To B or Not To B


B’s are a necessary part of nature–they don’t always sting.

Inside most Latin Upper School students’ heads is a voice saying, “B is for Bad. I cannot get a B.” All of us can probably admit that we have that voice. I, however, have rid this saying from my vocabulary because I no longer deem it true.

Freshman year Honors Physics provided me with a whole bunch of lessons. Many, of course, dealt with the laws of physics, but the most important one taught me that getting a grade other than an A is not a bad thing. Reassessing every week became a regular routine, googling YouTube videos trying to understand a new topic happened frequently, and hard work and dedication never stopped. I worked my butt off and am proud of the B+ I earned.

Despite my being proud, many students see the B+ on their transcript and instantly think negatively. I do not blame them because the social scene at Latin often buzzes with conversations regarding grades. Who knew everyone wanted to know other people’s grades just to make themselves feel superior?

I don’t have the mental capacity for that. And, if you are anything like me, you probably don’t, either.

The classic Latin saying “B is for Bad” always bothers me. I never could, and still can’t, wrap my head around the idea of letting a grade, one single capitalized letter, define you as a person. However, this saying seems to do just that. It sets the standard that if you receive anything other than an A or A-, you are bad at that subject and you are not good enough.

So, let’s talk numbers quickly to get a better sense of how good a B+ is.

The average GPA for a high school student in the U.S. is 3.0, which is a B average. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you compare a B+ (3.3) to a B, you are already above average. Another aspect to consider is the difficulty of the class you are taking. If you take an honors or AP class, the material will be more challenging, and that is why you get a GPA boost with it. That B+ for an honors/AP class would translate to a 3.7 on a 4.0 GPA scale. Not too bad.

However, these statistics are very broad. Latin’s class of 2024 holds an average GPA of 3.64. A B+, regardless of what level of class you are in, is not too far off from this.

If you are not convinced thus far, let me give you some advice.

Let it go. The grade is final for a reason. There is no point in obsessing over something no longer in front of you. If there is nothing you can actively do to change the outcome, save your precious time and mental energy for something more worthwhile. The grade should already be forgotten. Nothing is that serious. This lesson applies to everything in life, not just a capitalized letter. Take what you learned, and move on.

Finally, embrace the incredible power of ignoring someone. I found, especially during my junior year, that a lot of people don’t know how to talk about anything other than school or themselves. So if someone asks you about that capitalized letter, I recommend ignoring them.

And if you are the person who constantly asks people about grades, stop it before everyone hates you. And please, quit making it a competition, because at the end of the day, we all get the same cap and gown, the same diploma, and we all get to walk across the same stage.

You don’t have to take the advice I just gave you, but do trust me on the B+.