Brain over brawn: How school geeks have become the new 'in crowd'

A recent study challenges 'geek' stereotype, revealing that academically inclined students are happier and more socially engaged; 'Excellence tracks empower students to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy,' says expert
Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad|
Forget the stereotypes from American TV shows and movies you've been saturated with since you were a baby. A recent study spills the beans on the so-called "geek" image. Turns out, those brainy students rocking the science and excellence tracks in school are actually happier than their Alpha-type counterparts. They're hitting the sports field, socializing like champs, and handling negative vibes with ease.
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A study carried out in collaboration with the Trump Foundation (yes, you read that right) has shed light on the lives of book-hitting students. This research surveyed 4,000 bright minds ages 12-19, attending various middle schools and high schools across diverse cities. Focusing on emotional well-being and functionality, the study uncovered fascinating insights.
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A recent study spills the beans on the so-called "geek" image
A recent study spills the beans on the so-called "geek" image
A recent study spills the beans on the so-called "geek" image
(Photo: Shutterstock)
Surprisingly, students in excellence tracks displayed lower levels of mental symptoms and addictive substance use. They also spent less time glued to screens and, astonishingly, they reported outperforming their peers on tasks and challenges.
Professor Anat Shoshani, the editor of the study hailing from the Maytiv Center at Reichman University, has shed light on the impact of advanced science majors on students' mental well-being.
She highlighted how these specialized tracks "foster self-realization, purpose and meaning in students' lives. By setting challenging educational goals, cultivating self-esteem, and providing structured learning environments, these excellence tracks empower students to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy and satisfaction."
Shoshani emphasizes that excellence goes beyond mere academic knowledge and skills. It encompasses a wide range of cognitive, social and psychological abilities that set these students apart.
The findings suggest that the structured routines and supportive frameworks within excellence tracks not only alleviate stress and anxiety but also enhance holistic development and personal growth.
Meet Danielle Maimon, a 8th-grader at ORT Middle School in Modi'in, specializing in science and engineering. With an impressive average of 95, Danielle's sights are already set on the world of high-tech. "I'm drawn to studying practical subjects," she declares.
Danielle seems to show proficiency with time management, skillfully balancing her academic pursuits with a rich social life. Despite her dedication to learning, she finds time to enjoy family trips, indulge in movies, unleash her artistic talents through drawing, and even whip up culinary creations in the kitchen.
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דניאל ממון אורי ויינספלד
דניאל ממון אורי ויינספלד
Danielle and Guy
(Photo: Home Album)
Daniel's passion for knowledge and her diverse interests harmoniously coexist, demonstrating that she can pursue academic ambitions without sacrificing the things she loves.
Guy Weisfeld is a talented 7th grader enrolled in the science and technology specialization class at Modi'in's Municipal School. Despite his academic focus, Guy has a passion for basketball that he actively pursues, playing for the municipal team.
"We have two excellent groups that share a strong social bond. We speak the same language and provide support to one another. I have time to train, study, play and meet with friends. Time management is an issue, but where there's a will there's a way," he says.
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