Questions about the importance of valuing “future Joey” from an academic perspective

I have spent most of my contemplative time this year pondering a question that I have always assumed while growing up: why should I get straight As?

I have weighed the pros and cons, and have clearly realized that the cons (in almost every conceivable situation) vastly outweigh the pros.  The largest negative impact is constant worrying that I have towards almost all of my classes.  At New Trier, it was pretty easy to get straight As (with the exception of Euro), and at college, its really not that hard.  I am probably putting in less than an hour of homework a day, excluding essays.

Anyways.  On my enormous white board, one night while I was bored, I started compiling a list of everything that makes me happy.  I have decided to post it here.  I would love it if you did the same.



Concerts.  Good grades that I worked for. New vinyls.  Short-shorts.  Sun + Frisbee.  When people laugh at my jokes/pay attention to me. Rock climbing.  Cleavage.  Emotional conversations.  Philosophy.  Bon Iver.  Fiber.  Piano. Dancing, ridiculously.  True Blood.  Snuggling.  Landsharking.  Taking a moral high ground.  Scooter rides.  Blumpkins (maybe?).  Sunrises in Dr. Seuss books come to life.  Keeping my door unlocked.  Being on the roof.  Being almost naked.  Making lists.  Hating people with friends.  Pumpkin seeds.  Soy=nuts.  Blackboards.  [Whiteboards.]  Cleaning maids.  Watching beer league.  Love? Sex? Money? Drugs? Tv? Music? Friendship.  Babies? Julie Tannenbaum?  Cleaning my room.  Coop fountain.  Radiohead.  No words.  Magicians.  Swimming. Lip Chap.  Night-runs [especially in my American Apparel underwear]  Comfortable pillows.  Thom Yorke.  Going back to sleep when you are awake and it is unnecessary.  Sucking at spelling.  Baby animals.  Whole Foods/Trader Joes.  Technically, being happy anywhere (see title).  Rap music.  Reading certain blogs + articles.  Feeling superior. Looking forward to things.  Hating on people who hate on people.  Being a liberal.  Having excitement.  Getting 3’somes going.  Not taking math or science.  Enjoying French.  Free alcohol.  Using people.  Finding people like me. Scaring prospies.  Making fun of failed sexual experiences.  Watching packing material float in the wind.  Salt + Vinegar chips.  Veggie Burgers.  Coffee.  Closing my eyes while outside.  Listening to nature sounds.  Imagining that I am at the beach.  Whale songs.  V-necks. Skinny Love.  Zion.


Out of this rather exhaustive list, only four were reliant upon good grades.  Of those four, none require straight As.  The only possible harm I could see to not getting good grades would be attending a less prestigious grad school, or not getting my ideal summer job/internship.  But, I don’t think a marginally lower GPA will really change that.

For some of you, this realization might have (fortunately) come earlier in your life, and this post might seem trivial to you.  But for me, it is really important.  In fact, I would argue that a large portion of my mental states revolve around academic success as opposed to learning.  One example that particularly explains the difference between me and others was from last year in Great Books.  For Ross’ “is it true/what of it?” section of multiple Adler reads had very long entries, (4+ pages I remember).  I thought this was 1) silly, 2) unnecessary, and 3) distracting from the first few sections, which are more heavily weighted.  I now see how silly that judgment was, and am working to write about more meaningful things in both personal essays, blog posts, and in class assignments.

In other words, I am trying to change, but its hard.
Do you guys have any advice, strategies, or words of wisdom?

4 Responses to Questions about the importance of valuing “future Joey” from an academic perspective

  1. mcdonaldb says:

    Things that make me happy:
    Reading economics. Reading philosophy. Having interesting and/or original ideas. Dancing crazily to good music. Laying on top of my friends when they are watching a movie. Having friends with similar interests as me. Feeling more intelligent than most other people. Attractive women. Not participating in status games. Bike rides. Being really, really silly. Playing with little kids. Cute babies. Entertaining my RH’s 18-month-old son. Musicals. Especially musical comedies. Singing and playing the air guitar to Bon Jovi, Journey, and The Darkness with my friends. Comfortable socks. Being outdoors. Good salads that have romaine lettuce, apples, and walnuts in them. Having emotional conversations with my friends.

  2. dmoerner says:

    Things that make me happy:

    Reading philosophy. Reading books I pick up on a whim. Getting things recommended to me. Following those recommendations. Singing classical music. Lifting weights. Kids. Old photography. Business cards. Pendaflex folders. Debian. Linux. Black computer parts. Headphones. George Harrison. Talking about philosophy. Trying to explain philosophy. Mel Brooks. Forrest Gump. Intelligent women. Listening to albums, not playlists. Playing with computers. White blankets. Balsamic Vinegar. Connecting to people I trust. Driving in the hills. Long showers. Philosophers. Silence. Being alone. Marveling at nature. The court outside Lyman Hall. My best friends. Eric Palmer. Bach Cantatas. Buxtehude Cantata 41: Herzlich Lieb Hab Ich Dich, O Herr. Pomona. Kant. Functional Programming. Lolita. Doing things like this.

  3. Ross says:

    Undermining authority without claiming authority. Coffee shops. Understanding behavior. Chocolate. Being alone in the forest. Finding the perfect debate card. Social coups. Love. DOTA. ArB. Girls. Reading. Rap. Rock. Classical. Metal. Starfuckers on max volume. Learning useful metaphors. People who are smarter than me. Self-reflection. That feeling you get after a really good workout. Nature. Constructing arguments. The Shake Weight. Criticism without alternative. Good grammar. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Honesty. Straightforwardness. Meditation. Writing essays. Writing raps. Facial hair. Social approval. Dreams.

  4. Andrew Chesley says:

    Reading about economics. Reading about cognitive science. Reading about philosophy. Reading about history. Reading good literature. Just owning a Kindle. Watching James Bond/Jason Bourne (both JB!) movies. Beating friends in FIFA 10. Losing to friends in FIFA 10. The amazing feeling I get when I complete a math problem (and it checks!) that has caused me to want to kill myself for the last half hour. Philosophical conversations. Emotional conversations. Conversations about economics. Being conscious of the things I do for Hansonian signaling reasons and doing them nonetheless. Firefly. Arrested Development. Most other TV shows. Watching Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick films around Halloween. Office supplies (esp. .38mm G2s, art erasers and Pendaflex folders). Laughing at stupid/drunk people. Hating on people. DMB. Blumpkin Pie (look it up). Team Fortress 2. Battlestar Galactica. Tuna salad sandwiches.

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