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Envy of Students: Educational Problem Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 9th, 2022

Envy is a state of emotion that one experiences when he/she feels the lack of perceived superior qualities that another person has. From various recent researches carried out, students have been known to envy each other, both from the collective (institutional level) down to the individual level. This is common especially among American and the Middle East student, in college and High schools. Many students consider their colleagues as rivals rather than partners, and this approach has generally caused their relationship more harm than good. Their attitudes towards each other as it has been seen even on social networks and blogs indicate that they generally have negative attitudes towards each other. The internet hasn’t made the situation any better. This is because it has become a forum whereby they even verbally attack each other on issues such as race, creed, the particular education systems that the students use and many other reasons, because they can hide their faces behind the internet. Various scholars and researchers have tried looking at the root and cause of this phenomenon, because it has been a trend in the past decades, and have come up with various conclusions (Sriraman, 2005).

Although some people believe that envy among students is as a result of seeking success, I believe that the envy is as a result of not having the ability to obtain success. From this statement, I believe that students who are less advantaged compared to their rival students will tend to be jealous of their counterparts, both from the resources they have, to their unique capabilities to carry out a given task. Students get frustrated every time they see their counterparts doing better and being in a better position to carry out one given task. This is not only common in a school setting, but also in working places; offices, governments and also in institutions. Such frustrations result to lower motivation in them, and this leads to even lower levels of productivity. Students who especially have just transferred to other schools or neighborhoods may find it difficult to adjust to their new environment. This may lead them to loosing focus and instead of concentrating on adjusting to the new settings; they may concentrate more on envying the students whom they find in their new schools. This will eventually lower their self belief and confidence, and they won’t work as hard as the others and this leads to poor performance. In different cases, some students have a strong personalities and confidence. These students go to their new schools and despite the new environment; they adjust quite fast and give their all to their education and extra-curricular activities such as games whereby they expose their unique talents. These too end up being envied by the other students. These are two sets of students and the only difference between them is their attitudes towards others. This shows how much impact envy and jealousy have on students.

When a student desperately tries to be at per with his fellow students through hard work and fails severally, he will run out of ideas as to how he can catch up with the others. The state of helplessness that follows will lead him to frustrations and desperation. This frustration will lead to him envying his fellow students. ‘Envy is when they try to be like you, but with no success’ (Freeman, 2001). In the above statement, Godberson A. argues that when a person admires what you do or what you have accomplished with no success, they will tend to be envious of your work. This envy leads them to try to outdo you through either imitation or their own innovation. If by chance they fail, they will feel like they have not achieved their purpose in a given course of an activity, and this will lead them to envying your work and achievements. The same situation happens among the students’ setting. When they try so much to be like their ‘competitors’ in either academics or even in extra-curricular activities (games, music, drama, recognition) and fail, they will eventually become envious of them. This envy is as a result of not being able to accomplish what someone else has done.

The internet is yet another source where one can study students’ behavior, thoughts and attitude towards different matters affecting them. This is because the internet and social sites are very popular among the youth especially high school and college students. Through this medium, students interact, share ideas, thoughts and meet new friends, and it is especially advantageous to the shy and quite students. This is because the internet gives them some freedom of expression without having to face the fear of accusations or rejection. One such blog is Oh how I envy American students. A British student shares that he envies American students in universities compared to him and other students in England. Ha goes further to state that the reason behind the envy is because he thinks that the American students are offered accommodation within the school unlike he, who has to look for private accommodation in his second and third years of university, and this makes him miss out on some of the activities that American students engage in, because they reside within school. From his argument, it is possible to figure it out from the anonymous student that he envies the American students probably because they have something that he and his colleagues don’t (in-school accommodation). If he had the same facilities as the American students, he wouldn’t have been envious of them.

Looking at the same problem from a different angle, people with equal levels of knowledge, facilities, resources and share the same views concerning a given phenomenon are less likely to be envious of each other. The reason is because they have nothing to be envious about, with no one standing better chances over the other. This has been portrayed well by Fullan, M. (1993). Through interviewing correspondents, he looks at North Korea as a whole, collectively where almost all citizens fall within the same financial and social capabilities. From this established fact, Fullan argues that the reason North Korea has experienced notably high levels of growth and development from being a third world country in the 1960s, a position that the country held together with African and several South and Central American countries is because the country is generally peaceful and there is minimal envy among the citizens. “When there is minimal envy among people who fall within the same financial bracket, and have a common goal to achieve, it is possible to attain their objectives through maintaining general peace and order within themselves.” (Massé, Line; Gagné, Françoys, 2002) This has been seen to bear fruits because the country has been doing well economically for the last two decades, and their annual Gross Domestic Product keeps on increasing, annually. The same case will apply to students in all schools. If a student feels at per with his/her colleagues in all areas, he/she won’t be envious of them. This is for the obvious reason that there is nothing to be envious about. It is the reason why students tend to form cliques with colleagues with whom they fall under the same or almost-same capability capacities. In many institutions, bright students, outspoken students etc tend to stick together, and vice versa.

From the study and the research from the books and general observation, it can be drawn to a conclusion that although some people believe that envy among students is as a result of seeking for success, envy is as a result of not having the ability to obtain success. Everyone has an equal potential to success, as it has been proven in the case of North Korea. Secondly, people who are less advantaged compared to their rivals tend to be envious of them, as seen in the case of the American verses English students.


Fullan, M. (1993). The new meaning of educational change (2nd ed.): New York, Teachers College Press. Print.

Freeman, J (2001). Gifted Children Grown Up: London, David Fulton Publishers. Print.

Massé, Line; Gagné, Françoys. (2002). Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol. 46 Issue 1: Austin, TX,Prufrock Press Inc.

Sriraman, Bharath.(2005). Journal of Secondary Gifted Education: Charlotte, Information Age Publishing.

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