Is Getting Straight A’s in College Overrated?

Getting Straight A's in College for Mature StudentsBelieve it or not, it’s hard to fail a college class. That is, if you show up at least most of the time to listen to the professor’s lecture; read at least 80 percent of the assigned homework in the textbook; and have the capacity to learn through repetition. And of course, you have to have a college major that you love; you live it!

When I went back to college, I guess I had something to prove. I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually learn something. And I did, after several false starts. I amazed myself of how my mind had grown, especially after laying academically dormant for 13 years.

My grades soared, reflecting the diligence as the model student I had hoped to be. Mostly A’s, with a few stubborn B’s, marked my papers. After two years of this––with me knowing about my A’s and everyone else oblivious to my accolades––I wondered why I cared so much. No one else did. Okay, sure, I made the Dean’s List, with and expensive sheet of paper glimmering though the “plaque board” glass window in the hallway of the college. But that was it.

No ticker-tape parade at the end of the week for me.

Honor-roll status was not what I wanted. That was for overachievers. That was for people who had something to prove. Perhaps for the middle child? I was the youngest.

Eventually, I stopped spending my nights studying when no quiz or exam was in the forecast. Instead, I watched movies, spent time with my husband, or browsed the Internet until the wee hours of the morning (but I only bought those shoes because they were on sale).

I did “review” the course material one to two days before a big exam. And guess what? I got an A or B anyway. I wasn’t convinced at first. Surely, I got lucky, so I chanced it again, with the same results. Repeatedly, I passed, one exam after the other.

On the day of one of my finals, my professor, forever the jokester, said, “I’m taking bribes for A’s.”
One of the students in the back shouted, “Do you take credit cards?”
The professor said, “Nope.”
Then I spoke, me sitting up front within earshot of the professor, “Professor, A’s are overrated. They’re for overachievers.” I smiled.
Bewilderment marked his face, especially hearing a comment like that from a “model student.”
“What’s the worst that can happen,” I said, “an F? Not possible-unless a student never showed up for class; didn’t read the assigned material; and has a learning deficiency… Would you agree?”
He took it all in. “Yes. I do.”
I had one more question. “Has a student ever gotten an F on one of your final exams?”
“No. As a matter of fact, never.”


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