It's Time To Stop Counting The Numbers

By Kelsey Bush

It’s that time of year again when we are getting our first marks back and preparing for midterms. Many of us are facing deadlines and studying for exams, all the while trying to balance all other aspects of life and have some fun. However, I feel like we are in the process of getting hung up on our grades and it is no surprise as our entire lives are becoming more and more defined by numbers, in more ways than just grades. Defining our lives through numbers is becoming more and more problematic—can we learn to separate ourselves from the numbers and be happy with our lives?

Numbers are everywhere. Society dictates that our beauty it is defined by the number on our scale, our height, and our age. The number of sexual partners we’ve had determines if we are overly sexual, or undesirable. The number of Facebook friends and Instagram likes determines our popularity—the list goes on. It is no wonder that we define our intelligence and self-worth by our grades when all aspects of our lives are being placed on a numerical scale.

In particular, education’s obsession with numbers is worrisome, and counter to its initial objective. It is crucial that as students we do not define our intelligence based on the marks we receive, despite the education system saying otherwise. What should be truly valued is what we are learning, how it can be used to better the world, and if we are enjoying learning it.

This semester I encourage you to break free from the confines of your grades and start focusing on what you are gaining, how you are learning, and if you truly do love your subject or find it interesting. Instead of tests marked by a scantron, why don’t we talk it through? Wouldn’t it be better if instead of being marked on an essay, we discussed complex ideas and came to a mutual understanding of the facts? Once we shift our values from defining our lives through numbers, we will be able to cultivate students who can engage in complex political and social discourses that can create change.

I know this shift will be very difficult, especially at a university which gives us a student number to identify ourselves with on the first day and places a great importance on our grade point average. But as exam season, remember that you are more than your grades and you should be enjoying your educational experience. So try to relax and enjoy your readings,  think about what you’re learning, and take time to enjoy yourself.

 

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