A few hours ago, I opened my email and immediately wanted to cry.
I love to learn. I know, I’m a nerd, but I do. The power to attain knowledge and the ability to use it are privileges I am eternally grateful for. So why, then, did I feel this pain upon seeing a B+ as my Physics grade? Why do I care about something as insignificant as a letter grade, something that is not even indicative of what I’ve actually learned in class?
To put it simply, it’s because I want to get into a good college. Just like a plethora of my sleep-deprived, academically-obsessed friends, I want an A. Sure, I’ve been raised by my family to strive for great grades, yet there’s also an intrinsic motivation inside of me that makes me obsessed with earning the highest mark. It’s like getting a job – for some, the salary is all that matters. Yet now I’m beginning to realize that that’s not all there is to it.
So many of my peers are smart and intelligent. I know some of the brightest people – not because they’re going to go to Ivy League colleges, but because I can tell that they truly think about things. These people may not necessarily be those on the straight-A honor roll (though there are plenty that are), yet they are individuals I enjoy spending time with regardless.
There are others, though, that do get straight-A’s – and may or may not be intelligent. I know people who have cheated just to get that A, who have plagiarized or committed some other violation of the honor code that would cause their teachers to shake their heads in shame.
What I’m getting at is this: grades are grades. Just like how gays are gays. That’s all there is to it. I can complain, whine, moan and fail to take advantage of all the resources I have around me, or I can keep my head high and do my best to learn.
Of course I’m not going to start skipping school to or doing anything crazy, because in a way, grades do matter. The current education system is shaped in a way that getting good grades is essential to getting into a good college, and getting into a good college is necessary (for most of the time) for those who want to really learn and achieve success. I know that my goals in life require a college degree. But grades are, well, grades, and not the only factor in an college application or in life.
I know, what a wonderful way to start the weekend – ranting on the internet.
If only I had friends. But hey, at least I’ve learned (ha, get it? the post is about learning? I wish I was funny…) something through this. In fact, my English teacher told us that some people write to learn. Maybe one of those people is me. But then again, that would imply that I’m special… which I’m not.
All jokes aside, what do you guys think of grades vs. learning? I know there are some of you out there who are GPA
obsessed-freaks worrywarts like me. Now that I think about it, grades can help motivate students to learn, though that’s not always the case. Opinions please!