I want the cliche kisses in photo booths. And the candid photos of me when I’m not looking. I want the week long road trips with the windows down and my feet up on the dash. I want hands clenched tight when we’re intimate. I want shared showers the morning after. I want breakfast in nothing but oversized t-shirts. I want tv show marathons with extra buttery popcorn and makeout breaks during commercials. I want “I love you"s and “you’re beautiful"s and my name blended in curse words while you moan. I want time and promise and happiness and intimacy.
I find beauty in old piano keys and fraying guitar strings; I find beauty in lonely forests and dark caves, in abandoned bookstores and dusty libraries; I find beauty in music that means something and in people who are passionate. I find beauty in things that make time stop for just a second.
I know that I kind of already talked about this in my overrated first year advice post but I seriously want to put this message out there again.
You do not need to get all As on every assignment for every class.
I don’t even know how that would be possible, without putting yourself under unbelievable amounts of stress.
I see these posts specifically targeted at high school students, which is even more problematic in my mind. High school should not be a time when you study for hours every day without doing much else. High school isn’t all about resume building, but also about having fun and making friends and good memories. There are a few reasons that I specifically think this idea is bad:
Universities don’t necessarily require you to have all As. A lot of universities don’t even look at your grades until certain years, or only look at certain classes. If you’re in grade 9, you should focus on building study skills while having fun, rather than living to make all As. Also, showing that you got a bad mark in grade 11 and then bumped it up to a much better one in grade 12 looks great on an application just as much as all As does.
If you are aiming for extremely prestigious schools, you need more than grades. If making straight As is your goal because you want to go to Harvard, you also need to have some extra-curriculars and other things on your resume. I don’t know how many stories I’ve read over the years of people who had a 4.0 and didn’t get in because all they did was school, while others will a 3.5 got in based on their amazing resume.
Telling students that they should not settle for anything less than an A tells them that studying needs to be their top priority always. When I was in high school (even grade 9), one of my main priorities was work. Other people want to focus on sports, that they probably won’t be able to play in university. Some people need to focus on hobbies that cultivate their mind and make them happy, rather than putting so much pressure to get all As. I think it is a very privileged viewpoint, in a way, to say that school needs to come before anything else. Only certain people can afford to think that way.
If you settle for nothing less than all As in high school, university might hit you like a ton of bricks. I don’t know very many people who got all As in their first semester of uni. I don’t know anyone who got all As on all of their assignments. I know some people who didn’t get a single A. At my school, when you hand in an essay, an A means it is perfect and has absolutely no flaws to speak of, so your chances of getting an A are no so high in first year. I had on TA who refused to give out As on any assignment. If your assignment was perfect, you got an 80, which is a B.
Very literally, a C is average. It is the middle of the range of marks you can get. A is not average.
I am in no way telling high school students or students in general that they shouldn’t strive for good marks. Or that they shouldn’t consider their education as a gift, and work hard for it. And I understand that for some kids, their parents tell them that they need to get all As and are under immense pressure at home to do so. But telling people that anything less than an A is unacceptable and that their top priority in life should be making straight As all the time, to no end? I do not support that.