Throughout all my years in school, competition is rampant among students. It’s not always against other students, but often times it is. The reality is that students are always trying to get amazing grades, and this can be made worse in systems like CÉGEP where the grades of your peers are taken into account to give you your “global” grade. This is a problem, because it encourages you to be good in school while simultaneously hoping that your peers don’t do as well. I won’t lie: I’ve thought and said this before, because it is the way that you can get your best grade. Unfortunately, it’s also a terrible way to encourage learning among students.

Additionally, I am always troubled by my disappointment when it comes to tests or assignments. Truth be told, if I don’t get a hundred on a test or assignment, I am usually disappointed. I can get good grades, but I still won’t be happy with them. And this is a shame, because it introduces stress into a situation that should not be filled with stress.

In my mind, I yearn for a day where I can just enjoy learning and practicing my craft. When I run, I don’t even try to make every day an amazing day. Yet, this is precisely what happens with tests and assignments. Everything needs to be done perfectly, and anything else is unsatisfactory.

I don’t know how I’m going to resolve this, but it is an issue I actively reflect on. Becoming a great scientist or mathematician or teacher or anything else does not require one to be amazing at every single moment in his or her life. Instead, it requires dedication to the craft, and a willingness to work through the difficult days. That’s what I want to do.

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