Let’s talk about this valorized, magnificent “4.0”, this grade-chasing phenomenon. At the end of my high school career, I promised myself I would begin to focus on more on growing as a person as opposed to obsessing over my grades. Fast forward to my first semester in college, and I decide I want to internally transfer into my university’s school of engineering. Obviously, I wanted to put forth an appealing application for my internal transfer which meant having good grades. Consequently, nothing about my mentality concerning academics changed from high school to college. I still put my letter grades above all else, including my personal growth and mental wellbeing. I’m not so brash as to claim that academics are the source of 100% of my strife, but they have played a large role in my unhappiness at this school (because yes, I am not particularly enjoying my time here, but that’s a subject for another post).
We’ve all heard aphorisms like “your grades don’t define you.” And words can sound nice and perhaps make you feel something. But at the end of day, I still struggle to internalize such sayings. I value hard work, and I like to throw myself completely into what I do because if I don’t, why do anything at all? But I feel I’ve lost sight of the line between valuable, meaningful conscientiousness and unhealthy grade-chasing. An A+ on an exam sure feels damn good, but tethering self-validation to and becoming so emotionally invested in grades is noxious. College is hard. Professors can be unreasonable, so a C or an F doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a prize idiot. It means you had an off-day, or a teacher wrote a brutal exam, or the course is simply that difficult. So from here, I am trying to improve my notions of what matters to me. Paradigm shifts aren’t easy, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. But I think/hope the payoff will be worthwhile.
tl;dr: fuck grades.