The Demise of the 4.0

I got my first B.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to process the fact that I am no longer a straight A student, but there it was in all its electronic glory when I checked my final  grade on the Sage website.  My hopes for a 4.0 have been dashed by a Java programming class.

There is a bit of a battle going on inside of me about this.  My rational and pragmatic self is reminding me how tough the class was and how many hours I put into the assignments and reading; I never missed a class, took copious notes and probably drove my instructor nuts with questions.  Surely I deserved an A for effort if nothing else.

My irrational perfectionist self feels like a loser who only got a B because the instructor felt bad about giving me a C, and I should be damned grateful for a B because I stink at programming.  This is the same self who wonders if all the programmer jokes I have made over the years have come back to bite me like some sort of weird kharmic debt, and who questions the sanity of going  to college at the ancient age of 47.

I was feeling really twisted up by all of this inner turmoil and shared my B with a couple of friends using my best sad face.  To my surprise, most people’s reactions were along the lines of  “so what?”.  The overwhelming majority said they would have been thrilled to get a B, and that I should relax; clearly I was making way too much out of this.  A colleague of mine who is now a doctoral candidate even told me he was lucky to get C’s as an undergrad!

After living with the idea of no longer being an A student I have decided that I might as well come to terms with it and learn to embrace my B Student status; it’s difficult, but I realized that the emotional overhead just isn’t worth it.  At the end of the day the journey counts a whole lot more than the destination.


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