By Belester Benitez
Breaks are great. No more finals. Done with papers. Nothing but sun, friends and free time. The one thing that constantly lingers in the back of my mind though, are grades. We all anticipate that Friday when we can check how well we performed in the previous quarter’s classes. Some of us get happy upon checking our grades, some of us get sad. Some of us even post of our successes or frustrations on Facebook for all our friends to see; the innate human need to connect with others.
In my opinion, you don’t have to wait until that Friday to check StudentAccess to decide how you feel about your quarter; you can do that right after you turn in your last final. You should asses your academic performance throughout the school year according to your effort and how you feel about yourself, not based on the grades you receive in your classes. If you always do your best, it is all you can do. I think it is sad that regardless of how much effort a student puts in and how good they feel about their studying, it all comes down to the letter grade. Never before has the alphabet loomed so menacingly over our heads.
Effort is what matters to me. If you try your very hardest in a class and get a B, that’s something to be proud of. If you do the bare minimum and receive an A, I don’t see as much significance in that grade. I think students should start deciding how valuable they are for themselves, instead of subjecting themselves and their emotional dispositions to the grading system. That being said, this is easier said than done; especially given the highly competitive education system and country we are a part of.
I think education is great. It teaches us to think and approach life with an open mind. It changes lives. It is the reason my parents were able to achieve the American Dream. But I do not think it is something you should judge your happiness and self worth on. Unfortunately, this is what students nowadays are doing to themselves. Primitive people did not have transcripts and I’m sure they found happiness. Happiness lies in your loved ones, your friends and your family. These are the things that are important. Education is a man-made institution that we have been made to think our happiness is contingent upon. You must not let the alphabetical rankings change the ways you feel about yourself. You know how you feel about your classes before ever getting a letter grade, this is the feeling you should care about.
As I mentioned above though, this is all extremely difficult to do because of the system we are a part of. We are taught that if we do not get an education we will fail in the world, that an education is only valuable if our transcript depicts a stutter consisting of the first letter of the alphabet. In a sense this is true, due to the country we live in.
In the United States a person without an education is severely restricted. We cannot live the life we want to live without college diplomas under our belt. As the youth of this country we have been infected with fear- the fear of not having an honorable career, not making good money, not being successful, failing. We are so fearful that “succeeding” has taken control of our lives. We have lost sight of the important things- friends, family, simply living life. Our lives have taken a back seat to the competitive world of education and profession. It has gotten to the point where our happiness has become too dependent on our academic and professional achievements.
Next time you receive a report card, don’t worry about the grades on there. Worry about how you feel about yourself and decide how happy you are based on that. You decide what kind of person you are, not the letters of the alphabet.