Cover Up These Perfect Grades? I’d Rather Catch Corona

Cover Up These Perfect Grades? I’d Rather Catch Corona 
(or)
Your Rich Friend Has a Hot Take on Mandatory P/F

By Isabel O’Brien


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To begin, I just want to assure you all—I’m not privileged. I’m just hiding out from the coronavirus in my mid-sized ski châtelet like the rest of you. I even have a friend who is FGLI, and we vibe hard (I laugh at all of his jokes about student loans and pretend to relate). 

Listen. I know there’s a global pandemic on. I know we’re all stir-crazy, in quarantine, moving across countries and continents into unsure (and potentially dangerous) situations. Some of us may be facing a potential reality in which our dearest friends and family could get sick, die, and we would have to face the never-ending, life-changing dark abyss that is grief. And that’s kinda sad. But stop thinking about other people for just one second. Think about me. Me and my grades.

And your grades. I assume you take classes, too, right? (I mean, probably. I’ve never really thought about it before.) If I can’t raise my GPA by a tenth of a percentage point, I’ll never get a job. I’ll end up homeless and destitute, and I heard that’s no fun. (But it can’t be that bad. FGLI students regularly outperform rich kids all the time!) Thus, I implore you, my fellow Americans: What about grad school? And fellowships? And menial, unpaid internships? And what will my mom hang up on the fridge? A report card full of Ps? Puh-lease!

In all seriousness, while the P/F system claims to help FGLI students and the like (who, might I add, already get financial help from the “university” and the “government” and not from their “trust fund”), it won’t help everybody. In fact, it’ll hurt me. And I’m the most important person.

I believe that the only path to success is one in which we all get what we want: me, I’ll get to show off my 4.0 from the comfort of the den of my parents’ fourth vacation home. Everyone else. . . can pass. And, I assure you, those people will not be stigmatized for their decision to not pull themselves up by their bootstraps and thrive in a global crisis like me. 

And this, too: What do you think employers will think when they compare your dirty, P-stained Columbia transcript to one from a student at the prestigious University of Massachusetts-Amherst, who was permitted to uncover all of their A’s and B’s? You’ll be toast, son. Bona fide, Ivy League toast. 

The P/F will also invalidate all the hard work you put in for the first half of the semester! I know that between frat parties and trips to see my grandpapa in the East Seventies, I too hit the books. Maybe I complained about it incessantly. But the idea of having all of that hard work washed away with a simple “Pass?” The mere notion is so distressing to me that I think I’ll never be able to attend class or do schoolwork again. How dare the P/F besmirch my sacred, god-given semester? 

Nobody is doubting the severity of the situation, even if I was posting memes about how stupid the corona panic was up until yesterday. But hear me out. If Columbia doesn’t let us uncover our grades, that’s, like, a transgression on my human rights. It could kill me. It is pretty much the worst thing that has EVER happened to me. So, the good people at change.org have drawn up a petition for me for the price of one human soul. Would you sign it? Pretty please? With organic Whole Foods cane sugar on top?