Victoria Vacarezza, Biology major, class of 2015
I was the kid in elementary school who didn’t get to go to the honor roll assemblies my sister attended every semester, but was only there by association. That is, until I received help from a tutor and the assemblies became the norm. Up until high school, I believed that my good grades and achievements were due to the hard work I put in, which in return made me “smarter.” But here at Northwestern, with all the intelligent people roaming around, I started to believe that people were just born smart.
There are so many people here who just “get” it — which, in a competitive environment, only adds stress and ultimately has detrimental effects on schoolwork. It doesn’t help that professors don’t always nurture or encourage effort (especially in classes where exams are multiple choice questions with no partial-credit opportunities).
Sometimes it seems better to get an A in a class than to have actually learned anything. I met a student who came to Northwestern as a pre-med and found it challenging to complete her requirements for medical school, because she felt a lack of encouragement and excitement. She would take exams in which her ability to memorize facts and mechanisms was tested by multiple choice questions, while attempting the problem was negligible to her grade. She eventually transferred to a different school within Northwestern and set about a different path in which she felt her effort was praised and rewarded.
I understand STEM courses and careers are difficult — with good reason — and should challenge the student. However, they should not seek to remove those who don’t just “get” it.
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