Good News

Last week, the professor of my grad class was handing back tests. I turned mine over and there at the top of the paper, was written


Imagine my horror and despair when I saw that. I've never gotten a D on a test in my life!

(I did get an F on the final exam in my physical science class in the ninth grade, but I don't count that, since a coach taught that class, and my grade was proportional to the amount of knowledge he imparted to my classmates and me, which is to say, less than 50% of what he was supposed to teach us.)

But then I realized that the D was in reference to my group name (we'd been broken into four groups: A, B, C, D), and over in the top right corner, the professor had written 98/100, which was my actual grade.

Those two points? Well, that was due to my having overthought a matching question, which is why all tests should be comprised of essays, because I don't even have to think about those at all, I just start writing and eventually I pull it around to the correct answer. That is why I was an English major.

Anyway, I checked my grades online today, and there, at the top of the screen, was typed


I stared in shock at the screen, thinking to myself, "It is the rare student INDEED who fails a class so badly that the traditional grading system cannot adequately express her buffoonism," and for one second, I was a little bit proud of myself.

But then I remembered a small fact, one which I'd consistently forgotten as I was killing myself putting together a portfolio and critiquing articles and preparing research projects, and that fact is here: THIS WAS A PASS/FAIL COURSE.

Yes, I ran myself ragged for a class that doesn't even have a real grade. Well. It IS a real grade, but it doesn't tell me much.


I guess it's better than a U--which I HAVE gotten in my life, a conduct grade in my tenth grade biology class (is it any wonder that I have effectively blocked all scientific content from my memory?)--and if I had gotten a U, the school board would have made me pay that $1000 back. What's worse than killing yourself for a pass/fail grade? HAVING TO PAY FOR THE HONOR.

Frankly, I think it could have been, at the very least, an S+.

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