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?