Hellooo, so I am going to give you a bit of background information before I begin with the post. So currently I am in year 13, and recently we have received our predicted grades, which has led to many people, predicted higher than myself, being rather stressed and upset over theirs. And while they can have a fair influence on where people end up going to university for example, I also feel that many think they heavily contribute to their self worth, which I feel really is a load of rubbish. And hopefully this post will explain why…
Does it not feel ridiculous?
So picture yourself at school for one moment in a GCSE class. Now what are you going to hear about. Apart from random chattering, much off it is going to be about exams and grades (the amount partly depending on how good the school and teaching is). Now imagine you are doing your A levels. You may even be stuck here now. But are you happily sat there, thinking that whatever happens you will have done your best and that there is so much more which will determine your success. Or rather are you overly worried that if you don’t get a certain grade, or if you don’t get into a prestigious university, you will be a little screwed and you will hate yourself forever? Even if there is not one piece of evidence to suggest that this could impact on your career prospect. Let alone chance of happiness!
There are Different Types of Intelligence (Seriously, look it up!)
To start with, I suppose many worry about their grades because A) it is a rather simple way to see how well someone is doing in a test, and also if you are planning to go to university, then high grades are the gateway of getting in to a certain university. This way then, understandably people are often going to feel more worthy if they get that certain grade, or get offered a place to a particular university. Because “only smart people get As, and only smart people get offered placements to the top universities”. But think again… That’s not to say that someone who does achieve an excellent grade is not intelligent, but instead that someone with a lower grade may be just as smart, but simply applies their knowledge in a different way to churning out information when responding to an A level exam question. Also there are many different types of intelligence which don’t always cover the ability to perform outstandingly well in an exam.
“If you Judge a Fish by its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Spend its Whole Life Believing that is is Stupid”
They don’t determine your success either…
Furthermore how on earth can a good grade really be the key to success? If you have gone down this road, then chances are you will have finished A levels at 18 ish and you will have finished an undergraduate course by your early 20s. At such a young age, we probably wouldn’t have perused a career by then, we probably haven’t had children yet plus we are still working so many things out. Therefore the only things we do have in our favor, at least work wise, are a few letters written on a piece of paper and a certificate. Now I appreciate that a grade can seem like a token of value or a ticket to a future destination, but how much value can they really measure, and there are so many other factors which can influence our future.
Practicality of Them
While though a grade can define how good we are at doing a certain exam, it doesn’t always equate to how much we can apply this knowledge in other ways, for instance a job. And while many employers are more interested in capability, or even enthusiasm for a job it shows that grades can only take us a certain way.
Finally some may be sorry to hear this, but doesn’t a passion for a subject matter more than the ability to regurgitate information about it. Because if we are good at something, yet have no care about how to use it to influence the real world, then what is the point of being “good” at it.
The Old Status Quo
If you are looking to get top notch grades then chances are, you are looking to get into a top notch university. This way, not always, but often this is in peruse of a top notch career. Take the most wealthy lawyers, the best solicitors and even the wealthists journalists: where amongst the top three in the world; one writes for the Daily Telegraph, one is a member of one of America’s wealthiest families (of course…) while the other was once arrested for computer hacking- oh and they are all men! But anyway, back onto the topic, people often seek a prestigious career, but can this really guarantee success in the terms of happiness, or even success career wise? Because while a degree may seem the only thing that is more important than what someone achieves before they are 19, for heavens sake- work and life experience is more important!
Grades are Far too Overvalued
Yes! And not only from the perspective that they cannot perfectly determine our ability in performing a certain job as well as the fact that grades don’t take passion into account (which is far more important in my opinion), but other jobs requiring low/different/no grades are just of equal value. Seriously! There are so many jobs which are of a practical basis, which require experience as well as often talent or passion as opposed to grades. Which may not all be proportionately of the same monetary value, but they are often of the same, if not then a greater value to society. Take being a firefighter, carpenter or working with animals. Yes, we might require training at a college, and experience in order to be really sufficient, but a degree would be about as useful as a dog in a kitchen. And if your house was on fire, then you would be pretty fucked if there wasn’t anyone to put it out!
Success should be about Personal Fulfilment…
In other words, everyone focuses too much on the idea of success being based around what someone earns, the “type” of job someone has, not to mention of course their educational accomplishments. But there are so many other ways in life which we can succeed. For instance we can raise children well giving them a happy start and enabling them to be able to live a happy life as adults, or we can even succeed in living a happy life without all the crazy levels of work or wealth that a good grade might lead to. It makes sense that being happy can be the most success one can really wish to accomplish, because in all cases being happy is more of worth than being miserable, even if we are able to cry in a jacuzzi!
Do we Judge by Grades too Much?
Usually it is fair to say that if someone wants to take something like medicine or another science/arhitimatic based subject, then they must know their stuff. However being able to learn and churn a load of information, while remembering about a number of practical’s isn’t necessarily going to make you a good dentist for example, however if you understand the necessary information and are able to work with it, without necessarily remembering everything from the top of your head, then I don’t quite see why it would make you such a bad one. Obviously if one is writing an exam, then they will also need a good understanding of the content as well as the ability to interpret different elements of information if they want to do well. However this doesn’t always go hand in hand, while not being able to stick to a certain guide in an essay isn’t always going to mean you would be insufficient for the work you want to undertake. While it is also true that it is hard to measure enthusiasm for a subject, but yet again grades don’t even start to represent this. This way I would judge that universities are too particular some of the time when it does come to grades, though when there is such high demand, it is hard to come up with a more practical alternative. However more importantly, it is ourselves who often overestimate the value that they are worth, because at the end of the day they cannot begin to determine how enthusiastic we will be about our future line of work, it is crazy really to think they can add (or lose) points to our self worth because a very mere estimate of our knowledge and ability of a particular subject cannot begin to define who we are.