Grades aren’t everything


Recently I went on two college visits. In Illinois I met with a professor who taught political science. Prior to hearing him speak I had never even thought twice about political science before. Nothing about that major had ever appealed to me. But after talking to him I suddenly found myself mentally calculating the number of classes I would need to take and how many credit hours I could fit in a semester to be able to major in political science and I began to wonder if I could do a triple major since I already want to have a double major. Yes. I am now wondering if it is feasible to do a triple major in college (by the way, I know it is. Twenty-seven students tripled majored at UC Berkeley just last year).

The point is that there are are so many things that I want to learn about, subjects I want to pursue. I would say that I like to learn. I might even consider myself an inquisitive individual. But I hate high school. I hate waking up at six every morning and dragging myself here to listen to a presentation about Congress at 8:45 a.m. I consider myself lucky enough to have teachers who are passionate about what they teach and really eliminate some of the monotony. However, I just don’t care about a lot of the stuff I have been forced to take throughout my entire school career. And when students don’t care about the actual subject they are being taught, it becomes about the grade and only the grade.

Learning has become secondary in today’s secondary education world. And I wouldn’t blame students for that at all. Teachers say not to focus on the grade.

“It’s about what you learned,” they say.

And it should be, but it’s not. Because it’s really not about what we learn. Grades have taken over as what’s important. Mostly kids are worried about grades for a one reason: having a good GPA. Having a good GPA to get into college. Having a high GPA to get scholarships. I’ve spent hours (probably even years) stressing over my grades. Worried about how they would affect my college admission chances. Worried about my GPA. And why?

I decided I wasn’t even going to apply to any seriously selective schools, because it wasn’t what I wanted. So why did my grades and my stress matter? It didn’t.

Grades are so important in high school that actual learning has fallen by the wayside. There are certain subjects in school that I had no choice to take. Did I actually care about the subject? Was I interested in the subject? That didn’t matter. I had to take it. And when grades are the focus, what does anyone really get out of it? Grades in high school are important only in high school. That’s it. I’ve seen people cry over getting a C in an AP class. First off, it’s an AP class. Cut yourself some slack. Secondly, no one will care you got a C once you’re in college and out of high school.

And I don’t remember anything about certain subjects so it’s not like I earned anything out of it except the grade. That’s why grades are the end all be all. Because that’s what you’re really getting out of high school unless you’re really interested in the subject at hand being taught. I don’t mean to make out high school as all bad. I’ve had plenty of classes where I was interested about what was being taught and I have been fortunate to have teachers who are good at their jobs and show an enthusiasm for their subject.

Once you get to college no one cares what your grades were. If you go for a job interview out of college no one will care if you got a C in physical science sophomore year. No one will care if you got an A either. Because it doesn’t matter.

And that’s a lesson I wished I had learned a long time ago.

Jason Wisenbaker
Copy Editor