First Quarter Grades: Are They Really That Important?

The clock strikes four, the time that report cards are rumored to be released, and you anxiously log on to Romannet in anticipation. When you discover that there is nothing under the progress section, you are slightly frustrated but mainly relieved that you have a couple more minutes to prepare yourself. The next few minutes you spend repeatedly clicking the refresh button until a new addition appears. Finally, your heart drops as you see the “US Q1 2014-15” appear on the screen. With one eye shut and one eye half open, you click on it, under the impression that whatever is on the inside will dictate the rest of your life.

While this narrative is definitely to the extreme, many of us Latin students had a similar experience last Friday when our first quarter grades were released. But, is one report card really worth all this panic?

When I asked some of my fellow classmates how nervous about their report cards they were, only a small minority shrugged and answered not at all. One student argued, “The first quarter is actually the most important.” Another sophomore chimed in saying, “Every single quarter counts.” After the entire sophomore lounge went on a 5-minute rant about the consequences of one measly missed assignment or one below-average test score on an impossibly difficult test, it was apparent that first quarter grades cause a lot of stress for the vast majority of students.

Now, the question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not the pressure we put on ourselves to have a pristine first quarter report card is necessary.

When asked to elaborate, the first student clarified, “You want to make a good first impression on your teacher during the first quarter.” While this student does have a point, there are also other ways, besides getting a good grade, to win your teacher over.

The second student went on to say, “I care about getting good grades because of colleges.” After explaining to this student, who asked to remain anonymous, that colleges only see the final grade, their argument began to fall apart. At the end of the conversation the student admitted that maybe he shouldn’t be as stressed out as he initially thought.

So, do we have any true reason to be so worried about our first quarter report cards? After discussing it with my peers and with some of my teachers, the general consensus is no; first quarter grades are just a check-in, a way for us to know how we are doing so far.

While it is important that we put in our best efforts in everything we do, it is not the end of the world if one bad math test results in an unsatisfying first quarter grade. After all, we do have three more quarters to turn a lousy first report card into a mere bump along the road of a successful year.