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Author Topic: Grade concerns
ezzabes
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I wasn't exactley sure where to put this. Or what to title it. o.o Confusing. I'm just looking for some advice before I get back into school.

Anyways, I'm fifteen years old, going into tenth grade. I've always gotten good grades at school. Last year in my math class I did really great. I got 100's all four quarters, and on my midterm. The final was actually the Regents--not sure if anyone's familiar with that. It's just a state test that replaced the actual final. I got a 98. Which I guess is good, but I'm so dissapointed with myself. The days leading up to the final I was nervous. I know I could have gotten 100, I knew everything I needed to know. Tricky questions were never a probelm. I got 100's on all the practice tests. I know I could have gotten a 100. People around me saw how anxious I was about acing the test. Teachers, classmates, family. And they just rolled there eyes. They thought I was being unrealistic for wanting a perfect score. Some people were mocking me and making fun of me. My math teacher was the only one that got what I was saying.

Was I being unrealistic about wanting a perfect score?

I feel bad, because a lot of the people around me got really bad scores, and I was dissapointed with my score.

"Aw, what did you get?"

"98."

"Psh. And you're upset. That's so stupid."

Now when people ask I don't say, because I do feel bad.

Does anyone see where I'm coming from?

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Djuna
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I know exactly what you mean. I have this borderline obsessive drive to get 100% in maths, but I keep getting like 95 or something similar. To be honest I try and keep this kind of perfectionist thing separate from anything else in my life. You may find people will feel patronized by the fact that you're not happy with a grade they'd kill for.
Basically I try not to mention this to my classmates, except sometimes humourously.
Trying to acheive perfection is always productive. And a 98 instead of a 100 isn't going to be a problem in any other way. But I really enjoy continuously pushing the limits.
It's not unrealistic at all to try for 100%. You've shown you can do it. [Smile]

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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ezzabes
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I wouldn't tell anyone about my grades in the class either, except for the fact that students hand out tests, or he reads the grades out loud, or people look at your desk. One way or another word gets out.

I just get so annoyed that people make fun of me because I get GOOD grades. I've gotten into so many fights with people because they tell me to stop worrying about it or I'm being too obsessive. And the thing is, I'm not obsesive. Not in the sense that I go home and study for hours. I don't study. I did homework the period before, but on quizzes and tests everything made sense to me. Everything clicked. I love math, it all just makes sense. But still, people are awful to me about this.

Any suggestions on how I can stop this?

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Djuna
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This is going to sound harsh, but you have exactly the same problem I had in the past so I know it works.
You have to not care about these people.
Make this into a joke. Laughter really is the best medicine. It means people won't feel patronized, and it'll help you to be OK with it too. Maybe just sarcastically say 'Oh, I wanted 100!"
I'll be honest - if you've said you were disappointed with a 98, people are going to be hacked off with you. They are going to feel really patronized, because they're the people getting 70s and thinking they're doing well until you tell them even a 98 is disappointing. So you have to stop being disappointed, at least in public.
Next step - stop being disappointed altogether. Honestly. You have to want to see it, but your classmates almost certainly have a lot of respect for you. You have to appreciate what a great talent you have.
Finally, apologize. While you haven't patronized anyone intentionally, you have nonetheless. Apologize to all the people that give you a hard time. Those that still reject you aren't worth bothering with; but I turned a worst enemy into a best mate this way.
I know a lot of this seems harsh, but I say it with love. Honestly, it works. [Smile]

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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wobblyheadedjane
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I tended to just keep my grades quiet - it's really no one's business and telling people didn't make anyone happy. If people asked me how I did on an essay or exam, I would say "Very well, thank you." or something of the sort. I took a similar tack when people were talking about how hard or for how many hours they studied by not really talking about my habits.

Bear in mind too, that while getting good grades are important and helpful in certain arenas (scholarships for colleges and the like) most of life isn't graded, so it's important to keep in mind what you learn and take away from a class is just as, if not more important than how you're graded. As you continue on in academia (if you decide to), you'll probably see a focus shift from grades to knowing and understanding what you study.

ETA: I think this is more of an All About You topic, so I'm sending it there.

[ 08-27-2006, 05:02 PM: Message edited by: wobblyheadedjane ]

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Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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Djuna
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With all due respect, I've got to disagree, wobblyheadedjane. While I accept that different things work for different people, I found that in order to get rid of these kind of problems, you have to become less patronizing (not a problem with your way of course), and most importantly more approachable. I'm concerned that taking such a conservative approach isn't going to solve the problem. You're just distancing yourself from other people even more. Mind, I've never been a fan of being conservative to protect myself from people's attitudes. I've always looked for an active solution. I guess it's the way my particular mind works.

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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ezzabes
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If I told them I did well they'd want to know specifics. I don't think people would let things go so easily. And there's no use saying "I'm not telling my grade" for fifteen minutes straight.


Aand...I can try to ignore them. But I don't know about the whole apologizing thing. I'm not going to apologize when I don't feel I did anything wrong. I feel bad a lot, it doesn't mean I did anything wrong. My grade, my standards. It shouldn't interfere with their standards.

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dailicious
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(Actually, Joseph? Just a niggle-

By saying something as, "Well, I'm sorry I got a better grade than you." or sarcastically saying, "Well, I WANTED a 100." can actually sound a lot more patronizing and arrogant than come off as just making light of the situation.)

Maybe, as a best of both? Is to not ignore everyone completely, but use techniques such as saying, "I did well, thank you." if people ask how you did. Or, if they see your grade and comment? Maybe say, "I understand the material and aced the practice tests, so I was hoping for a perfect score - but at least I did well."

And if someone feels more down about their grades or is giving you a hard time? Why not turn it around in a productive way: maybe find the problem that you missed points on and say to the person, "What did you get for problem #?" If they got it right, ask how they did it, if not? Work with the person to figure out what you both did wrong.

Also, for those who you seem to argue with about your grades? You may try saying, "I just really enjoy and understand math, so I'd like to do really well in the class. I didn't think I had gotten anything wrong on the test, so it was just a bit disappointing to me to see that I had." And perhaps just leave it at that. By not being deffensive about what they say to you it'll probably be a lot easier on you, and hopefully they'll notice and just drop it in the future.

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Jean
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JamsessionVT
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quote:
Originally posted by smileyjoseph:
While I accept that different things work for different people, I found that in order to get rid of these kind of problems, you have to become less patronizing (not a problem with your way of course), and most importantly more approachable.

You can be approachable and act in a way that isn't patronizing while still keeping your ground.

Personally? I see someone as being patronizing when they go around asking for results from others. I had classmates coming up to me asking me, "I got 95 (or whatever number, however high), what did YOU get?" all through high school. But politely declining to answer on the basis of "it's my score" is hardly patronizing.

I also seriously fail to see the need to apologize. It's the equivalent of saying "I'm sorry I got a 98. My standards are way too high, I should aim lower so as not to make others feel bad." For some, their best is a 70, or is and 80, and there isn't anything wrong with that. Not everyone needs to get 90's or above to feel successful. The problem comes when students start comparing themselves to others, thinking "well if SHE'S getting 90's, than I should be, too". Certainly not the case. You can appreciate the talents you have without aiming low, or having to lower your standards because others are unhappy with them. While it IS unrealistic to expect a 100 every single time, it certainly doesn't hurt to try every time.

I think jane brings up an excellent point; most of your life won't be graded. If you understood the material, that is the most important thing. Tests don't always accuratly portray understanding (I'm a prime example of that. I graduated in the top 15 in my class, but throughout my freshman year my grades were consistently the lowest in the class. I understood the material, I just didn't bother to apply what I've learned. If you can come away and say, "I understood what material I was given, and that is what truly matters" you will never be disappointed with the grade you recieve.)

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Abbie
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Djuna
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Woah, I came across all wrong there. I know not saying your grade isn't patronizing, that wasn't the problem. The problem is that you're distancing yourself if you do this. And saying sarcastically that you wanted a 100 does work if you're good at making sarcasm obvious, at least it does for me. My friends find this funny in any case.
As for apologizing? Firstly, I'm not talking about saying, 'I'm sorry I got a 98'. That, I agree, would come off as very patronizing.
Secondly, we all know that you've done nothing wrong. But a lot of people are easily offended, and although you have always been nice to them you may have patronized them without meaning to. So although you've done nothing wrong, the damage has still been done. I got to a point about 6 months ago when I realised I had made lots of enemies accidentally like this, so I apologised to all those people, and believe it or not 3 of them are now good friends. You just have to say something along the lines of, 'I realised recently that I've been quite arrogant in the past, and if I've patronized you I'm really sorry, because you're a great person and I'd like to be your friend.' I know you haven't been arrogant, but apologizing sometimes requires you to be sorry for things you didn't do rather than worsening things by insisting you didn't ever patronize them.
Just to sum up, I want to emphasise that we all know you've done nothing wrong and you've meant no offence. The problem is that these people have been offended, rightly or wrongly, and it needs to be put right.

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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JamsessionVT
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quote:
Originally posted by smileyjoseph:
You just have to say something along the lines of, 'I realised recently that I've been quite arrogant in the past, and if I've patronized you I'm really sorry, because you're a great person and I'd like to be your friend.' I know you haven't been arrogant, but apologizing sometimes requires you to be sorry for things you didn't do rather than worsening things by insisting you didn't ever patronize them.

I think apologizing is stretching it, smileyjoseph. I really do. It is not sound in any situation to apologize for something you didn't do, nor have conrol over. We can't control how others take our words; if it is obvious that they were meant as arrogant, than yes, and apology is in order. But you don't apologize for something you clearly did not do, just to smooth things out. It is not the fault of one if another is offended or patronized easily; when one repeatedly noses into another business, they set themselves up for this kind of situation.

If others insist on knowing your grades, they are showing no respect to your privacy. Sarcasm and apologizing may work for you, but keep in mind each person responds to a given situation differently. I understand where you are coming from with that advice, but in this particular situation, it is likely to come off as more arrogant and patronizing than simply making light of the situation.

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Abbie
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Djuna
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Ok, I appreciate that, and normally I wouldn't give this kind of advice. But this is exactly what worked for me in almost exactly the same situation.
I agree it's unreasonable not to respect privacy - but a lot of 15-year-olds will see being private as being unfriendly, as being distant or defensive.
The apologizing thing was a friend's idea, and I was really skeptical, but I was amazed how much happier I was. I didn't see this as apologizing for something I didn't do, because I had patronized people, even if it was by accident. And I noticed a definite upturn in how happy I was after I did this.
Anyway, that's the last thing I'm going to say in defence of what I said - it's all stuff that I know works first-hand. I appreciate that different people have different ways of dealing with this sort of thing. I'm just volunteering mine.
Let me know how things work out, whatever you decide to do ezzabes. [Smile]

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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feefiefofemme
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I usually get very good grades in school. But despite that, I always feel like I could/should/would have done better if only this or if only that. I'm the kind of person who'll get a 101 percent on a test, and then beat myself up for not getting that other extra credit question right. If I get anything below a 95 percent, I see it as doing badly. I don't try to live up to other people's standards, there isn't really anyone in my life who tries to push me to do well and my parents support me no matter what, but I just have very high standards for myself.

I don't believe in comparing my scores to other people (or allowing other people to compare their scores to mine) so whenever anyone asks me my grade on something, I'll usually just respond with an "I did okay." It's a nice, neutral answer, and usually people don't press you for an exact percentage point after you give it to them.

Sometimes, though, I'll be stressing out about whether I did okay on a test, and people will get almost angry at me. Just the other day, a guy in my class snapped at me "damnit, why do you have to be so perfect?" Even my best friends have said things to me like "oh, you're always so perfect, you can't worry about that paper" I find it really hurtful when people say things like that, as if I don't have the right to be concerned about my grades like everyone else. As if I'm somehow subhuman. I have to try really hard in almost every aspect of my life, I'm not one of those people who can get straight As in their sleep. But somehow I feel guilty when people compare themselves to me. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it. It's just... hard.

That all aside, I love learning so much that, even if I don't get the grade I want and feel bad about myself for it, being in a learning environment like school is worth it all. Especially this year, I absolutely love all my classes. My teachers are really excellent, and are great about facilitating in-depth, interactive discussions. I'm having the time of my life.

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Djuna
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Well there's one girl in my class that seemed to take offence for some reason because I was worried about the GCSE exams. Apparently not only did I not have to worry, I had no right to worry. After she'd had a go at me about this a few times, I told her (without once raising my voice, I might add [Smile] ) that I had as much right to worry as her and that I'd had enough of her refusing to recognize that. This seemed for some reason to cause even greater offence. The version she told her friends was that I'd yelled at her for stressing about the exams. In the end I apologized, because I decided she was going to ruin my life over my dead body, and I had very little to do with her afterwards. People like that really aren't worth bothering with.
On a lighter note, I recently got my GCSE results - 7 A*s, 3 As and a C. The joke of the day was that I was a bit annoyed about the C.
(That's a lie actually - my friend's mum asked me how I'd done, and I said I'd done 'okay'. My friend could not stop laughing. [Big Grin]

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ďIn a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I donít know what I am. I donít know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.Ē

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