Seniors comment on Uni’s harsh grade culture

As finals approach many students at Uni become stressed over grades and exams. However, this is not a phenomenon only related to finals. Many seniors noted that grades are an overwhelming part of Uni culture. As Sam Li said, the grade culture at Uni is “too obsessive.”

Some seniors said that students at Uni often feel as though their grades define them.

“I think that everybody equates their self worth with their grades so if they get As that means they’re a good person and they see themselves as being worthy of existence but then if they get a B then everything goes to hell, and they’re really upset because they put so much of their self expectations and self worth on to the grades. People need to realize that their grades don’t define them,” said Victoria Kindratenko.

Often times students put the value of a grade over actually learning the material.

Grace Sumitro noted, “We’ve lost our passion for learning because we’re so set on getting good grades and it makes me sad because we’re not really curious anymore.”

Tina Wayne had similar thoughts. “I think sometimes people learn for the grade and not for the sake of learning. Which is something I don’t think you start off doing.”

Wayne believes this trend can be seen in classes that require a lot of memorization.

Asante’ Woods agreed with Wayne and believes that “the school pushes you into that attitude of just learning so that you can get a good grade.”

Seniors noted that grades at Uni are also detrimental to students physical and mental health.

“Physically (…) people don’t sleep because they’re studying for test and stuff and also for mental health getting a bad grade is people’s biggest fear here and it’s really bad,” said Sumitro. “You worry a lot about it [grades] and then you don’t have time to let yourself relax because there are deadlines all the time for each of your classes.”

“I don’t think there’s a single case of grades affecting anything positive for mental health,” said Woods.

Some seniors believe the reason the grade culture at Uni is so bad is because the atmosphere can be isolating.

“You know that at Uni doing badly is still doing well in comparison to most other high schools but because we’re here and everyone else does well or you think everyone else is doing well then it can be really isolating,” said Wayne.

Woods added, “And that’s a really important thing too you think everyone else is doing well. You don’t always really know what’s going on with other people. Like you don’t know what grades they have or what they’re doing.”

However Catalin Cloughtery believes pressure to get good grades comes from the individual students themselves.

“I think a lot of the pressure is from people putting it on themselves. I think it could be worse with peer pressure. Generally people are very supportive of each other with grades, and I guess there could be undercurrent peer pressure but it’s not really that it’s direct peer pressure. I think the worst part of it comes from people themselves and people putting their own pressure on themselves,” said Cloughtery.