An obsession with the Honor Roll


Morgan Prater ‘19, Business Manager

In an instant the world can come crashing around you. Everything you worked so hard for can dissolve in front of you. Nothing else seems to matter, only your complete and utter failure. The room you’re in seems to slowly compress. Your body becomes tense and sweaty. The tears are building up behind your eyes and you cannot fight it anymore. There is nothing more you can do: you have failed as a student and a child. The thin little piece of paper your teacher just handed you determines your entire life worth. The B that is permanently etched on your transcript will scar you forever.

This was my biggest struggle growing up. My one and only goal was to get all A’s in school. Nothing else in life seemed to matter. Other than cheating, I was willing to do anything to get an A. Instead of trying to learn the content, I tried to learn knew ways to get it done quickly and still ace the test. I continued in this twisted way of thinking until the end of my sophomore year. I knew I would be applying to colleges soon, so I had to make my transcript look really good. That year I was taking Chemistry, which was one of my greatest weaknesses. Even with one of the best teachers I was lost. In order to end the class with an A, I had to at least get a B on the final exam.  I drove myself crazy attempting to cram for the final. I pored endlessly over the final exam review sheet memorizing its contents, I watched and repeatedly re-watched crash course videos attempting to retain the entire semester of content. I refused to do anything but study for three hours straight. I did not feel the need to waste precious studying time on sleep.

The day of the test came and I was both stressed and exhausted. I wanted to do well but I was struggling to have a positive outlook. We took our places in our assigned seats and awaited the horrific test that was to come. I could see a shared expression of nervousness and anxiety on the face of every student. My teacher entered the room holding our futures in his hands. The room went silent and stayed that way for the remainder of the test. My teacher placed the exam on my desk and the majority of the course material immediately vaporized. I stared blankly at the pages, hoping the information would appear in my mind. Eventually I decided there was nothing more I could do. I closed the test and with a remorseful sigh turned it in. When the test results were finally posted I wished they had not been. I received a C on the final, which meant I would end the class with a B.

I was so disappointed in myself. The ride home on the bus seemed fitting for the day. The rain poured out of the sky loudly and endlessly. When I finally arrived home, I did not speak to anyone. I went straight to my room and hid in shame. My room was dark and empty, which was synonymous with how I felt. I cried on my bed for several hours. When I finally stopped crying I just lay in bed contemplating what to do.

Looking back now, that seems extremely irrational, but in that moment my world was ending. I realize now that letter grades do not mean that much. The most important thing about school is that I learn the material and understand it. It is important not to stress out about what letter grade you will get, otherwise you will overload yourself.

Sadly I’m not the only one who struggles with this mindset. Many students feel the pressure to have exceptional grades.

“Junior year I took AP Chemistry and could not get an A no matter how much time I was putting into homework and studying,” senior Geena Bommarito said. “The highest grade I got all year was a B+ and at first I was disappointed in myself but I had to learn that I can’t always be perfect. I need to learn to become comfortable with failure and coming to terms with that has helped me to continue to grow as a person.”

It is important to not overstress yourself, but allow do not allow yourself to slack off. Grades may not be everything but they are important.

“Once in eighth grade, I go really sick during the second semester and I didn’t want to make up the work. So I came home with a D+ in English,”  junior Bassit Fijabi said. “I was very upset with myself after that. That’s what motivated me to strive for all A’s.”