Sting Like a B: Will One B Really Ruin Your Life?


With the start of finals week nearing, students begin to fear the outcome of their final grades. Fears of B’s have wreaked havoc on students minds for years, but will getting a B cause the consequences so many fear?

Every time finals season rolls around the stress it brings seems to cloud the air weeks in advance. Even as early as the first week back from spring break, mentions of ‘this will be on the final’ or ‘you should start reviewing now’ start to pop up. This isn’t some controversial and unjustified change though, it makes sense that students should begin to prepare early. But the way in which students are being informed and guided has led them down paths that seem to make scores sink lower and lower, and stress climb sky high.

It’s impossible in this day and age to not feel pressure to be ready for the future. In high schoolers’ case that future is a ‘good college’ and striving for acceptance to said college. The world starts to revolve around extracurriculars, sports, and honor societies, all in the name of standing out on applications. There is something missing from this list though-it is grades.

Having good grades, above a 4.0, is no longer a factor that helps students stick out: it is a requirement for even being considered. Having a 4.0 is like having the required table stakes to play in a poker game. Sure, it gets you a seat at the table, being considered by colleges, but in no way does it guarantee you winning the game.

Born out of this pressure is the need to get all A’s. It may never be explicitly stated, but ending a semester with a B is something that many fear for this reason.

In a survey, 63.6 percent of students here at CCHS recall being told that a B could lead to drastic consequences in their futures. It sounds insane, one B ruining a student’s life? That grade could be for a myriad of reasons, a bad teacher, extended absences, personal issues, it’s an outlier in a student’s overall grades, not the norm.

“I feel like it makes us very paranoid, they feel that one B will make them worthless and that their entire life is in the hands of these four years”, says an anonymous CCHS student in a survey.

Additionally, this pressure for a high GPA leads to increased amounts of students taking honors and AP classes. Putting further pressure on students as the curriculum is more rigorous and their finals hold more weight.

In these more difficult classes, it usually comes down to the final to decide what letter grade a student will get. That means prolonged pressure as they get closer to said final, while juggling many other classes.

This stress is not new, and in some ways it is justified, but the pressure to only get A’s is hurting students more than helping.

An anonymous student describes how their Chemistry final put them under a lot of stress, “It caused me to stay up extremely late and feel extremely burnt out after my final was done. I ended up getting a 98 but the stress that it put me through was not healthy.

As far-fetched as this idea sounds, it almost seems like it could be true that a single B would ruin college applications-but is it?

In reality, it does not. If a student takes honors classes and receives a B, they could still maintain their 4.0, and if a student who does not take honors classes receives one, their GPA will only be a 3.96. This to many must be an extreme relief, but if this fear was unfounded the whole time then what was the point of the pressure?

It is important to strive for the best grades you can get, but when that motivation is inspired by fear it is a waste.

“No teenager should be forced to get over a 4.0 while also maintaining a social life and doing volunteer work to help their community and doing sports all at the same time” says a CCHS student. Despite the extreme demands of college applications, students shouldn’t have to reach every one of these extreme expectations. Maybe someday they will not have to when the college crisis cools down.

But for now, students should rest easy knowing that even if that final in the hard class does not go well and they receive a B-it won’t destroy their life.