The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Breaking News
  • Issue 7 Out Now!

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

GPA: Grueling Pandemic Academics

Some+students+continue+to+pressure+themselves+to+be+their+pre-pandemic+best.+However%2C+the+various+stages+of+lockdown+this+school+year+heavily+impacted+students%E2%80%99+social+interactions+and+mental+health.+Photo+courtesy+of+Natalie+Aversano.
Some students continue to pressure themselves to be their pre-pandemic best. However, the various stages of lockdown this school year heavily impacted students’ social interactions and mental health. Photo courtesy of Natalie Aversano.

Don’t beat yourself up over your COVID grades

I don’t know about you all, but I’m tired of Instagram textposts telling me that if I haven’t been productive enough over quarantine, then I must just be lazy, not busy. I don’t know what kind of neurotypical propaganda this is, but I know that most people I know have been through a lot of mental turbulence since last March.

To me, “productivity” is a strange term. What defines being productive? Some people wrote a novel last summer. I got significantly better at League of Legends. Some people baked a whole collection of desserts. Others may or may not have left the house every week (heck, maybe you barely left your bedroom; I’m not judging.)

Then, sometime in August, school showed back up saying, “hey, I’m back! Hope you’re not depressed or something,” and a lot of us were depressed or something. Many professors expected a similar or the same work ethic as any other semester,because if a middle-aged professor can go home to their loving spouse, adorable kids and sanctuary-esque home and be happy, then an angsty 20-year-old student crying between bowls of ramen and naps in a dorm room can, too.

Story continues below advertisement

Now, here’s the part I don’t get: instead of giving themselves the self-love and gratuitous pats on the back they deserve, many students decided they had to be Mr. or Ms. College and absolutely nail both semesters this year. A lot of them seemed to hold themselves to pre-pandemic standards, and some took those toxic Instagram posts to heart and expected even more of themselves.

At first, I, too, wanted to be Ms. College. I entered sophomore year expecting to blow my parents away with a 4.0 in the fall semester for the sole reason that I wasn’t a freshman anymore and I definitely had my shit together. I thought, “this time I can get on the dean’s list without changing my C+ in history to a credit/no credit.”

Then I got a C+ in sociology, and this time I couldn’t game the system, so I started comfort eating, debated trying a healthier diet, then remembered the pesto pizza that Ms. Cathy made that changed my life and said “eh, another slice won’t kill me.”

From the outside, my fall semester looked a bit like a train wreck in everything from my grades to my diet to the social life I sort of had but not really. I was pretty mad at the fact that I tried so hard to be the academic star I wanted to be, and I just couldn’t do it. I became totally worried that my professors thought I was a slacker, even if I had an A in their class,because I thought I just had the slacker vibe.

It took a while, but about halfway through spring semester, I sat down and looked at the four papers I had due within a week and said, “you know what? I’m busting my ass right now trying to be successful. I should be proud of myself no matter what goes in the gradebook,” and that’s what I told people. I told people that even if I sink below an A, I’ll still be happy with myself.

Would you believe that some folks did not like hearing that? Some people had the audacity to tell me I should have higher standards or they’d do the insult cop-out, where they’d say something like, “oh, I’m glad you have that confidence, but I could never do that myself.” I’d say that at the end of the day, I’ll still be graduating with a Wofford degree and getting a job writing cool stuff about politics or social justice or something.

I was really angry at first with those people; it felt like I was getting spat on as they made a grand, arrogant exit. Then I thought about it a little while longer, and I wondered how insecure they had to be about their own grades to act so much better than I. I wondered if they worried that if students with a GPA below theirs were still confident in their abilities, they’d run out of things to feel proud of themselves for.

The funny thing is, there’s way more than grades to be proud of. There are more talents out there than can be counted! In addition, talents aside, there are people who try their hardest. There are people who try their best at a sport, try their best to produce meaningful art or try their hardest to make people smile. There are also people at a low point in the pandemic who try their hardest to feel good again.

In the end, a key part of being in college is being terrified of rejection and failure and acting like you know exactly what you’re doing. It was only a few years ago that most of us were scared kids getting shoved against a locker in our crowded high school hallways (or perhaps doing the shoving, but I’m sure you’ve all changed for the better.)  It wasn’t long ago that we revered the popular kids for being so well-liked or the unpopular kids for staying out of drama (neither of those things were always true, though.)

It wasn’t long ago that I was the kid that teachers skipped over when checking homework because I rarely did it anyway. It wasn’t long ago that I was an angry 18-year-old who desperately wanted to get out of that hellhole where my “friends” made fun of my grades, weight, dating life, etc.

Yet, after arriving at Wofford, I finally began to feel like people here wanted to see me succeed. I felt like I could join clubs and organizations where no one knew me and feel super welcome pretty quickly—shout-out to the Old Gold & Black staff. I felt like I deserved to be proud of the things I do, because at least I’m doing them.That’s why, during this pandemic—or, panoramic, as some may say, we should all be proud of just doing. Perhaps that’s doing an assignment, talking with a friend, spending time with a significant other or getting out of bed and making it through the day. We’re all still here and trying to make it to graduation, so let’s sit back, enjoy April Interim, and say “good riddance” to the 2020-2021 school year.

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal