Death to the “A” Student

Don’t you just HATE people OBSESSED with grades and ONLY grades?! 

Those self proclaimed geniuses must be peed upon and dragged through a pool of poo before being ignited and burnt to death. Yes, I am talking about them treacherous, imbecilic excuses of human beings who claim they have the God-given right to dominate the class through their “intellect” and memorization abilities.

And, typically in this part of the world, they’re the Hijabi girls with attitude problems. You typically see them boasting on how much they pray on time, how everything should be prim and orderly and proper, and how dedicated they are to their studies and predestined schedules.

Admittedly, there could be found some admiration in their determination to be achievers. If only they could drop the self centered attitude, and their obsession with grades.

There is one in my class, and, for better or worse, I am with her in a group project. The course is on management (like pretty much else in this degree), and therefore I am exercising my managerial skills in utilizing her OCD and grade obsession by giving her the green light on handling the “tough jobs” – because, according to her, she “doesn’t want to be blamed for the other potentially sloppy parts”. Apparently her sense of team work has eloped with her understanding of achievement and fled to someone else. With two more people in the project, my role typically transforms to the Negotiating Diplomat.

Now here is an example that truly pissed me off. After a midterm – which of course she had been preparing for for two weeks (while I on the other hand found out about the exam a week prior) – she came up to me to ask about how well I did. I told her I did the best I could do given the amount of material I had to cover in a week. She discussed all the questions with me – 3/4th of which were numerical – and her grin widened with every incorrect answer I gave.


The next week, when the grades were out, she was appalled that we both took the same grade. She told me explicitly that it is illogical and unfair that she should study more than I did, get all answers correct, and we both end up with the same grade. I sympathized with her, myself wondering the same, though I knew the case study questions had something to do with it. She was so upset about it she kept reminding me of her disbelief at 10 minute intervals.

For the record, I was given a good grade because as I was solving I knew the numbers I was giving were incorrect and have explicitly stated how the trends should be, and noted some error in the calculation somewhere (through question marks and sad faces, of course). So the professor knew, at least, I understood the material.

Just yesterday I was telling her that we are putting too much effort researching on supply chain management (we read over 30 papers), especially that people do their PhD on the wide-open subject while we were doing a mere introduction to it. She simply answered “no we put the right effort, we will get FULL MARKS” shortly followed by “inshalla”, in case she ends up jinxing herself.

Now I understand grades are important, if you’re factoring in scholarships, future admissions to universities as well as the “excitement” in being called a “Cum Laude” (what were they smoking!). But there’s more to passing courses than grades – namely understanding the material, interpersonal relationships as well as appreciating other human beings on the same boat.