The First and the Last of Report Cards

Sophie Lancaster

October is, without a doubt, the best month to be in Chicago. The leaves are yellowing, the temperature is cooling, and people everywhere start to sport their knee high boots and oversized sweaters. Naturally, at this time, there is a tendency for everyone to drink their pumpkin spice lattes and spend some quality time with their TV. For you, this may have even been the case, and if so, how I envy you.


If you happen to be a senior, or living with one—which I could argue is just as bad—October hasn’t been all pumpkins and chai. This month marked the release of quarter one grades, and contrary to the temperature, school is just heating up. For seniors, these grades would be some of the last ever received in their high school careers. Bittersweet? Maybe, but for many, I think it is a relief.  As my sister, Victoria, was studying for various tests in a single week, completing extra credit projects, and filling out her applications, I managed to stress over a single Spanish assessment.  My head started to spin thinking about logging onto RomanNet in a week and seeing a new addition to the progress section. For my sister, this was no big deal, as it was one of many and she knew exactly what to expect. I, on the other hand, began to assume that the sinister teachers of the high school would potentially warp my grades into something unexpected and shocking.


The week that followed, marking the start of the second quarter, taunted me with thoughts of my last global cities test and that one unfinished geometry assignment that would come back to haunt me Friday night at 6 PM. Whenever my sister would ask me to read one of her many college essay drafts, I would scoff and say, “I don’t have time!” I would then continue hastily working on my Greek roundel for visual arts, as my sister began to embark on yet another college supplement. The hours between 3:30 and 6 on that Friday the 25th were painstakingly long.


As soon as my phone alarm rang out marking 6 PM, you could bet that I was on RomanNet analyzing every comment and grade given to me by my teachers. My sister then came over and said, “Nice, after this, you only have fifteen more report cards!” This comment hit me hard. How could I forget? I am only a freshman and this was only the first quarter. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have stressed over my first high school report card. After all, I knew exactly what it would look like, yet I still managed to make my week as stressful as my ACT-taking, test-studying, and applying-to-college sister. In the future, I hope to remember that they are just quarter grades, and that no matter how hard my school work seems, some senior out there is juggling a lot more. So to you seniors, congrats on your thirteenth report card, and for us freshman, keep in mind we have fifteen to go.