Grades vs. Education

I’m quitting a class that I think I would really like and one that I would probably learn a lot in. I’m not doing it because I don’t like the professor. I’m not doing it because I want an easier course. I am quitting this class because I worry about my grade.

You see, I’m here at Liberty on an academic scholarship, full-tuition actually. To continue to receive the financial aid that I need (because Lord knows I couldn’t even begin to afford this school otherwise), I have to stay in the honors program. To stay in the honors program, I have to keep up a GPA of 3.5. Which is fine. I don’t normally mind having to keep my grades up. I’m kind of a perfectionist anyway. The issue is that I am beginning to feel like I am actually sacrificing my education for sake of my grade point average.

I started out this semester in Theology 201 Honors. I like the professor, and I think the discussion-based aspect of the class would make it instructive and fun. But unfortunately, the professor has a liking for pop quizzes of the essay variety (why I hate essay exams and quizzes is a whole other post). If you’ve ever had to do something like this, then you’ll understand that it’s really hard. When the reading is 40+ pages, it’s even harder.

I realized after taking the first quiz that I probably won’t get an A in the class. Now I could keep going and accept whatever grade I get, but I feel it isn’t worth the risk to my GPA. I want an education. I want to learn, but to keep attending Liberty, I need to keep up my scores. There are certain things that I can’t take the risk on if I want to keep going, including overly-difficult honors courses.

But at the same time, I probably won’t learn as much in a normal theology class as I would in my honors one. So I wonder if it is worth it to me in the long run. I wonder if I’m handicapping myself later by choosing to be more careful now.

I’ve long said that if I was rich I wouldn’t go to school full-time. I would take one or two classes a semester just for the sake of learning, and spend the rest of my time applying my knowledge. I want to learn but when it comes to grades, well, I would really rather not care.

If I wasn’t being graded, I could delve more deeply into subjects that interested me, that really allowed me to grow. It’s one of the things that I loved about homeschooling, that amazing freedom to do as I liked. But as things stand now, I am so focused on grades that I wonder if I am really learning or if I am instead just performing.

My education is more than just my grades.

It’s a nasty dichotomy. I must get good grades to keep up my educations, but my education feels shallower because I must focus too heavily on my grades.

I also wonder if this feeling of wariness will continue with me when I leave school. Will I be trained to avoid risks that might further my career or personal development? Will I become so careful that I do not progress, that I become stagnant?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I don’t know if I ever will. In the meantime, I’m left wondering and frustrated, praying that I will learn enough in the honors class, PSYCH 101, to make up for what I will miss in the theology class.

P.S. On an unrelated note, you should check out one of my other blogs on Medium. I had to make this one for a Journalism class. My handle is @RatherBeWriting, and I recently wrote a post about what makes good writing that is worth a look.

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