senior population, with 97 responses, approximately 90% responded that the graduation card had a neutral, positive or very positive effect on the school, demonstrating that students generally do not find the card dangerous in the promoting a negative culture.
Removing the map would be a performative display of activism on behalf of student mental health and would not address the root causes of this issue.
the oracle urges readers to be mindful of their interpretations of the degree map and congratulates all seniors as they enter an exciting new phase in their lives.
This decision represents our current view, but we are always open to new information that may change what we do in future issues. the oracle hopes to continue discussions on this important subject. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions, ideas or opinions.