What Are We Preparing For?

Fear has a nasty ability to cloud our judgment. What happens to students who are afraid of failing? Certain students perform well because they are under copious amounts of stress, not because they have a burning desire to acquire knowledge and grow intellectually.

All of our lives, we pursue acceptable grades to the best of our ability because our parents want us to. Some students develop helpful study habits and carry them throughout their academic career. However, a majority of students struggle with the transition from childhood to adolescence. Many individuals grow with the belief that they are intelligent, and can conquer any academic task. However, what happens when they cannot?

In retrospect, middle school curriculums seldom challenged students — academic duties certainly never reached a high school difficulty. Yet, upon entering high school, the concentration on Advanced Placement classes is obvious even to freshmen. We prepare endlessly for college, but when did we prepare for high school?

Freshmen do not enter high school without hearing that “the next four years are going to fly by,” which was said by anyone who endured all four years of high school. Perhaps that is why high school students prepare for college so diligently. However, the sudden onslaught of material can be overwhelming.

Students may believe that because of their past success, they will strive in Advanced Placement classes not necessarily because the material is doable, but because the students cannot imagine a potential failure. It is not the fault of the students that they believe they will succeed in all academic endeavors, no matter the odds.

Confidence should not be a factor when considering which Advanced Placement classes to take, but rather academic interest. Because students are worried that their GPA may be too low for colleges, they feel pressured to take harder classes to not only raise their GPA, but impress colleges. The race to improve our “academic portfolios” is ongoing, with minimal rest points.

Many students find a balance between their academics and their extracurriculars because of their past routine. It may be harder for students who never played a sport or worked a day in their life to adapt to vigourous schedules. Some want to focus solely on their GPA and improve it without worrying about the “extras.”

Arguments about the validity of GPA scales within schools systems fall onto a widened spectrum. Believers in the scale think grades represent the academic lives of students appropriately. School is meant to educate students, and an efficient way to record the progress is through the scale.

However, opposers of the scale argue that grades are not a full representation of a student, and it should not be judged so harshly. Of course, those who do achieve academic success deserve recognition — landing a spot in the top ten within a class of 450 students is not only difficult, but impressive.

Without taking away from those who do exceptional work, we should not judge students if they find themselves in foreign academic situations, and by foreign, I mean receiving lower grades than those in middle school.

Grades, by no means, should be disregarded. Did society glue binoculars to its face to focus on our grades and academic merit? Perhaps, but note that our grades are not a reflection of our potential. Students should not feel discouraged if they see themselves falling into a dark hole.

School goes on. Grades are marked. You survive.


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