Tag Archives: self-deprecation

Grades vs. Learning… and Lots of Self-Inflicted Insults

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?

I never was very good at art.

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.

I think I'll use Paint images more often from now on. Hm.

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!

20 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

Three Deadly Words: I’m So Fat

You’re remembered by the things you do, the things you say, and the things you believe in. Here’s what I mean:

Friend of mine #1: Did you hear what happened to Thomas?

Friend of mine #2: Thomas? You mean the one who reads 24/7, supports gay rights, plays tennis, blogs, and calls himself fat all the time?

Hold up. I know what you’re thinking. Thomas doesn’t have friends in real life. Why would Thomas’s friends say that he calls himself fat?

Maybe because he eats one of these every day... just kidding!

I have a problem. I self-deprecate. A lot.

I’m not saying that self-deprecation is a bad thing – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. In his book Thank You For Arguing, Jay Heinrichs states that self-deprecating is a good way to indirectly compliment yourself. By downplaying yourself to others, you can brag that you only have 25,000 subscribers and that you only make $200,000 a year. It’s like a socially acceptable form of arrogance.

That’s not the type of self-deprecation I’m against. Well, it is, sort of. But the form of self-deprecation I’m referring to is much worse. It’s when you actually believe the bad things you’re saying about yourself are true, even when they’re not. It’s poisonous, a mental parasite that takes over your mind and kills your self-confidence.

I own three scales. It's a long story.

According to this BMI calculator, I’m not overweight or obese. My weight is normal. So why do I keep calling myself fat? Why do I think that that’s true when it’s not? To those of you who are like me: please stop. You’re not stupid, ugly, useless, or fat. It’s not appropriate to deride others, and it’s definitely not acceptable to ridicule yourself.

I’m stopping now. I’m listening to all of my friends and family that insist on arguing with me every time I insult myself, even though if I were them I would’ve given up a long time ago.

Small steps. Like a recovering smoker, I won’t go cold turkey; I’ll allow myself one self-deprecating comment per day until I stop completely. My goal will be to be rid of this curse by September 6, 2011 – the first day of my junior year. And to all of you who are trapped by your own insecurity, your own hurtful criticisms: you are not alone.

What do you think of self-deprecation? Is it beneficial or damaging? Do you self-deprecate?

18 Comments

Filed under Personal