Seconds often make the difference between life and death and new technology makes the difference…
It took me years to be able to say this (and a lot of painful bouts of insomnia, ulcers and ice cream cravings) but grades aren’t everything. For those of you in high school, who are being beaten over the head with “you won’t be able to get into college if you don’t have a good average,” I feel for you. It is a lot of pressure and while I can’t deny a grade point average is very important, it is not the end all and be all of your existence, no matter what anyone tells you.
I remember being in college and not sleeping at night because I was terrified a teacher would give me an A-, and that would spoil my pristine 4.0. I had dreams of being valedictorian and showing my overachieving brothers that I too could be an academic star. I put hours into studying for a final and was sure I had aced it. I had big plans for the party four years hence where I would win the admiration and jealousy of my entire family due to my sheer academic genius.
To my utter sorrow, the teacher gave me an A-, crashing my dreams forever. He even had the nerve to congratulate me on my excellent grade. “Besides for one mistake, it was a masterpiece.” I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from lambasting him for ruining my average forever! Of course, realizing I had made a mistake didn’t make me feel much better. In fact, I felt like a complete failure. How would I ever get the esteem of my family if I didn’t have a perfect average?
After a long crying session with my teddy bear, I really had no idea what to think. If my goal of a perfect score was over, I needed a new goal. I realized a few semesters’ later that the quest for a perfect grade point average had been a terrible goal. Wasn’t I willing to challenge myself and risk a few points off my grade point average? Would I have unintentionally chosen easier courses because I valued a grade over an education? Taking the emphasis off grades had actually improved my education.
So I decided to take classes that interested me, and would help me find a job. I took skills courses, as well as classes that seemed interesting and fit into my schedule. I managed to graduate with honors, and although I wasn’t first in my class, I wasn’t far from it. In other words, the world did not come to an end because that elusive 4.0 had eluded me as well.
Then came graduate school, which meant the work would only get harder. With a lot of trepidation, I had decided to take graduate level statistics. Math has never been my favorite topic and part of my glee in majoring in Urban Studies had been not taking any more math courses. State regents’ level math had been painful enough.
Now I was going to be taking hard math, the kind of math I had hoped never to see. I could have tried to argue my way out of it and take some remedial math, but I decided that it was worth a try. After all, statistics was something society ran on and a good understanding would be valuable to me. That is, if I survived the midterm’s endless figure chart.
It was a mixed bag. I was blessed with a fantastic teacher who really worked hard to make the class interesting. Of course the material made up for that boon and proceeded to confuse me, every which way. I struggled through every class, spent hours trying to understand the material and the math resource room had become my new second home.
When I got my grades back, I realized I had a B. Not even a B+ but an alarmingly average B. Four years ago, an A- had sent me into spasms of sobs and long angst-ridden poetry about the futility of life. Now I had a full grade level lower.
You know what was weird? I was the happiest person I had ever been – this was cause for celebration. I had passed one of the hardest classes, in a subject I had hated. The proud nod of approval my teacher gave me when he handed me back my paper spoke volumes. It was a job well done; I had challenged myself and had learned a valuable subject that would serve me well in my future career. I had stretched my talents and had proved myself wrong; I could be decent in mathematics. It didn’t matter that this lowered my grade point average – I had achieved something great.
In hindsight, my GPA suffered. But no “A” could have given me the pleasure of knowing how much I could achieve if I faced my fears. I think it was worth it. Therefore, I can only advise others to take the path of learning, because the skills will serve you well. Grades fade away into the obscurity of memory, but learning is forever.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The poetry slam required entrants to compose original poetry with powerful imagery and energetic rhythm bringing their poems to life – making it palpable to the audience.
“I was so inspired by the beautiful lessons I learned and by the holiness around me that I just couldn’t stop writing songs!” she says.
Several thousand Eastern European Jews had escaped Nazi death and Soviet persecution by fleeing to Shanghai, China.
Now that we’re back to chometz, it’s just the right time to give thought to our wellbeing. Who doesn’t want to lose a few bulky matzah-and-potato pounds? Who wouldn’t like to eat smarter and feel better? If you’re like most people I know, these are probably the first things you’d like to address. It’s time […]
My mother-in-law and I have had our problems since the beginning of my marriage.
It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.
“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”
We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.
The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.
“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.
Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.
At the American Jewish Historical Society, there was an excellent program about Jewish women in the Civil War. The audience learned about such colorful women as Phoebe Yates Pember who served as a nurse, with 15,000 patients coming under her direct care during the war and Clara Solomon, a teenager who chronicled the Civil War.
The importance of death customs has been ingrained in me since birth. When I served as a shomeret for my grandmother, I was instructed not to eat, drink or perform a mitzvah in the same room. In the shock of death, it seemed rather inane to be told it would be considered mocking the dead. My grandmother was gone; she couldn’t do those things because she didn’t exist anymore, a fact that still makes me tear up.
At the end of 2012, I was in Israel and looking out at the Jerusalem night sky. I was filled to the brim with inspiration and decided to challenge myself to become a more educated young woman. Simply put, I was going to read as many books in a year as possible. I’m not sure if that would actually have made a difference in my level of education but it seemed like a fun goal at the time.
Many Jewish people, including myself, avoid Holocaust movies because it is far too painful to watch the dehumanization of those we love. Still, facing what is painful is an important part of life. “Lion of Judah” is not an easy film to watch, but for the next generation it will be a valuable resource for educating children in a world without survivors. More importantly, it is centered on the incredible, Leo Zisman, the Lion of Judah.
Whenever I got praised for an achievement, I feel like I should say that half the praise goes to my parents. Although they can get on my nerves, I am really blessed with a mother and father who have molded and shaped me (by any means necessary) to become a successful human being.
Growing up, I remember my father’s Rosh Hashana ritual. He read the story of Rabi Amnon of Mainz, who had his tongue, hands and legs cut off for refusing to convert to Christianity – for choosing to remain a Jews. I would run away from the table sobbing in terror. Even at the tender age of six, I knew that being Jewish made oneself a member of an endangered species.
Purim is my favorite holiday, and I love to share the joy. I have spent previous years wandering around my neighborhood in costume. This year, I fully intend to celebrate with full cheer, and I want everyone to know why I plan to spend the day in costume, singing Shoshanat Yaakov at the top of my lungs.
We are forgetting the lessons of the churban Beit HaMikdash, how we were not finished off by Rome, but destroyed ourselves through mindless hatred and zealotry. We bled each other dry through violence and bigotry until we were weak enough for Rome to come in and step all over our broken bodies. Rome did not defeat us – we defeated ourselves.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/blessings-of-a-%e2%80%9cb%e2%80%9d/2011/10/26/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: