OPINION: “Pain is temporary. GPA is forever.”
With finals approaching, green fliers with messages such as “Ready. Set. Finals!” have appeared in the freshman hallways at South. While these messages seem mostly positive, there is one flier that sends a much different message. Though most of them have now been removed, many still read: “Pain is temporary. GPA is forever.”
Whether this message was intended to be funny or motivational is unknown, however it calls into question a serious topic: are freshman and other students being pushed too hard, and how temporary is pain?
The phrase “pain is temporary” is common amongst teens and adults. Whether its in relation to sports, grades, competitions, or any other types of high-pressure situations, it is often used as an excuse to encourage overly hard work from those that it is targeting.
In an American Psychological Association Survey conducted in 2014, it was found that teens experienced levels of stress that far surpassed those of adults. The survey found that 31 percent of its participants felt overwhelmed as a result of their stress, while 30 percent also reported feeling depressed or sad as a result. It was also found that some teens suffered from severe fatigue and would at times skip meals due to stress. Increased pressure due to exams or other activities could have this effect on teens, especially if they push themselves too hard studying or performing other preparations for upcoming activities. While some of the “pain” mentioned in this survey could be considered “temporary”, the lasting effects it could potentially have on the mental and physical health of students is a cause for concern.
The phrase “pain is temporary” also implies that there is something to be gained permanently by enduring it, such as winning a competition, or in this case, receiving a high GPA. But in the end, is the pressure of success really worth the possibly damaging effects of this pain? And is the final gain of the process really important? A student can put all their effort into studying for an exam to the point of exhaustion. They may or may not do well on their test, but by making passing the test their priority, one can wonder if the student actually learned anything. The same could be applied to a student in sports. If a student’s main focus is on winning a game rather than bonding with their teammates or learning how to perform well, they could potentially miss out on learning valuable life lessons that would last far longer than a single victory ever could.
On Tuesday, freshman will walk into their first period class to take their first final of their high school career. The attitude that they take with them going into that exam could very well determine how they view tests or exams for much of their high school experience. Putting such an intense pressure to succeed on students trying to prepare themselves for life after school may not be the most effective way for them to learn. Instead of insisting that they must suffer through the “pain” of intense studying to pass an exam, encouraging them to focus on things they have found interesting or thought-provoking whilst being taught lessons in class may make a more lasting impression. And while yes, GPA may be “forever”, but it still does not define a person. Going to college is still possible with a sub-par GPA, as is getting a job, developing relationships or simply being a good person. A GPA score, whether it is low or high, does not determine a person’s value.