The unruly entity that haunted us for most of our schooling years.
I’m pretty sure this issue had always been at the back of your heads
If it wasn’t
Your parents certainly took the effort to remind you.
Being a Sophomore and having gone through a solid 13 years of schooling together with multiple real-life job experiences,
Moreover coming from a strict Asian background and schooling system,
I hereby deem myself worthy in sharing my thoughts towards this topic.
But there’s a catch..
It’s from a failure’s perspective.
“Why do I deem myself a failure?”
Because I never lived up to people’s expectations.
I was supposed to continuously maintain an average of 90 or above,
get scholarships, win an award in some mathematics competition,
get more scholarships, finish university where I will supposedly, once again receive yet another scholarship to go for my Masters.
In reality, I’m neither a bright-A student nor am I some genius expected to graduate with First Class Honours when he completes his degrees.
Therefore I’m a failure.
Still interested in my opinion?
I’m glad. Let’s get started.
Grades do matter, provided that it gets you to where you need to go.
It’s as simple as that.
In our modern education system, it is an undeniable fact that most universities have certain requirements for specific subjects if you were to undertake any of their courses.
If the course that you have wanted to get in since the age of 6 requires you to have at least a B grade in both Biology and Chemistry
Just make sure you score a B in Biology and Chemistry.
Am I asking you to put in minimum effort?
I’m telling you in what sense do grades matter.
If you believe you have the capability of scoring an A
By all means go ahead and claim your birth right.
But there really is no point in fretting over not getting an A+
If you’re confused or even angry at this point as to why I’m saying it’s OK to get a B
Check back on the goal.
The requirement was only to get a grade B
The B was already enough to get you into the course,
The A+ itself was merely something extra you wanted for yourself.
If your goal was to get a scholarship, that would be a different story.
Grades don’t matter if you are a shitty person.
If I ever have kids, their first classes would be compassion, empathy and mindfulness.
- Students standing in the middle of a pathway, obstructing human traffic.
- Formally dressed adults refusing to let people exit from the train firsthand and just barging in.
- Individuals who simply refuse to give up their seats to those in need.
I am in no sense stating that a modern day intellectual is more inclined towards having a shitty personality.
I am expecting the opposite.
It is vital for people who often engage in critical thinking (of any field),
to display a decent amount of adequacy and mindfulness, besides having reputable academic achievements under their belt.
If they don’t?
It has to be made clear that the importance of grades will always be inferior compared to the importance of a person’s character development.
Not being harsh on words,
But I was never a big fan of giving up your sense of humanity for the sake of academic/work profession.
But won’t top grades get me the best jobs ?
This reminds me of primary school where our class teacher always told us how our future would be bright and secured.
So long as we aced “the test”.
Which happened to be a different test each year.
I got 98/100 for Maths.
How am I not employed under Elon Musk working on his next possible space launch?
I’ve sat through many tests throughout my lifetime.
And yes, they did matter.
But not to the extent that you imagined.
Employers also look for work experience, successful portfolios and non-academic achievements.
In my opinion, the process of getting employed remains rather complexed.
Some employers view academic grades as the pinnacle of success
Others view it as merely a bonus
Some might even choose to not look at them while scanning through your resumé, if your experience holds more value.
Does this mean I can NOT prioritise my grades?
I am definitely not trying to encourage anything, but if you have passion for something which has absolutely no correlation with what you are currently involved in,
Understand that true learning is holistic.
If you’re interested in starting your own clothing line or start up,
Doing your degree in Environmental Science might actually give you an edge,
Knowledge to customise products deemed enviro-friendly (for instance).
Giving adequate amount of attention to your grades might not be a bad idea after all.
“But caring about grades is so consuming”
Yes, achieving good grades is a hassle
Even more when it deviates from your desired career path
The feeling of forcefully shoving knowledge into your head only to be regurgitated later on onto a piece of paper
But if the attitude towards learning was changed
There really would be no need to “prioritise” grades, would there?
What I mean is learning not for the sake of grades
But for the sake of yourself.
Learn because knowledge is power.
Learn because no one can take that knowledge away from you.
Think of the bigger picture.
And I’m pretty sure your grades would follow suite.
What Truly Matters
Grades definitely matter.
But not till the point to which it engulfs your entire sanity.
Grades act as a rough estimate of your current progress within a very specific area of learning,
“…being in the middle is fine, so long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person [a middle-of-the-road student] has enough free time to learn other skills — Jack Ma”
And I myself could not agree more.
I’m not taking the stance saying grades aren’t that important.
In fact it’s quite the contrary
We all should aim for our A’s or Distinctions.
Grades do act as a representation of our attitude towards the subject.
It does, in its own way, reflect hard-work and diligence
Obtaining a 4.0 GPA would certainly have all your friends begging on tips of your achievements
Studying in Cambridge or Harvard would certainly open up endless networking opportunities
But grades are never the golden ticket to success.
“Knowledge is the end product, grades are just the by-products.”
There will certainly be academic requisites asking for grades which perform above the average
And you have every right to work hard to meet those requirements
But stop making that personalised goal into a standard.
Piece by: @charl3s1ee @ethanwongha @yeaphy
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