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The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

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Lyndsey Clark

on 8 January 2015

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Transcript of The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids

Now that we've gone over all of the characters, which one do you
think you can relate to the most and why?
-AP Frank: the brainiac pressured by his parents to succeed who finally breaks free
-Audrey: the perfectionist who is always busy and has hardly any free time
-Ryland:Slacker with high anxiety who gets good grades if he takes his ADD medication
-Sam: The highly stressed student who focuses primarily on getting into the best college
-Taylor: The popular student who is also intelligent
-Pete: The once straight-A student that decided to take a more carefree path
-Julie: The self-driven overachieving star school athlete
-C.J.: the smart kid that people assume to be dumb because of her looks and athleticism
Alexandria Robbins
Robbins graduated from Walt Whitman high school in Bethesda, Maryland in 1994
Graduated from Yale University in 1998
3/5 of her books have been New York Times Bestsellers
She is a journalist, lecturer, and author
Robbins broke the story about President Bush's unimpressive college grades and SATs in The New Yorker
Central Argument
Robbins shows us the students' daily struggle of trying to juggle a successful school life and trying to maintain extracurricular activities and pressure from friends, teachers, parents, society, and themselves. The main idea is that kids today are attempting to maintain too high of a standard, because we are so consumed by the idea that however well we perform in academics or athletics as teenagers, determines how successful we will be later in life. This mindset has caused kids to push themselves more than they could endure, and leads to stress induced physical harm that students go through on a daily basis. In the book, there were cases of anorexia and thinning hair which were both results of students facing extreme pressure and success to do well in school.
Number 1 Moment
The book's biggest moment is seen when AP Frank and his strict mother get into a verbal turned physical fight over his academic and social expectations. Mrs. AP Frank has her mind set on him being a biology major, but that isn't AP Frank's dream. She continues to insult his friends and not see life from his perspective. She attacks him and AP Frank decides he has had enough and strikes back, resulting in her believe he is even more rebellious. Frank's visit to his guidance counselor, Mr. Murphy, ends in social services being called on his mother as a threat to loosen up on Frank and his brother.
This moment is a big part of the book because it created a chain of events such as when Frank got to Harvard his study and social skills changed by him not having so much pressure from his mom to get As in every class. For AP Frank's brother, Richard, the fight brought about a new life for him in that social services were once again called during school to pick him up and send him to rich and loving foster parents. The fight also made AP Frank and Richard's father divorce their extreme and strict mother to have a more calm and peaceful life. There was rich imagery when the fight was described between AP Frank and his mother and Richard's new life. A metaphor was used to describe AP Frank's life post the fight with his mom, comparing him to a falling avalanche.
The Characters
Overview of Overachievers
The book follows 9 overachievers at Whitman High School throughout their junior and senior years and into college as they manage workload stress, pressure to succeed, and extracurricular activities. Robbins argues that school pressure could possibly be detrimental to student's mental and physical well being.

The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandria Robbins

AP Frank
Walt Whitman high alumni, perceived as the workhorse
Harvard freshman
"AP" prefix comes from him taking 7 AP classes junior year for a total of 17 throughout high school
Asian mother pressures him and his younger brother to earn no less than a 4.0 GPA and results to physical or emotional harm if it is not achieved
Did not start having a social life until he left for college where he started wushu (martial arts), frisbee club, and acted
He began to change his study habits after he left high school where now it isn't the end of the world if he makes a B and he doesn't study as hard
Lyndsey Clark, Brook Fitzpatrick, Medina Hamzagic, Luis Perez
Senior and percieved as "the superstar"
Self-driven straight-A student since 6th grade
Walt Whiteman high school's most talented female distance runner since her freshman year
She aspired to be a triathlete
She was president and co-founder of the Hiking Vikings Club
Member of the spanish honor society
Big buddy to a child in a homeless shelter
Percieved as a likable girl, but she felt she didn't fit into her clique of 14 girls
She was constantly stressed and busy with school work and extracurricular activities
Junior, percieved as the meathead
He had the necessary skills to succeed but not the motivation
Used to be a straight-A student
Spring of freshman year he had an incident in which he stayed up too late to finish a research paper and then he took too many caffiene pills, and collapsed during football practice.
He's best friends with Cliff, who only comes to school for friends, football, and the girls.
Pete looked up to Cliff and he admires his careless attitude.
stealth overachiever
Percieved as The Teacher's Pet
Wants to get into an Ivy League school
Obsesses over the prestidge of colleges
The codirector of the
Black & White
Internship with the Supreme Court
Taught English to teenagers in China
Didn't get accepted into Standford, but got accepted into Middlebury
Craved attention and pretended he was suicidal
Ranked as the most stressed student at Whitman
Obsessed with Julie, one of his close friends, but he meets Ellie later and makes her his girlfriend
Senior, percieved as the popular girl
Belongs to a nameless popular clique
Voted sophomore homecoming princess
Student government treasurer
Oversaw the annual Mr. Whitman pagent (similiar to the Mr.Ugly pagent at Stanton)
Founded an annual bookdrive for underpriveldged elementary school children
Recieved a perfect score on the math portion of the SAT
Hides her intelliengence from her popular friends
Plays on the varsity soccer team
Plays on a club lacrosse team
Ends up going to Duke
Whitman junior, perceived as the flirt
Does track and cross country
Feels as if she in competition with Julie even though Julie is a grade ahead of her and is better
People don't think she is smart just based off her appearance
Her councelor thinks that she should apply to more more prestigious colleges but it isn't that important to her
Junior, perceived as the perfectionist
Bestfriends with C.J.
Involved in the school newspaper, varsity swim team, Young Democrats, Model United Nations, Spanish Honor Society, Art Honor Society and a Native American outreach program
Gets anxiety before tests
Has understanding parents
Wants to attend Georgetown University
Junior, perceived as the slacker
Struggles with fluxuating grades
Involved in the Black and White, multiple clubs
Suffers from ADD so he was perscribed Ritalin but his mother doesn't like him to take the pills even thought diminishes his anxiety and allows him to focus better
When he's not stressed and takes the Ritalin he makes straight A's
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