A Grade By Any Other Letter

A grade by any other letter would be just as sweet…not really because colleges want to see A’s. But that’s how it should be. What is a grade, but the average of discrete instances where one may or may not have been at the top of their game? Surely one cannot always be at the top of their game. The point of taking a class like MCB or Modern Physics is not to get a high grade, but to learn.

It would seem that the students of IMSA forget this. We forget that we go to a school where we are learning what no other high school students are learning anywhere else, and just because we’re not top of the class we count ourselves out, and give up. Wake up people! Look around you, look where you are! How many people would be willing to be in the position of an IMSA student? We forget sometimes what we came here to do, and maybe even what this place was meant to be. It wasn’t meant to be a genius factory, or genius warehouse for that matter, where everyone is the best student and gets good grades. It was meant to be a center of true learning, and a place to discover – not just for the students, but for everyone involved.

Carl Sagan once said, “…[IMSA] is a gift from the people of Illinois to the human future.”

I believe this to be absolutely correct. We are not here to boast of our intelligence by waving around our good grades. We are here to better ourselves as learners, and as human beings. We are meant to leave this place with the intention of making the world a better place in some way, shape, or form. That’s not to say we’re all meant to find our grand humanitarian calling at IMSA, but we’re at least meant to be pointed in the right direction.

Not many of us, if any of us, will go on to be great and famous scientists or engineers.  To make the world better, we don’t need to be. We were chosen to come here because we have gifts, and this is the place where we learn what to do with them. One need not cure cancer to better the world, but do what they love, and try to help others by doing so. So do what you love, and continue to learn. When that gets hard, learn a better way to learn. Isn’t that what we came here to do all along? Stop worrying so much about the grade, and focus on advancing yourself. If you accomplish that much, advancing the human condition, and maybe even that English grade, will follow.

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