By Hannah Rossen
Next week is midterms, when everyone has their eye on the prize: getting a good grade. But what do we do when we get our grades back? If we do badly, we’ll likely want to retreat to our dorm rooms. If we do well on the other hand, we’ll probably want to tell someone. Wait…red flag! Tradition has it that we don’t talk about our grades at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. This isn’t a sanction of the Honor Code; it’s simply a norm. Although most people know not to go grade gabbing, I wanted to investigate how the students felt about it.
In my travels, I’ve collected the opinions of friends, hall-mates, and classmates across the Bi-Co. Diversity of perspective was my rallying cry, but the contributions that I got were all in praise of the current system. From freshmen to seniors, BMC and HC students expressed the relief that they felt at taking grades out of the college social environment. They called it, “a great policy”, “part of the reason I came to Bryn Mawr”, “a great way to stop competition among students”, and “wonderful-it is more respectful…” Many of the people I talked to emphasized the comfort of having themselves as their only competitor, as well as the importance of privacy. While I respect the opinions of other, I cannot agree with them.
To me, not talking about grades is a form of escapism. I would never force somebody to tell me their grade, but walking on eggshells seems overly sensitive. In the real world, people have achievements, and there are always some that do better than others. It may be easier to ignore this, but in the long run, successful people will have to deal with it. When we graduate from college, nobody will care that we didn’t talk about grades here, and we won’t have the skill set to deal with that coworker who gets “our” promotion, or the woman that’s in a great relationship when we’re perpetually single. My view may not be popular, but hey…if we only did what was popular, there wouldn’t be any grades at all.