The Numbers Game

So on Monday we got our progress reports out to show us how we’re doing, from the beginning of the year until now. It was the same as any other time this occurred in the past couple years: we would leave our last block early, walk to our homerooms with a feeling of hope and dread in our hearts, and then the anticipation of skimming over the numbers, the letters, the comments… it all amounted to this moment.

But Monday was different. Yes, the travelling was the same. The beat of my heart quickened as the paper connected with my hand. Greedily I placed it at a safe distance away from my peers as I skimmed over the letters, the comments…

…And the numbers?

There were no numbers.

The boxes that usually housed our percentages for the time being was uncharacteristically empty, and it left a strange taste in my mouth.

Some teachers explained that these numbers are skewed, and I totally understand that. Since the beginning of the year we have only had a handful of tests and assignments that have been taken in for marks; therefore, it is an unrealistic snapshot of how we are doing academically. Others thought that we should stop being number driven, and every day should be a day to improve.

I agree with all of these, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder about what my “A” or “B” could really be. For all I know, I could have gotten a really high B on the verge of an A, or a really low A that is still counted as just that. The thing is, I will only wonder and I will never actually know.

Does this make us too number driven?

With some university and scholarship applications, we are asked to self report grades, which include putting in final averages. Simon Fraser University has already put out admission averages that they predict students will need in order to “secure” themselves a spot in a  certain faculty for the coming school year. People constantly beat themselves up for not getting the coveted 100% on the top of their paper.

Why are we like that? Why am I like that?

Perfection might be a good reason. We all want to succeed, even if on the surface we have a “I don’t really care” attitude. Because in reality, we all do, to some extent. A lot of us really don’t know what’s going to happen after high school. For that matter, something could happen tomorrow that could drastically change everything that you had originally planned.

In the end, numbers don’t really mean a whole lot. They only go so far, but “a good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers” (Plato). Sure, strive for those good grades. Reach for the stars, put off procrastination, and make this year YOUR year. But don’t let it be the center of the universe and let it get you down if you don’t do as well as you thought. Let it be a reminder that you slipped up once, but next time, well, there won’t be a next time.

From now on, let’s remember why we are really in school: to become better people for the future, and not to let percentages ruin our lives. I’m going to give it a shot and count on you to do the same!

/okay, I had to do that pun. I’m terribly sorry.. 😛

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A Vancouver-based writer who won't let her height get in the way of her dreams! Lover of God, good food, coffee & beer, corgis, and exploring with family & friends. Producer & host of Y57 Media on Vancouver Co-op Radio, CFRO 100.5 FM and a weekly contributor for Curiocity Vancouver.

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