There is no such thing as a perfect grading system (though we think a "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" system would be fun). Most students receive number grades or letter grades. We know that each school district has a different definition for a passing grade and failing grade, but today we'd like to focus on the middle score. The so-called "average" score. The C.
The C is a strange, abstract, anomaly. It can ruin your entire semester or help you pass a particularly difficult class. To some, a C means less-than-average. To others, it means more-than-failing, or just-as-good-as-an-A. Which type of C student are you?
The Angry Whirlwind
When a C ruins an otherwise stellar grade point average, you're not happy. At first, you see it as an error. Something must have gone wrong at the grading lab. There's no way you could have received a C! And then reality sinks in, probably after a heated chat with the teacher, and the grade stands as is.
After this, depression hits, and hits hard, followed by another round of denial, and finally acceptance, which is followed by more depression, and then some denial, and more depression, and a few moments of hysterical laughter, more denial, eight minutes of depression, a few moments of breath holding, and then acceptance again.
Our advice: You can't cry over spilled milk. (Your tears will only make the milk spread.) What happened, happened. Take some comfort in knowing that your grade is still average. You didn't fail. You didn't even get a D. It could have been worse. Look at your mistakes, figure out what went wrong, and move on. Besides, there are more important things to be crying about, such as paper cuts and that eerie knocking sound coming from the crawl space.
Sometimes, a C is a welcomed surprise. You're trying hard to get through a difficult class, and despite studying and preparing, you went home after the exam thinking you failed again. But when the C arrives, and you learn that you actually passed, it's a boost to your confidence. While your test might not be waved around at the dinner table, or taped to the fridge, deep down, you're proud of the grade.
Our advice: Don't get cocky. Think of this as riding a bike up a steep hill. If you keep working hard, you will eventually get a B. But if you stop working, and assume that you can blow off studying and still get a passing grade, you'll slip past C territory, all the way to the bottom of the grade hill, where snakes, spiders, and evil, riddle-telling goats dwell. You don't want to go there. Trust us.
The C Student (C is for Coasting)
You're not surprised to get a C. In fact, you expect it. You know exactly how much work is needed to receive a passing grade, and that is all you are willing to do. You have a laid-back attitude towards education, and are simply going through the motions. Your philosophy is: Why work as hard as the A student, when we'll both be wearing a cap and gown come graduation day?
Our advice: You're a fool. What if Superman didn't live up to his potential, and instead went to work at the Daily Planet, never once using his super powers? Sure, he'd have a nice life as a mild-mannered reporter. But the dude would never know that he could fly, because he was too lazy to try. He might need to put some work into it, make a flamboyant costume, learn not to swallow bugs in mid-flight, but eventually he would be flying all over the damn place. That could be you! You could be superman! We’re not suggesting that you try to defy gravity by jumping and flapping your arms (though we'd be lying if we said we didn't give it a go once…or a dozen times). But with a little, tiny, itty-bitty amount of work, you might be shocked to learn that you are a genius…or maybe even a super genius!
Do you think Cs are evil, or just fine, thank you?