So grades are finally in and I’m totally disappointed. In my fiction workshop, in my first semester, I’m walking out with a B+. I’m not so happy about this. When I vented this to my other half an important point was made, “I always thought that the higher up you got in education grades weren’t really that important. Isn’t it more about the writing?” I will admit I have thought about grades a lot while in grad school.
Grades have always been important to me. Now, when I think about this grade in my workshop class I’m understanding how my students feel and I’m feeling like such a hypocrite. I have told my students countless times that “grades are not important.” I’ve said this with great conviction, so much so, I’m surprised I actually don’t believe this. Grades ARE important, at least I think they are, at least at the undergraduate level. I usually say this to my students too, “if you’re planning on going to school after college grades are important,” because they are. You can’t get into medical school with a low GPA and grad schools also look at GPA when considering future applicants.
So are grades important at the graduate level? I still haven’t decided. Although, after ending the conversation with my other half I decided that no I would not be a teacher pleaser. I am not here to write for my professors. I am in grad school to write for myself. I’m just wondering if when I apply for my PhD will this nonchalant attitude about grades bite me in the ass?
After deciding that I wasn’t going to be teacher pleaser I started thinking that maybe my teacher pleasing had actually been to blame for the B+. If I had been writing what I wanted and had not over thought my work would it have been stronger and better received by both my professor and peers? Every piece I have written this semester has carried with it a lot of thought. Not thought about making it better, thoughts like, is this good enough for the MFA program? Will my professor think this sucks? Instead of actually thinking that I got in because of my writing I’m worrying about who is going to like it, and if they don’t like it then why?
I think since the new year is rolling around now is as good a time as any to really take a good hard look at how I’m writing and what I can do to improve it. My resolution for the spring is not to write for the my program, my teachers, my other half, or my parents. Instead, I’m going to treasure the time I have here set aside for writing and write whatever my heart desires.
I think, with many aspects of my life I need think about why I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing. Whether it’s a masters degree, writing or exercising. I’m not doing these things for my other half, my parents, or my school, I’m doing them for myself. I guess a little selfishness isn’t all bad. Is it really selfish though?