detaching oneself

i have come to a realization of sorts. once again it is about grades. i find myself unable to come to a single resolution about this very sticky topic which has profound implications on the rest of my life. there is a strange dichotomy right here, as there is in many different things. perhaps you are experiencing the same.

1) i recognize that grades will impact my job prospects versus in 10 years, i won’t be looking at my grades

you see, the whole point of the paper chase is to make money, is it not? this is what society has taught us, and it is true. qualifications = employability, no matter what they say about alternative methods and avenues of employment. my very realistic self is very aware of this. why else did i consider signing on in the army? one of the main reasons was that an army scholarship is relatively easy to acquire, which would then ease the financial burden on my parents (once again it comes back to money), and i would have a stable job, a.k.a. the iron rice bowl. not really related but you get the point. the bigger grades you get the better it looks… but at the same time people ultimately aren’t defined by their grades.

2a) being lazy and getting by versus fulfilling your potential.

let me first say that i might make some potentially very offensive remarks here. but let me also say that i hope these remarks are tempered by brutal honesty and i hope you will appreciate that.

i acknowledge the fact that i have been blessed with a good mind and natural ability in my chosen field of study (sounds so academic eh), and that this gift allows me to get by on very little effort. in raw stats it translates into a B+ average with minimal study, and A- with some effort. A is achieved only with significant effort which i am loath to put in. because i am a lazy bugger.

at the same time i am confronted with the reality that by dint of having this gift, i should not waste it and i should put in my best. but this is very tiring and i find that doing my best for the sake of fulfilling societal expectations and the whole you-got-to-own-because-you-can mantra is truly a mundane thing. if i had to put a sensation to it, it would be a dull grey monotone buzzing in your head, tasting of tepid water and with absolutely no smell. it is beyond irritating: it makes you feel dead, and unalive.

so what is one to do? i have found that i am guilty when i do not study and still do well.

then again when i do choose to put in effort, i get the A. but putting in effort is often a function of wanting to do well not because you are supposed to do well, but because you want to demonstrate that you have learned something and you are capable of high quality work. i find that my best work often is handed up to teachers who demonstrate a distinct interest in the work of their students and the ability of the students and who are engaged in helping their students polish up whatever skills they (the students) possess.

i cannot resolve this. i constantly float in the limbo between doing okay work just to get by, and doing good work.

then also i have noticed that my attitude towards grades is evident in many people.

a lot of people don’t actually like studying. who does? some do, but not many. but my question to everyone is what are you studying for? honestly i can tell you that i am studying for

a) a degree which is necessary for my job

b) content and skills knowledge to help me be effective at my job

c) an interest to some degree or other in english literature

and not much else. okay once again i am blessed in being one of the people for whom someone else pays the uni fees. i’m not complaining here. don’t get me wrong. i do not profess to be better than you. it is probably the case that your dogged determination (i am generalizing here) in chasing a high CAP or GPA elevates you over the slacker that i am. on moral grounds at least.

but my point is that a lot of people have disproportionate emotional attachment to their grades, and this translates into a lot.

i agree that there is an emotional investment in putting in a lot of effort into a module. after all, you put in the work, you will want to do well! but i think one should not place too much upon the result of a single module. foam is foam… i assure you that each and every failure that i experienced in every math class that i went to really hurt, even though i make a big joke of it. i put more effort into math than any other thing in my entire life of studying thus far (not that its a lot) and i didn’t get anything out of it.

i would make the argument that one must recognize the place that grades has in your life, and accord it a proportionate amount of emotional energy. i feel the pain when i don’t get an A on an essay which i put a lot of effort into. but on a paper which i did because i needed to hand it up, a B+ is like ‘meh’ and even if i get an A- it is more a relief than a victory. don’t judge me now for my grades. everyone has their own expectations and i make no apologies for mine (wow this sounds really arrogant. go ahead and judge me now)

but as with anything to do with grades, i reached the same conclusion.

go out and play! in the long long long run, its not the most important thing. just go out and take a chill pill and not be so concerned about it all. life is simple and we all should keep it that way.

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