Warning: if you are going to be irritated by the fact that getting a B bothers me at all, you should not read this post. I don’t think that a B is a bad grade. I don’t think that everyone needs to be academically perfect. But I’m not always sure how to earn myself a good future outside of doing well in school, and so grades like these, marks on my record that are less than perfect, scare me.
For those of you sympathetic to my absurd melodrama, read on.
I have actually never received a B in a class before. B+, last in the sixth(?) grade, but never a B.
I’m writing about it on this blog for two reasons. First, I often hear people talk of how social media causes them to feel inadequate because people only publish their brightest moments. So, because I believe in leading by example, I would like to make public something that feels a great deal like failure. Second, in anticipation of a large mass of free time this summer and a slew of temptations to use it unproductively, I’m taking a stab at restarting my blog.
Regardless, back to the matter at hand. I’m trying to figure out how to explain to you that the reason I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked is that I’m pretty happy here. Maybe it’s my own inability to recognize the limits of my intellect, but I can’t help but think I could have gotten an A if not for philosophical discussions and interesting people and not eating meals alone. I was a lonely high-schooler, and it seems the price I have paid to buck loneliness is that I can no longer maintain the fiction that I am the best. This trade-off is one I was hoping to make in coming to MIT, but it still stings. There are people who are smarter than me who don’t have this trade-off, and that stings too.
And I know that grades are not the most important thing. And I know that medical and other graduate schools will likely still take me. And I know that there will be many other opportunities to prove myself, in the classroom and in the lab. It still doesn’t take the frustration out of knowing that there are other people, many people, who are outperforming me in a quantifiable sense.
Hopefully, my performance will improve in at least some of the semesters that follow. Orgo doesn’t play to my strengths, and I can think of some ways to do better that don’t sacrifice balance, such as getting more help from peers on my work (I studied alone almost exclusively this semester, and it was not fun). Even if my grades don’t improve, though, I think I’d still choose to keep regularly prioritizing human connection over studying. Maybe that makes me unsuited to be a doctor. Quite possibly, it makes me unsuited to ever accomplish anything great. I know it’s absurd, and I know I always claim to be okay with not being great, but I’m not really sure if I’m okay being mediocre. I guess I will be whatever I will be, whether I’m okay with it or not.
I’m not sure where I was going with this post, or if I got there. Please read generously- I’m still thinking through this stuff.
Having written a blog post between the hours of midnight and one-thirty, I am going to sleep. Goodnight, all.