I think, at this point in my college career (i.e., semester 10 of 12), I’m just burned out to all hell. I understand what I need to do. It’s crystal clear. But I lack the stamina to get it done. In the context of a semester, that snowballs. Fast.

And so I’m starting to see how important my senior capstone project is going to be. It is a culmination of so many things. Past knowledge of physics. New knowledge of physics I need to learn on my own. Time management. Project management. Creation. Intellectual ability. Drive. Etc. I’m not saying that an A+ capstone project would make up for poor grades (of which, I don’t think I have; my GPA >> 3.0 even if it’s not where I’d like it to be). But in the context of being in my 6th year of undergrad come the fall semester, it might be a great way to show that I am capable of doing great work, despite the burnout.

And so I’m looking forward to my inevitable gap year. I need one in order to make sure I take all the necessary courses for the GRE before I sit the exam. But even if I have an internship in that year rather than school, I think it’ll be the kind of break I need.

I mean, really. It will be so damn nice to be in an environment where the stress of grades is not in my face. The focus shifted to doing good work rather than getting good grades. A subtle yet important distinction to make in a society where people are able to, in some circumstances, get good grades without doing good work. The opportunity to focus rather than dividing my attention between multiple classes plus extracurriculars and work each semester. I think that’s where I’ll thrive.

Of course, I’m not there yet. So the grass is probably greener. But it gives me something to look forward to.

Below you will find my Academia FAQ. If you still can’t find something feel free to ask! My Study Tips page should be helpful, as well.

Study Strategies

“How should I study for…?”

School Supplies

General College

College Majors and Pre-Career

GPAs and Grades

Studyblr

Proposal for an Alternate Grading System

As my profession is that of being a teacher, one of my concerns has always been the efficiency of assessing student’s knowledge. Some ideas (standardized tests) simply do not work. However, as a fellow mod has pointed out, the grading system itself is not an efficient measure to a student’s knowledge of application of any particular subject.

The main problem with the grading system (to be defined as the system that gives grades like A’s and B’s) is that it creates a caste system for students. You get the students that receive A’s, those who generally get B’s, and so forth. The A students are then touted around as being geniuses with hope for the future, while the F and D students are treated as failures by the faculty, which in turn leads their fellow students to treat them as such as well. Further, this grading system is nonsensical when you stop and think about it: there’s a distinction between an A(100%-90%) and a B(89%-80%), but why not a distinction between an A that scored 91% and one that scored 98%?

I propose abolishing this system and replacing it with one that is much simpler; one with a mere 3 grades. I call it the PNI System. There are only three grades total: P for Pass (received a score between 100-75%) and N for No Pass (lower than 75%). The third and final grade, I, stands for Incomplete (speaks for itself). Those who receive a P are allowed to move on to the next lesson/grade as normal, while those who get an N are either given tutorial sessions and a make-up exam (if the N was for an exam) or made to repeat the class (if the student does not pass a sufficient number of exams). Those who get an I are allowed a chance to defend their reasons for not being able to complete their exam/class, which will then be reviewed by the faculty. In cases of physical conditions that prevent the student from finishing the lesson or class, the faculty shall negotiate with the student a manageable and convenient schedule that will allow their to finish the class or retake the exams.

The former system is not only inefficient, it sends the student the wrong message regarding education. An ‘A’ typically stands for excellent work, while a B means above average. This can (and has) lead to various students who typically receive A’s to suddenly have panic attacks when they get their first B. Getting a B isn’t bad, we’re often told, but many parents refuse to accept that their straight A student got a B, and so they increase their work load. A C is an “average,” meaning that there is nothing inherently wrong with the grade. But a C student is seen as an underachiever, someone with no hope of being anything more than “just another face in the multitude.” Getting D’s and F’s are seen as signs of failure. It shouldn’t be like this!

The system I propose is much softer on students. Getting a P means you Pass, you’re ready to keep on going. Getting an N doesn’t mean you fail, it means you are not yet ready for the next lesson, try again. There’s something you did wrong or something you didn’t understand, find out what that is so you can Pass next time. The I merely indicates the student is not yet done with the lesson and needs an accommodation. The previous system teaches kids that they only get one shot at success in life; mine teaches that you can get back up if you ever fall down.

Which system sounds better to you?

Ugh

Guys

I’m so

Why is it that if you get a good grade and share it, it’s bragging? To the point where I feel legitimately ASHAMED if I get a good grade.

There’s this girl, the same girl who accuse me of bragging when I said “I thought I would be invited to PTK since I have a 4.0 and 12 credits and that meets the requirements” (I was, by the way, it was just late). I feel like she constantly tries to bring me down academically now.

For example, last week, a mandatory discussion board was posted for English bc we had a snow day Thursday, and the email said it was open til Monday. I posted something to snapchat about it and she was like “bro that was due on Thursday…” and I said “no it’s open til Monday” and she was like “yeah cause only me and two other people did it” and I was like “no it said in the email…” and then checked with my teacher and told her and she didn’t respond.

Today I posted about the 99 in soc on snapchat and she was like “didn’t you already take precalc in high school?” and I was like “no this is sociology” but like… I just feel like she’s trying to find some way to take me down a notch or something.

But the thing is, I can get good grades whether I’ve taken the class before or not? I hadn’t taken psych before and I ended up with an over 100% average. So saying “you took the class before” doesn’t mean the 99 is less valid.

Moreover, it’s not like I brag about my grades and don’t share my bad ones. I share all my grades, even the bad ones! It just happens that I work my ass off and I’m blessed to be naturally hardworking and organized and so I usually get good grades!

It’s gotten to the point where I feel GUILTY when I get a good grade because I feel like people are going to accuse me of bragging and try to bring me down. I feel like I should get a C because then when I share it people won’t accuse me of conceit.

That guy who dumped me during finals week said I was “academically intimidating” and that my confidence came off as me being conceited. He said he thought I thought he was below my standards academically (I legit never even thought about that). Do you know how AWFUL it made me feel to know I made someone FEEL that way?! Yes, it’s more his problem, but it happened.

I don’t know. I really don’t. I post about my grades on Snapchat and people call me out for “bragging” and think I’m conceited but like do you know how much fucking shit I have dealt with to get those grades?!?! Ugh. Anyway I’ll end this rant but I’m just so upset about this right now it’s unreal

if you’re stressed about your grades/future: “you are young and you will take your damn time.”

A few days ago I had an emotional breakdown about my future (surprise lol.) It’s not as though this doesn’t happen daily, but it’s dawned on me that I couldn’t even discern my true desires from what my lack of self confidence was trying to feed me.

I allowed self-deprecation to get the best of me, and it turned an erroneous decision into one that seemed the most “right for my situation.” I had a plan. But I was not confident nor happy with that plan, so I fell apart. 

Parked in front of my dad’s house, I voiced the concern that–although I thought was a result of flakiness–actually stemmed from an acute source of insecurity. 

My dad then turned around and told me something that I’m positive will stay with me forever. 

“Don’t you dare feel like you have limited options based on your past mistakes. You are not limited and you will never BE limited. Don’t rule any opportunity out right now. You’re not running out of options, you just haven’t found all of them yet. You have so much power left.

I asked him what power a teen/young adult could have, and he looked at me with so much conviction and said, “Youth. You have youth, and youth itself holds so much power. You’re only 17. I wish I were 17. I wish I had that much more left in me, but I don’t. You are 17, you are young, and you will take your damn time.” 

I initially interpreted this as a projection of his own regret. But now, I interpret it as empowerment. I think about it whenever I feel completely overwhelmed by all that I have left to do. Why should I consider quitting now? I’m only 17. Many of you are also of high school, college, or graduate school age, and we have such a long way to go. We’re only so young, and compared to our parents–people who have so many decades of experience under their belt–we don’t know the half of what life has to offer us. And that’s ok, because we have so much left to experience. 

In college, I want to explore different courses. I want to find something that’s right for me, but in order to do so, I need breadth of experience rooted in thoughtful discussion and exposure to a range of things. Although I love art, I want to obtain a liberal arts education as well. And finally having said this, I realized that whatever I thought was “right” was only only a thinly veiled attempt to evade my insecurities.

Records don’t matter. Grades are trifling in the grand scheme of things. My future job is only a portion of what will comprise the best days of my life. Bad teachers, vague assignments, tough environments–I can trudge through the difficulties and I will prosper, because that’s what I can do as someone with youth on my side. This isn’t to say that someone who is older doesn’t have the same privilege. My dad wants to continue to program, and all the more power to him!

But that only exemplifies how much time we have as people who are so young. We have a leg up, and I’m certain that we need to utilize the extra time, stamina, opportunity, and youth that we have to make decisions based on our own situations–not on what other people expect of us, and certainly not according to what our stress and anxiety wants us to believe. 

(The last bit is incredibly difficult, I know. But it’s a process!) 

This isn’t to say that I’m not going to worry and stress. I will! Hell, I’m stressed right now just writing this. But I’m improving. 

Ironically, this studyblr doesn’t thrive in standardized education. This studyblr struggles not with content, but with structure. This studyblr is really nervous about the coming year. But even then, I still have so many choices that it’d be insulting of me to become my only limitation. Obstacles are not impenetrable–not when I have so much power on my side. 

i just got my report card today

i got a 98.75 average. this is my highest ever.

at first, i was aiming for a 99 average, but then i decided to be realistic and shoot for a 98.6+ instead, and i made it. it was a nice surprise because i thought my average dropped, too.

my ex best friend got a 99, along with another super sweet girl who TOTALLY deserved it; im so proud of her.

but anyways, my ex best friend was so horrified that id do better than him because my average was so high. when he found out that i didn’t, he was so happy, and kept looking back at me to see my reaction. he even tried to peak over my shoulder to see what my grades in each class were because he was too cowardly to ask me himself (((:

but i wasn’t salty. it was amazing.

i wasn’t salty because i knew that i was still smarter than him. yes, he got a 99 average. but he was only smart in a sense that he could do well on standardized tests.

ok???

he needed the validation of doing better than me to make himself feel smart.

at that moment, i realized i was not salty. nor was i envious. but rather, i pitied him. i know im smart. i don’t need a 98 or 99 average to tell me that. i’m a genius and i love to learn. he relies on a number on a piece of paper to tell him how smart he is. i genuinely felt bad for him.

moral/takeaway: your grades do not define you.