Comparing Grades Can Stunt Your Intellectual Development
We’ve all been there: you’ve worked hard to prepare for an exam, write the perfect essay, or create the perfect project, and now it’s time to get your mark. We used to have to wait until the teacher physically gave you your grade, but now, students in grades K-12 and college may just sign onto their school’s LMS and view their grades. You are overjoyed to learn that you scored an 85 percent, a great B. You breathe a sigh of relief, but your joy and sense of accomplishment are replaced with envy when you learn that your friend scored a 95 percent, an A, and a full 10% more points than you.
To add salt to the wound, you spent weeks composing the essay while your friend, who only spent 4 hours on it, scored a 95 percent. You obtained a worse grade after staying away from the social scene, making many trips to your professor’s office, and going through 5 rounds of editing than someone who wrote their paper the night before, after spending most of the night drinking and partying with friends. The crushing realization that someone finished something in 4 hours that took you 50 hours is a jolt to the ego. You worked hard and did your best, but someone else outperformed you.
It is difficult for the ego to accept that this could happen. You begin to ask yourself questions such as, “What does my friend have that I don’t?” Alternatively, make defeatist sentiments such as “It’s just not fair.” Unfortunately, all of these notions are unhelpful and will not assist you in intellectual growth. In fact, I believe that intellectually comparing ourselves to others can stifle our intellectual advancement. We waste valuable time by focusing on and fixating on things over which we have little control.
How to react when someone else receives a far higher grade
Instead of worrying about someone else’s talents, we should concentrate on our own and seek to improve in our areas of weakness. Instead of viewing your brilliant writer pal as a competitor or a threat, consider them an ally. I am confident that if you ask them to teach you their process for creating the perfect essay, they will gladly oblige. Yes, you spent hours being tutored by your professor, but our peers are sometimes more suited for that duty because they can explain things in a language we understand. Not to diminish the importance of professors or instructors, who are also valuable resources.
Concentrate on your strengths, and your friend who is a talented writer will come to you for assistance with statistics or public speaking. Teach me something, and I’ll teach you something; that’s how friendship works, and it’s how the world’s smartest people get smarter. If you follow my advice, your intellectual development will blossom rather than be inhibited by being consumed with things that are unhelpful.
Also, don’t place too much emphasis on grades because they don’t define you. That is something only you are capable of doing. Just keep working hard, in a disciplined and focused manner, and wonderful things will come your way.