September 03, 2019

As much as I hate admitting that high school had any significant effects on me, I can't deny that taking IB—a torturous two-year course meant to "prepare" us for college—did make classes easier. I already took higher level Physics and Math, and so introductory science classes like Chemistry or Mechanics were more an inconvenience than an actual problem. And the papers I've written for college weren't so different than the multitude of essays I was made to write in IB.

A problem I have is that I'm both overconfident and unconfident. Sometimes, things are just so easy for me that I'm worried I'll mess up because I think it's too easy. For the most part, my arrogance hasn't failed me so much—things usually did end up being that easy. But there is one course I admit to underestimating: Microeconomics. I took IB Econ (which I didn't enjoy), and I thought it wouldn't be so bad. I can't say I wasn't warned, because I was — by multiple people. And so after this semester, I can say with full confidence that I do not and will never like Economics. The professor was great, though, and I genuinely learned a lot—having an understanding of basic Economic principles is useful in life (but never ever ever again).

Another part of what got me through the year is I no longer care about what's unimportant to me. Chemistry is unimportant, Excel is unimportant, Matlab is unimportant. It's not that I don't put effort into these classes, but I gain so little value from them that it's not worth losing sleep over it. I'm not even hating on my core requirements—I loved my Theology and Art History classes—but some classes are just either so easy or so useless, It's almost a waste of time. I acknowledge that what may seem unimportant might actually be valuable, but I've had the entirety of Grade School and High School to determine what is and isn't valuable to me. Time and effort are limited, I'm going to spend my time in college learning about what I love and what will benefit me in the future—not titrations.

I also don't particularly care about having good grades. To me, they're just an indicator of performance and improvement. I'd much rather struggle in a class I found deeply interesting and get a B than to be bored in a comically trivial course and get an A. Which is basically what I did. I decided to take a Calculus course intended for Math majors instead of the course for engineers. And oh, how I struggled! Hours of homework, sleepless nights, so many B's. I'm not particularly good at it, I just enjoy it. My single passion has always been Computer Science, but math will always be in the background <3.

I don't envy those who need to do well in class because they want to go to Grad School or Medical School, or more importantly because they need merit scholarships. It is a privilege for me to be able to say "I don't care about my grades", and to have had enough prior education and opportunities to do decently in class with little to no effort, and most of all to be able to study what I want to study because it just so happened to work out that what I love is in high demand in the job market. College is meant to be a place for learning and inspiration, not for churning out essays or memorizing equations and formulas just to not be homeless and racked with debt in the future. But for many, the reality is almost never the ideal.


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