Comparing Grades is Ruining Your Education

After a week of agony from stressing over how well you did on your exam, the grades are finally released. “I got my mark back,” reads a text from one of your classmates. You hold your breath as you sign into your school account, and make your way to the grade report. 80%. You let out a sigh of relief and respond to your friend, “Me too, I got an 80. What did you get?” Your friend replies that they got an 85, and your sense of pride now turns to envy as you realize that they did better than you.

Every university student knows this story well. After weeks of studying for an exam, your friend who barely studied gets a better grade than you. After putting in the extra hours, going to your professor’s office hours, and editing the hell out of your paper, you receive a lesser grade than someone who did it the night before. The crushing realization that someone did better than you despite receiving a grade you were initially happy with is one of the worst feelings in the entire world. You worked so hard; you did your best, but someone still did better.

Sharing grades and comparing ourselves to classmates is one of the worst things students do. We do it because we want to know how we measure up to others, and to feel a sense of pride when we’re the one receiving the higher grade. But in reality, this is only hurting us.

Rather than sharing our grades and comparing ourselves to one another, we need to learn how to keep our marks private. Although it can be reassuring to know that your friend also didn't do well, university should not be a competition. Instead of focusing on what other people received, we should focus on ourselves and see what we could have done better. Or, rather than being upset that someone did slightly better, be happy and confident in the grade you earned.

Students stress too much over grades, and although it’s easy to say that grades don’t define you, it’s hard not to think this way. Comparing marks only makes matters worse and adds stress. School is hard enough as it is, and we don’t need to add grade sharing to the mix.

Learn to be happy with the mark you received. Just because your friend did better does not mean it is a reflection on who you are as a student. There are so many factors that influence grading, and knowing what someone else got will not change your mark. Rather than making our education a competition, let’s learn how to love ourselves and be proud of who we are.

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