The Race for Straight As

In high school, I didn’t let myself settle for anything less than an A, even a B+ meant disappointment. Maybe I felt this drive for perfection because I went to an extremely competitive high school, or maybe it’s just a part of who I am. Either way, it’s unfair that I set such high standards for myself, and I didn’t realize the unnecessary weight I was putting on my shoulders until I got to college.  


What’s the point in doing everything perfectly? Whatever happened to learning for the sake of learning? What’s more important perfect grades or leisure time, happiness, and solid friendships? I would always choose the latter. Only once I started college did I realize that I prefer life experiences over perfection. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the satisfaction of getting that crisp A, but I’ve taken a deep breath and lowered my expectations.


One of the first things I learned once I became engrossed with academics at Brandeis is that a lot of college work is about picking and choosing what you should be spending your time on. I was initially stuck in my high school mindset of feeling compelled to analyze every reading thoroughly. I soon discovered that this is not only an unrealistic standard, but it’s also not worth my time. Not every assignment is equal, and some work should be dedicated more time than others.


When it comes to grades, I am both my biggest critic and cheerleader. Therefore, I know now that as long I’m personally happy and proud of my work, then nothing else matters.  At the end of the day, I much favor my relationships and sanity over pouring an extra hour on something unworthy of my time. An assignment is fleeting and relationships aren’t.