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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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.


I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.


I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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