Should Grades Really Matter?
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Student Life

Should Grades Really Matter?

After my final grades were posted, I started to question the weight and the importance that we put on something as trivial as a number. Why are we so willing to put aside all of the hard-work and dedication that we know we put into our classes, over something as trivial as a number?

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Should Grades Really Matter?
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I worked my butt off this quarter, desperately trying for the illusive 4.0 to end my last quarter as an undergrad. As I sat with my family the day after graduation, I couldn't stop myself from checking my phone every five minutes, anxiously checking to see if final grades were in.

My first two grades came through Tuesday afternoon:

TWRT 280 4.0

TWRT 464 4.0

I wasn't surprised by either of these grades. I had worked hard and followed the grading contracts for both and was proud of myself and the work that I had completed.

The class I was nervous for was TWRT 487 - Advanced Creative Nonfiction. I had worked twice as hard in that class than the other two, and I had no idea what to expect in terms of my grade.

So I waited as patiently as I know how (which isn't very much) for my final grade to be posted - to see how well or how poorly I had performed. Tuesday night the grade came through:

TWRT 487 3.9

My first reaction was disappointment. I had worked my ass off in that class. I felt that I deserved better than a 3.9. As I laid in bed contemplating this 3.9 that had ruined my aspirations for a perfect Senior quarter, I thought about everything I had been through that quarter and everything that I worked so hard to overcome.

I had worked a part-time job, an 11-hour per week internship, became President of a writing community, and still managed to get an almost perfect GPA with a full-time class load. My 3.9 was actually damn good! It wasn't something I should be ashamed of or disappointing in. It is something that should celebrated as the ultimate accomplishment.

My first instinct was to share it with my parents, and then put it on social media. I did share it with my parents, but for some reason I had this gnawing feeling that it wasn't right for me to share with my friends.

Why was I embarrassed to share my accomplishments and achievements? I share all of my other achievements, so what made this different?

Guilt.

I didn't want my friends to feel bad if they hadn't done as well as I had; I didn't want them to hate me because of some arbitrary number that I had received.

The truly sad part is that this kind of thing actually happens: people gossip over grades, GPAs, and class achievements.

We resent those who do better than us. We question what they did to get a better grade.

But what does a grade really amount to? What is a grade really?

It's a random number that teachers assign to our work and our accomplishments. It's literally a number, an arbitrary, subjective value that is meant to represent everything we put into a class and an assignment.

It doesn't take into account everything that we went through to get there, to finish that assignment. It doesn't take into account that we went through a massive breakup the night before, or that our mom was in the hospital, or that we had just finished a 15-hour shift, or that we had a sick, crying three-year-old at home.

It doesn't reflect how much of ourselves we put into each and every assignment all quarter.

But the truth is, I know.

I know how many hours I worked before I could finally sit down and focus on my homework. I know what I missed out on because I had to study and finish a paper. I know exactly how many hours of sleep I didn't get every night because I stayed up late finishing an essay. I know exactly how much of myself I gave to every essay because I still have the scars.

I know what I did, and I'm damn proud of my 3.9 because in my eyes it might as well be a 4.0.

I'm not going to let myself be shamed and disappointed by a number.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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