The inspiration from this post comes from the study cram session that I am in the midst of this week in preparation for my summer school exams this Saturday. Don’t pity the fact that I am doing school work in August, because I don’t pity myself. While, yes, I wouldn’t mind passing these dog days catching up with Suits and napping in the sunlight, I’ve actually really loved taking classes this summer instead of drowning in a four month hiatus from learning. Last summer I really disliked not doing schoolwork for such a long period of time, so this summer I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to further my education. And if that doesn’t speak to my level of craziness, then I don’t know what does.
I have loved school since a young age because I was incredibly lucky to be a very smart kid. I feel like my elementary brilliance is pretty irrelevant in present day, so it’s okay for me to gush over my past intelligence without sounding like I’m bragging. Or at least, I hope. Public School Marryl is an entirely different person from Current Marryl so really I’m not even bragging about myself. Just a past me that is long gone.
Basically I was just really smart, whatever that means. I was always reading above grade level. I was given extra assignments when I finished the class assignment early. I got hella bored in math when we repeated the same problem a hundred times even though I understood it after the first two. Things just made sense to me and I generally excelled in everything school related. I went to an Enrichment school (aka School for Smarties) a half day a week for a couple months from grades 1 to 5, and then one full day a week for the entire year in grade 6. There, my class of kids from across the region did activities and independent studies that were shaped to higher learning or whatever. Nowadays my mom says I should have skipped a grade or something because I felt unchallenged, but shoulda woulda coulda. I’m not really sure what it meant to be smart in elementary school, because all I really did was understand big words and learn really fast. But at the time, that was so normal to me. Ignorant little Marryl didn’t realize it wasn’t easy for everyone. Sorry, I sound braggy. The point is that I did really well and therefor loved it. People like things they’re good at.
I continued to do well throughout middle school and high school, though in my opinion not as well because there was a larger volume of people to compare myself to, and public school is a very comparative system. Actually, the education system in general is very comparative, as much as it likes to deny that fact. But I did well nonetheless, and without trying very hard, and so I still liked it. It wasn’t that I just slacked and got good grades in high school; I still tried and gave most things my all. But looking back, I can’t remember the effort I put in taking that much energy.
University is a whole different ballgame. I put in stupid amounts of work and average grades ridiculously below what I averaged in public school. I don’t always love university, and I think that’s why. Like I said, people like what they are good at because it makes them feel good about themselves. I am pretty good at university, but not as good as I was at high school or elementary school. I really loved public school, but I think my mind correlates that love with the fact that I excelled so much. And now I’ve tricked myself into thinking my enjoyment level is only determined by my success.
But that’s just dumb.
The University of Toronto is a very snobby institution, so while they let you study elsewhere for the summer, they’re worried that you’ll go off to some easy, non-top 5 school, get 90s, and come back with a boosted GPA. So I only need a 60% in my summer courses, and then it’s credit-no-credit. I’m sitting her, busting my butt to cram all of this French grammar into my brain when I could probably get a 30% on the exam and still pass the course, without affecting my GPA. I could just slack and do the bare minimum, but I can’t. I mean, I could. Netflix is only a tab away. But in this case, my satisfaction isn’t tied to how well I do because grades honestly do not matter. I’m studying like it’s my day job because I want to for the sake of wanting to. I want to learn grammar and I want to memorize vocab and I want to read Tuck Everlasting because I’m learning and learning is pretty rad. Even when it’s 28 degrees outside and I’ve become all too familiar with the cocoon that is my bedroom.
I think what I need to remind myself in this upcoming school year is that it’s totally okay if I don’t get amazing grades. A lot of people will say that “grades don’t matter”, which is untrue when taken literally. Grades matter to an extent. But grades don’t always correlate with the quality of your learning experience. As a girl who is so used to liking school because she was so good at it, I need to keep telling myself that I’m still good at school, but how much I like it doesn’t need to drop as much as my grade point average.
Because learning is dope. I love all the cool stuff I’ve been learning, and I’m very thankful to be able to learn it all, even though I totally take it for granted sometimes.
Stay in school, kids.