Why I only care about the grade

ELIF GABB Opinion Editor

During my time at college, various professors have accused students of “not wanting to learn anymore.” Apparently this comes down to all of us “caring about the grade too much.”

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case, the latter statement is absolutely true.

Don’t get me wrong—I love learning. Absorbing new knowledge, I believe, is one of the most pleasurable things about being a human. 

But learning isn’t what I think about when it comes to college classes. Not because I don’t want to—I do. I wish learning was what I thought about when I assess which classes to take, which to drop, the purpose of an exam. 

But it isn’t. I can’t afford that luxury.

Last week, for the first time in college, I dropped a class and picked up a new one instead. I haad planned on taking the class I dropped for a year and a half. I knew that as soon as I hit senior status, I was going to definitely take this class. It aligned with my interests and my major. Everything about it seemed good. 

That was until the first class rolled around.

At the start of class, our professor told us the class would be based around “experiential learning.” Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what “experiential learning” even was, but I thought I might as well give it a shot. Then, she told us, that we wouldn’t be getting concrete grades until the very end of the class. 

And that was when I knew I had to drop the class. Only ten minutes in, before we actually started going over class material, I already knew I had to leave. 

I know that there’s a large chance I could have done well in the class. I know that I probably would’ve enjoyed it as well. 

But I just couldn’t risk it. I can’t get to the end of a semester, thinking I’m at an A grade and then get a B; or at a B grade and then get a C.

As somebody planning on applying for law school, I am all too wary of what one “off” grade can do, because unfortunately, law schools don’t ask me what I learned in a class. They look at my grade.

As do prospective employers. I hate it, but a 3.6 GPA looks better than a 3.4 GPA. 

And that’s why I have to care so much about the grade.

Everyone else does.

Perhaps what we should all try and do, professors and students alike, is to create a more meaningful system. A system that places emphasis on what you learned, rather than the grade of an essay, or a quiz, or an exam.

A system that doesn’t focus on the meaningless ability to use your short-term memory in order to regurgitate facts you will never use again. 

But until then, don’t blame me for my obsessive behavior over my grades.

Don’t blame me for forgetting about “learning” when all that’s left of this class at the end of this semester is a letter grade on a transcript.

Don’t blame me for “caring too much.”

Blame society for doing the exact same thing.

Elif Gabb is the Opinion Editor for The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected].