The Indefinite Definition of Grades
As our society continues to grow more and more competitive with each passing year, the pressure to be perfect weighs down upon so many students to the point where it is unhealthy and unrealistic to hold them to such standards. There is an ever-increasing issue yet stigma behind mental health, trapping many teenagers in their own heads, toppled under the expectations society and their own family has set up for them.
Specifically in Asian cultures, which has morphed into a widely used stereotype, there tend to be more strict standards on what is acceptable for academic achievement. Of course, there is also the belief that Asian families expect their kids to become successful doctors, surgeons, basically anything that is more than financially stable and technical. There is little to no room for error, yet even perfection doesn’t seem to be enough and there is the constant pressure to do more and more- get more involved with extracurriculars, study extra hard, participate in countless competitions, and so on. What we are risking is our mental health and happiness.
Luckily, my parents are not harsh about my grades. They tell me to just do my best and work hard to get further in life. There is no point in sacrificing the enjoyment that should come with life to try and maintain an impossible image of perfection. However, the competitive nature of my school and constantly being compared to my peers take its damaging toll. Anything below a perfect report card and it’s as if it’s the end of the world. Despite the county defining a B is above average, a C is average, and so on, the cutthroat nature and rigor of my school creates this belief that anything below an A is unacceptable.
With virtual learning and the course material being compressed to fit a modified schedule, classes that were notorious for their difficulty are living up to their expectations. It’s arguable that with the Internet and your own resources, tests and assignments could be much easier to complete, yet we cannot ignore the undeniable impediments that online school brings to our education: the inability to fully concentrate, being stuck at your computer all day, the lack of connection between students and teachers, and simply the hardship of learning content.
It’s frustrating, I know, and it feels as if there is so much we are missing out on in some of the most important years of our educational life. It may be angering or stressful that you’re not doing as well as you’d like (definitely can relate), but in the grand scheme of the world, a grade is just a letter (or number) on a piece of paper. They may seem absolutely crucial right now, but who is going to remember your one grade during your one year in high school? Who’s going to remember a couple of failed tests you got the first quarter of the junior year? There are so many more important things in life: who you are as a person, your passion, your dedication, your ability to improve, and your grit. Those things cannot be measured by some number, but they’re seen through our actions.
It’s good to be involved and strive for the best, but don’t let mistakes chain you down. I’m trying to get better at this myself. Your happiness is more important than anything else, don’t let the pressures of school strip that away from you. Our society and the educational system has a lot of improvements to make to create a healthier environment for developing students. We are more than grades and numbers, and if anything good has come out of this period of time, it’s that there has been an outburst of creative expression and unique identity catching our attention. You can’t be compared to anyone if there’s no one to compare you to!
Writer - Jasmine Kwok
Editor - Priyam Kusundal Graphics - Jhem Picache