Grades Aren’t Everything

I’m all too aware that this post may be both self-destructive and controversial. I graduate next year, where waking up by 9am is less deserving of a pat-on-the-back and more of a grim caffeinated reality. And whether you get a 2.1 or above effectively wipes out large swathes of the student population, (an educational hunger games it may appear) helping employers attract the ‘brightest graduates. Maybe it’s the process of passing exam after exams and churning out essay after essay, but the educational system has left me feeling like an overworked hamster; (psychologically at least) where being poor and making questionable cheap life student hacks are perfectly acceptable. 

Before I put across my reasons for why grades aren’t everything, left me first acknowledge my own privilege. Rather than have someone expose me in the comments anyway- there will be no scandalous ‘good-grades-hypocrisy’ gate here… I like big grades and I cannot lie. At university rather than working harder, I simply worked smarter. Read some scholarly credible sources (Dailymail journalists take note), stick a few examples in, disagree with said sources and you are well on your way to getting your 2.1. Heck, if you don’t remember scholars during ill-timed exams just mention a common Caucasian male name and you’re likely to be partly correct. 

Top uni skill: ability to bullshit. Both oral and written

University fosters independent study, engagement with literature and analytical research skills (or so we boast to those without degrees). I’ve learnt to sift through Parliamentary manuscripts, swot up on Chinese dynastic history and wrap my head around the wars within wars that occur in the Middle East. I love research and education, but for me at least, education is more a means of personal growth and acquiring knowledge. Hence why grades aren’t everything. I’m in more debt than I’ll ever be, and while I may be able to write an essay on how constitutional and institutional engineering abets and dismantles the functioning of democracy in African countries I still can’t pass the application process of a Primark sales assistant job. Primark weren’t impressed for some reason… 

Young people these days are programmed to believe that the better your grades the more likely you are to get a graduate job. I know such an absurd jump of logic requires a whiteboard to explain.

Through this cautious mentality often the process of ‘learning’ is lost to merely getting ‘that grade’ or ‘that number’. It is universal knowledge that there are several forms of intelligence, and one’s ability to write good essays does not necessarily make them ‘smarter’ than someone who is not booksmart but can navigate around the world. Truth be told, I was hopeless with finding my way around places and used to get lost in my local area, simply because it was dark. And some of the dumbest people I’ve met are uni students (be it the bourgeoisie international kids who think there is no poverty in London to those unaware that the predominant language of India is Hindi and not Farsi). Yet, our society makes up believe that there is a hierarchy of intelligence and through this rigid dualistic thinking, the ‘real’ world loses out on diversifying. 

Instead, let’s mark people by their quirk rather than their quality of written work. 

Thanks for reading!  


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