No matter if one is looking at high school or college, there are these types of students everywhere; even some in elementary and middle school. I am not speaking to the student who gets good grades because they've paid attention during class due to the likability of learning, nor the student who studies because it's important to get good grades. I'm talking to the student whose life revolves around grades.
It likely started off at a young age. Parents and teachers obviously, and rightly so, encouraged that you do homework, pay attention, and study. The point of school is to learn and to see if one has adequately learned the information, grades are needed. Although, as time went on it became less of, "I need to learn this information, and to prove I have become smarter my parents and teachers will see an A" and has become more of, "An A is the only thing that matters in the end. Colleges won't test me to see if I actually know how to calculate the standard deviation, but if I had an A in the subject area, they'll assume I profusely learned the material at some point. Colleges like prospective students who have shown that they were knowledgeable in high school. Colleges like A's.
To the students whom I'm speaking to, the students like me, we are not understood by many. They don't understand why we stay in on the weekends or why we're constantly checking Blackboard. Just as we will never understand how a bad grade doesn't run their day or even week. When our peers get a C and see we got a B-, they question why we're visibly upset over it. They think we are overdramatic, and they're probably right. The thing is, our whole life grades have been something that defines us. Once you start getting consistent A's, there's no going back. You're denoted as "the smart child" or "the smart friend" or even if you're unlucky, yes I mean unlucky, voted the superlative of "Most Likely To Succeed." So, if by chance you don't "succeed" in terms of what those who voted for you imagined you'd achieve, you've failed. Your grades label you.
Many high school and college students have more common obsessions. Sports, sex, weight, relationship status, alcohol, or drugs. We obsess over grades, but it may be one of the worst obsessions of them all.
After taking a test everyone pulls out their phone to text their friends. After taking a test we pull out our phone to use the calculator to calculate the maximum amount of points we could have missed on that test to get a 90%.
Before spring break everyone calculates the estimated price of their Fort Lauderdale trip including flights, hotels, and over-priced vodka sprites. Before spring break we calculate what grades we need to get on the rest of the assignments the remainder of the semester to receive an A in the end.
After the semester ends everyone else goes on their computer to binge watch Netflix after a rough 16 weeks. After the semester ends we stare at our computer waiting for the final grades to be released, even though we know they're not coming for another week, yet we keep checking.
Grades are important, but not important enough to be compulsive over them. Being a "good" student doesn't mean receiving A's all the time. Especially in honors or AP classes in high school, and in level 2000 + classes in college. A good student is someone who attends class, does the suggested homework and studying, or slightly above that. No where, has any professor or parent said that being a "good" student should entail not allowing yourself to go out on the weekends, or being so nervous about a grade you have not yet received that you check your phone waiting for it to be entered in, even though you know the professor said they won't be in for another few days.
To the students who can't take anything lower than an A, and makes their state of mind and mood contingent on whatever grade they receive, you will survive.