The Sting of a Poor Grade

Last night I was trying to withhold outrage until the final information was posted online, but I was disheartened to find this morning that my feminist art instructors (there were two for this course) apparently think I only did 78.25% of the job. They finally updated the gradebook and gave me a C+ in the class. Ouch. It was like getting sucker-punched. I tried not to cry at work, but I saw my cumulative GPA (now barely above a 3.5, which was almost a 3.7) and my semester GPA (3.219, not Dean’s List for the first time).

The most insulting part is where they gave me a total of 175 out of 250 possible points for my final paper. Granted, it wasn’t the most stellar of all papers I’ve ever turned in, and I’m not especially proud of it, but that means they thought my paper was only work 70% of the work I could have put into it. And I definitely put more into it than that. I mean, come on. You couldn’t give a friggin’ B-?

Charlie says I should get their copies, look at their notes, and meet with each instructor, pointing out where I think I met the requirements, and arguing why I should get a higher grade. I don’t know if I have the balls, the gumption, the energy, or the desire to do this. If I got really upset, I know I’d end up saying something rude or speaking out of anger, pointing out how it was difficult to come to class and listen to one of them going on and on about her own artwork, the groups she’s created, all the great friends she has in the art world, how important and meaningful her work is . . . Not to mention the fact that she pointed out in class several times that people weren’t citing her in their papers and if we aren’t, well, “something is wrong.”

I don’t think I deserve an A just because I like art and call myself a feminist. But I do feel as if they were rather harsh in their determination of value and I do take offense. This is the second C I’ll receive in my college career, and it seems in both instances I managed to piss off my professors, causing my less-than-stellar grade, and their reluctance to utilize any sort of lenience when doing said grading.

I keep thinking, maybe if I’d stayed longer one day, or hadn’t cut out after the break, or had tried just a little bit harder to make my paper more cohesive . . . well, I would have done better. Maybe neither of them were especially fond of me (my “participation” points were 80 out of 100 — and I participated a lot), and I know bad students have a tendency to blame their teachers when they do poorly, but I really think I just didn’t endear myself enough towards them. Plus, they’re female professors, teaching feminism in a male-dominated profession. It’s sexist to even think it, but are they more hard on the students who are feminists than they would be on the males in the class? Do guys get better grades just for being present in a class that’s 95% women?

I will accept that this is some sort of karma grade, only because Charlie got a letter in the mail from the government about the job he’d applied for just two weeks ago. It said he was qualified for the position and may be getting a call for an interview. At least I know all the time helping him fill out the mounds of paperwork required just to apply for this job (a ridiculous amount) was spent doing something important and productive; I wasn’t just sitting on my ass playing video games in lieu of writing papers.

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One thought on “The Sting of a Poor Grade

  1. misanthropy, I found your site through the automatic links to this post (I’m linked here) and can resonate with what you write here. Currently, I’m in grad school and I’ve struggled with determining the value of a grade, rightfully earned or no. It’s been a lesson that has continually come up until I can walk through it with the knowing that the letter itself is unimportant, whether warranted or not. what did you learn in these courses? How much did you take away? What’s more important? I’m not advocating placidly receiving unjust grades – if you want to fight because you don’t feel they treated you fairly, by all means (and perhaps that is part of your lesson), do so! But no matter who distributes the grades, you are the one who is in the true position to judge what and how much you learned from the course. Best wishes as you continue your college career!

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