Monday, 7 May 2012

Being graded

I have always had a weird relationship with being graded. I hate failing, I love high grades, but I have never truly been able to predict whether I will get a high grade or a low grade. You would think that means I am incredibly nervous when receiving grades, but the opposite is true. Just last week I got a grade which I did not bother to check until a few days had gone by first. Not because I was nervous; I had simply forgotten the grade was published that week.

Basically, I already knew I had a passing grade, just not what kind of passing grade. I can be incredibly confident when it comes to written assignments, maybe more so than I should be. In this case I had received a score of 60%, made into 67% because the whole class had difficulty with the exam. I finished the course with 74% average and I am pretty pleased with the result.

On the other hand, I can never be pleased with the results of individual assessment. That is, when I write a paper and I get anything less than full points I am inclined to argue and fuss. I also get extremely nervous and anxious when receiving the results, because there are far fewer excuses to hide behind if there is negative feedback. It sounds really silly when writing it down like this, but it is still true.

Like mentioned before, I suffer from a pretty bad case of imposter syndrome. No matter what I am doing, I get the sense that if I make the tiniest slip up, people will figure out I have no idea what I am doing and strip me of my bachelor’s degree (and, in a few months, of my master’s degree). Rationally, I know that this is their problem and not mine. If people were really going to critique, for instance, my spelling by saying it is so abysmal that I should have been kicked out of this university on the first day, then it is not my spelling that is the problem but their inability to properly value the properties required of a student. Had my spelling truly been that important, I would indeed have been kicked out sooner.

It sounds a bit Zen, but the important part is your own sense of accomplishment, the way that you value yourself, not some grade that has been given to you by some other person. And yes, I say that fully knowing that I would have been elatedly rubbing my grade in your faces if it had been over 80%.

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