What Your Straight-A Friends Mean When They Say They 'Failed'

What Your Straight-A Friends Mean When They Say They 'Failed'

Bad grades may not be as bad as you think.

How annoying is it when you receive a less-than-average grade, and you ask your friend what grade they received, and they say said that they "failed?" And their version of "failure" means a high A?

It is truly a despondent day to see someone protesting about their so-called “failing” grade that happens to fall in the range of 90 percent to 100 percent. Georgia school systems have mandated that the failing grade is 60 percent or below, but high-achieving students proclaim the new failing standard is a 95 percent or below. To get any grade below 95 is unimaginably appalling and may even signify low intelligence and motivation, unworthy to continue their educational pursuit in a competitive high school atmosphere.

But the difference between a student that receives low A’s and a student that receives high A’s is not apparent by their GPAs when calculated in an unweighted system; both students could have similar GPAs and go to the same college. If the student who receives low A’s is now considered to be “failing," then our grade point average calculating system is corrupt, and renowned colleges are now choosing simple-minded students who they consider to be intelligent but are not.

If our grading system cannot be relied upon, then what can we do to calculate each student’s GPA to accurately measure their level of hard work and intelligence? A large number of high school students fail to realize that grades are not the only aspect of personal achievement that colleges will recognize — volunteer experiences, awards, sports and hobbies also play a role in admissions. In fact, straight-A students are being rejected from many colleges if they are not "well-rounded" enough.

Placing a heavy weight on the importance of grades has the power to lower your self-esteem. When you get a lower grade than your classmates on a test, you can't help but wonder if you are lacking in intelligence. In reality, you probably had less than six hours of sleep last night or had a terrible teacher, which are all valid reasons as to why your performance was mediocre. On the other hand, each student has his or her own definition of success and failure based on their history of performance. One student's success could be an 85, but another student's success could be a 95.

This does not mean that one person's standard is not as important as another's. It means: stop comparing yourself to others. Stop beating yourself up over a bad grade, and move on with a positive attitude. In the long run, grades do not matter — the amount of knowledge you retain does, which brings up a whole another issue.

Students do not care about applying abstract concepts or using hands-on experiments to expand their understanding. As long as the test has questions straight from the textbook, they are satisfied. After weeks go by, they forget the content, eager to memorize more material to receive that good grade for a high average. Learning is not a priority anymore, grades are. In that case, what has a student truly learned and appreciated in his or her 12 years of basic education?

So when you get a B on your next test, know that you did your absolute best. Remain optimistic, keep trying your best and get involved in what you are passionate about. Life is too short to be obsessed over simple numbers, so join that tennis team and take up woodworking. After all, colleges will appreciate your individualism, and you will enjoy the four most memorable years of your life.

Cover Image Credit: Suchita Kumar

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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To The High School Counselor I Wouldn't Have Made It To College Without

I couldn't have made it through high school without her and now even college.


Dear best counselor ever,

When I came into Blake High School I had no idea what to expect. I was a scared, confused, lost freshman. Coming into a school that my sister had just graduated from there were some familiar faces, yours being one of them. You were my sister's high school counselor for four years and then mine. But, you weren't just a counselor you were a friend.

Anytime I came into to your office you were there for me. You became more of a mother figure to me than a staff member. The endless times I came into your office with endless problems you were always there to help. When we lost two seniors my junior year your door was open for me and the rest of your students when we couldn't bear to go to class. When I couldn't handle my biology teacher anymore you were there for me to vent to. When I had testing anxiety you opened up a quiet space for me to take my tests. When I didn't know how to apply for colleges or what I even wanted in a college you were there for me. When they tried to switch my last name to a different counselor you kept me.

You were truly the role model, friend, mom, staff member I needed at Blake. I loved coming into your office and just talking to you about everything. I don't know how I would've survived four years without you and even survive college now. Every time I come home which isn't often your door is still open. I come home you ask how college is going and you're proud. You expect the best out of me and it makes me expect the best out of myself. I know how hard you work and I just want you to know that I couldn't have done it without you. When I was scared to go to a school fourteen hours away, away from my family and everyone I knew, you told me to follow my heart. My heart led me to Alabama and I couldn't be happier.

As you go back to school from winter break I want you to know how appreciated you are because I really don't know where I would be without a great friend like you. I walked across the stage at graduation looking at all the faces I would be leaving as I took the journey to Alabama. When you called my name I knew that was where my journey started. They handed me a red rose at the end of the stage. We were told to give it to someone who made a difference in our four years at Blake. I gave it to you not only because you made a difference in those four years, but because you made a difference in my whole life and taught me so many lessons that I couldn't have taught myself. I am stilling learning so much and I can't wait to tell you all about it the next time I come to your office.


Your favorite student (hopefully)

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