How Little I’ve Learned

by Liam Trump

I remember when I was in middle school and I was first introduced to the idea that all of the work I would be doing during my time in school would be contributing to a final grade, a letter that would represent the weeks of hard work I would put into each semester. The idea of getting the highest grades took me by storm, and by the time I reached high school, I was almost geared solely on the notion that grades were the key to getting into a ‘good’ college and setting my life on the path for success.

During my sophomore and junior years, I strived to take the hardest classes, participate in the most extracurriculars, and score the highest on my tests. And when college admission season rolled around and months later I received my acceptance letter to the University of Maryland, everything finally felt worth it.

But as the weeks have gone by and that initial sense of euphoria I got when opening my acceptance email has all but ceased, I truly have begun to wonder if maybe I missed out on things because I was so focused on the potential payoffs. In so many of my classes, I put all my efforts into achieving the highest marks because it’s what it takes to go to college. However, the amount of material I would gloss over and completely forget shortly after any given test or quiz left me wishing I could almost redo these courses but without my focus laying solely on a letter at the end.

Going forward with my education, I hope to break out of this cycle and start actually immersing myself in the material instead of cramming as much information in my head the night before a test and hoping it all sticks. If there is anything I’ve learned from my final year at Sherwood, it’s that constantly measuring yourself, whether it be to meet your own standards or the standards of others, will always leave you feeling dissatisfied if the only thing you’re focused on at the end of it is just a letter.