Why Bad Grades Happen To Good Kids

Posted by at 12:25AM

I’m bitter about my GPA. I can think of a few reasons, but mostly its because I refuse to accept that it is any measure of my intelligence.

Why Bad Grades (22-1-10)

A convenient belief no doubt, given that it continues to defy my best efforts. But I know plenty of “brilliant” students — 4.0 techies and what not — and they’re generally pretty boring. Sure they can crunch a few numbers, and yes this is Stanford so they will probably have an opinion on the healthcare debate and a social life, but I’m not impressed. Take your pick of them: by week four I guarantee that their interests will fit neatly in the space of 18 units. This means that although we may both reach the same point of conceptual understanding on the weekly pset, where I call it a day and go play guitar Gabby Go-Getter obsesses over every point, spends countless hours fishing for hints in office hours, checks her answers against three friends and inevitably does better than me.

But if Gabby gets my goat, then why am I still sour? Because I desperately want people to know that I’m really smarter than any statistic could suggest.

And not just for economic reasons (although getting an internship is proving surprisingly difficult). More fundamentally, I’ve been well indoctrinated: I think that life is an intelligence test, so I care deeply about how objectively brilliant I am, regardless of whether that is reported by my GPA or by some (more accurate?) impression that people get from hanging around me.

I’m actually not sure I want to give up that belief. I have highly inflated expectations (e.g. I expect to make bank this summer, go to a prestigious grad school, etc.), so while I know life isn’t an IQ test in the world at large, in the strange sphere of society in which we operate I’m not so convinced.

That said, Miss Go-Getter’s a bitch, and something must be done.

My protest is to not become like her, even if we both want for all the world to look like geniuses. I pledge this quarter to do more than study and drink. So while I’ll be striving as always to bring up that dastardly weighed average, I’ll still be reading a novel, wandering the City, exploring art. I commit to being an interesting person past next week.

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