Your Best Worst Grade

Today I realize how thankful I am that I earned a C+ in a Psycho-biology class at the University of Virginia in 1993.

I wanted to be a doctor so badly. I cried. I thought Someone had made a huge Cosmic Error. I was supposed to be a doctor.

All the grades in any science class–or math for that matter–told me otherwise. Even the most Liberal Arts friendly Physics class called, “How Things Work,” challenged me.

I found myself reading more poems than proofs, more stories than science. That C+ was a beacon of light directing me away from one career towards another.

(Besides, my very cute English professor, who gave me A+’s on every assignment, made me think that maybe the English major could be a better path.)

As I post grades and answer emails from disappointed students who really wanted that A so badly, I remember that grades can work as signposts that lead you on in the right direction.

I might have just assigned you your best worst grade.

Do you have a best worst grade?

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  1. Oh, yes. I didn't have to work hard in high school and somehow ended up being admitted to UNC. My freshman year was a slap in the face as I received (earned?) one F and two D's. Whoops. It was a rude awakening to me that I needed to work hard and should probably not pursue my Pharmacy major. After re-taking Chemistry and adding several Biology and Physics classes to my transcript, I changed majors to Psychology and enjoyed every class for the rest of college!

  2. This is such a wonderful perspective on this touchy subject for teachers and students.

    I earned a D in the easiest class in the university – Econ 101. There were legends about what a breeze this class was: copy notes like crazy, which was easy to do b/c professor's lectures were so organized and distilled; memorize notes. Me? I had to analyze, and try to understand, and make some kind of synthesis about cleverly title terms like “prime rate” and “gross national product.” I was sure I was missing something b/c the concepts seemed so insultingly commonsensical. I had no ambitions in economics, but I wanted the easy A like everyone else.