Is A Letter Really That Important?

What Do Grades Actually Measure?

Because honestly I am still confused...

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As of today, I have been a student for the past 14, all the way from Pre-K to sophomore year in college. It has been a very long time with lots of changes, but one thing that has stayed the same has been that I have almost always been graded. It started off with the easy stuff like reading and then got a bit more advanced with the division, and now I am onto the hard stuff like calculus and microbiology. Regardless of the content, a letter was always attached to how well I was doing, A, B, C, etc. But, over time that letter did not only measure my "understanding of the course material" but also my self-worth.

Time and time again I have heard students lament bad grades with statements like "omg my mom is going to kill me" or "wow no one is going to want to hire me if I fail this course." A single bad grade suddenly becomes something that is so much bigger than a class, let alone a single letter of the alphabet. More so, nowadays the expectation and range of which grade to get have gotten narrower and narrower. Now, getting a B is simply average, while getting an A is what is thought to be as the best.

Obviously, within the moment, a bad grade feels like the end of the world. It feels like all of your hard work and effort is not good enough, and will never be good enough. Now clearly this logic is melodramatic but the constant level of stress students face can easily explain why a sudden failure would be so much more painful. If you are on edge 24/7, there comes a moment in which you have to breakdown.

But, as people there is so much to us than what a letter can describe. You can be loud or quiet, artistic or scientific, or maybe a mix of them all. Maybe you are horrible at writing essays but amazing at writing poems. Maybe you love chemistry but hate biochemistry. Maybe traditional education isn't your thing, but instead, you are great at a specific job or hobby.

At the end of the day, a bad grade is something that most people just forget about over time. That specific project or even class blurs away and becomes inconsequential in the long scheme of life. Your mom will still love you, you will still be able to get a job, and you will still be able to be proud of yourself. Think about it like this, are you really going to let such an inconsequential thing like a letter be how you measure your self-worth?

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There's Nothing That Compares To That First Summer Trip

When the trip is over, and you pack your bags, you don't only leave with tan lines and a full heart; you leave with memories you will never forget.

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Every spring as the weather gets warmer we anticipate that last day of class. We wait for the best watermelons to arrive in the grocery stores. We clean our pitchers to have them ready for lemonade and sweet tea. We anticipate those summer firsts and the first family trip is no different.

You head into your garage to pull out and dust off the luggage. You prepare your road trip playlist. You pull out your favorite shorts and swimsuits and remember your last beach trip. Whether this is a new destination or the same place you go every year, you have the car packed to the fullest. You can't even see out the back of the car.

This is a tradition you have done for years but you still get so excited as if this was the first time. You are so excited you can't manage to fall asleep just like when you were a kid. You lay awake, tossing and turning, thinking about last year's trip and all the laughs you had. You think about the food you will eat and the things you will do until you drift off to sleep.

Maybe, your entire family is going or maybe you have some new additions or some that couldn't make it. Regardless of how many you have with you, you are surrounded by the people you love. You can't help but smile. You all put the destination in the GPS and head on your way. The first trip of summer has officially begun.

You arrive, and you rush to unpack your swimsuits from your bags and run to the nearest body of water to beat the summer heat. Your heart is racing, and you are flooded with excitement for the upcoming days. You watch the sunset and think about how you never get the time to watch the sunset at home. The heat of the day is gone, and you settle in for the night.

This is the official start of summer. This is the greatest feeling in the world. You put down your phone and pick up cards or a board game. You actually make time to talk, laugh, and joke with your family and friends. You all reminisce on past family vacations and share your favorite memories.

When the trip is over, and you pack your bags, you don't only leave with tan lines and a full heart; you leave with memories you will never forget. You pack the car to the brim again and drive away knowing that exactly one year from now you will return with the same feelings of excitement. You will continue the tradition until one day you're packing up your own car for a family trip with your children.

No matter how many days of summer break you have, you always remember the first one. No matter how many sweet watermelons you eat, you always remember the first one. No matter how many times you pack your bags and travel this summer, you will always remember the first trip. When school starts back and the leave change color, these are the feelings of summer that will keep you warm until next year.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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