The Malice Found Within Individuals During Report Card Season


When report cards were released classmates  become competitors, and the only things that mattered in that moment were the numbers on a page. Report cards instead of being treated as reflections of the time and energy one is putting into their education, though frequently inaccurate, they became a symbol of one’s true self, worn like a scarlet letter. They should be numbers that allow for a moment of much needed introspection and self improvement;however, this simply isn’t so. Report cards have become a set of numbers that bid children against each other to determine who is not only the best, but to also determine their self worth. Keeping in mind that many of these children are already struggling with issues of self worth adding the burden of a percentage also telling them that they are not good enough is saddening. Now I for one am someone who believes someone’s value to this earth is simply not determined by their ability to solve algebra problems. Their worth to those who love them isn’t fated by whether or not they can construct a sentence to an all too subjective standard of excellence. One’s self worth and intelligence need to be separate for the benefit of one’s mental health. Aiming to do one’s best in everything is what should bring about a sense of pride not being the best  in a temporarily relevant contest.

On the other hand, individuals should be allowed to celebrate the outcome of their hard work without being guilted by their, at times, unwanted audience. When people insist on labeling others with tags such as “smart” or “not innately an idiot but clearly incapable of anything more than what they are currently achieving for that is simply ridiculous,” and everything in between, the one’s who have been labelled feel as if they must live up to this title forcefully bestowed upon them. There is all too much pressure put on someone to consistently be smart as that means they can never make mistakes or be happy with something below someone else’s standard of excellence. While there is far too little pressure on someone who has been given a label that implies they’re incapable of achieving greatness! What reason do they have to believe in themselves when everyone else has given up on them? I believe that if someone is seeing improvement in themselves they should be most certainly be happy, their label should not be the thing that defines whether or not their mark is good or not. Moreover, the idea of good is different for each person if someone is not close enough to know what your personal standard of excellence is they have zero right, in my mind, to tell you how you are doing in school.

Finally, I am appalled the magnitude of individuals who assume that I, or any other unsuspecting victim, would like to share my marks with them. Not only is this rude and done in total disregard of my privacy, but then they are put themselves in a situation in which they have to pretend to be happy for me if they didn’t do as well because their violation was done in hopes of comparison. Or worse off, they stare as if they were a child waiting for me to ask how they did so they can gloat about their non existent victory over me! People who are doing this in hopes of keeping me accountable I can appreciate because from time to time I most definitely could use the encouragement. That being said, when it is done to compete I think it is so unnecessary and just make things unbearably awkward. There is no mutual support or any form of encouragement, it is done to allow each of us to be placed on a scale of numbers that rank our value. The people at the bottom of this scale are few and far between; for example, one of types of people at the bottom of the scale that I have had the pleasure of dealing with is determined to place themselves on the scale to receive sympathy from me, they are left disappointed when they receive apathy instead. At times I have allowed myself to feel poorly for them but in all honesty all that does is enable self-pity. They talk about how they want to do better, achieve more; however, when the time comes to work harder they do nothing! They’re left disappointed in themselves once again, and so the cycle continues. On the opposite side of the scale, there are the people at the top of the scale who are also a very diverse group of individuals. One of the types of people who is at the top of the scale is motivated to stay there simply to continue to think they’re better than the ones below them, which is not so. These type of people who are at the top of the scale thrive off of comparison to belittle people for their own momentary satisfaction. Sadly, I can say that I have been in both of these roles and can honestly say neither ever bring about any satisfaction or increase in self worth that lasts for more than a moment. Of course, this is simply an observation of two types of people on the scale, there are many people who are on either end of the scale and are quite tolerable to be around; in fact, some are even quite pleasant.

All in all I don’t believe that report cards need to be abolished or what have you because they do give wonderful insight into how well an individual is doing in their own eyes and where they need to seek further improvement. What I would like to see changed is simply have a tiny phrase printed at the bottom, “You are not a number.”



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6 thoughts on “The Malice Found Within Individuals During Report Card Season

  1. Dear Ibukun,

    Firstly can I just say:


    Even from just looking at the tags, I knew I would love this post. I can absolutely relate to every single word, not just that, but you have changed my entire perception on report cards. There was always a nagging thought on the back of my mind about how WRONG it is to determine ones self worth because of a number, little did I know, this is a actual problem that should be, but isn’t truly addressed. For goodness sake, there is so much pressure on getting a good grade – a good grade means getting into a good university, getting a good job (make it rain), making your parents happy, etc… Without those three things, an individual in society is deemed to be worthless and a disgrace. Like you’ve addressed, “one’s self worth and intelligence need to be separate for the benefit of one’s mental health.”

    UGH – at this point, I am seriously speechless at the amount of truth your words hold. The sentences were so carefully pieced together, they lured me onto the next. When I had, all of a sudden, reached the end, I kid you not, I was left staring at my computer screen with a open mouth for a solid five minutes. There are no words left for me to express how much I can relate to your thoughts, and how wonderfully composed this post is. By the way, it’s magnificent how you can form your rants into proper sense, whereas my rants are just a big brain dump. We are suppose to provide constructive criticism on a area to improve on, but honestly, I love your piece the way it is.

    A fellow classmate that has been yelling “preach” at her computer,


    1. Dear Judy,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment, I am overjoyed that you were able to find your own truth in my words. 🙂 Your comment made me smile, thanks for that. I totally understand what you mean by the pressure of report card to get into university and to get a job(who doesn’t want to make it rain?), at times it most certainly can be all too much. Perhaps one day I will be able to hear one of your rants “brain dump,” and all.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      A fellow classmate hustling to one day make it rain,

  2. Dear Ibukun,

    -Judy Gu

    I couldn’t agree with you more one the entire reasoning behind your blog post. The concept of report cards is very important as it aids an individual in reaching their full potential by providing encouragement and reviewing their weak areas. Report cards should only be doing a boosting of self-esteem. But when the information upon it is misused, that is when it can become an esteem lowerer (that is definitely not a word).
    You probably already get this concept but, always remember that YOU Ibukun, can never be defined by a number 🙂

    If there is anything to correct, it would be to work on editing your gumps, so that it’s coherent and grammatically correct. Although it’s meant to be a rant, it still has to make sense – especially because it is in written form and going to be READ not HEARD. But then again, maybe it was just me not taking the time to read your sentences at an appropriate pace ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (in case you haven’t noticed, I am extremely late with my blog comments and thus I am rushing to get these done before 7).

    Thank you for this great piece! I’ll miss having class with you next semester D: (even though I’ll see you in choir every week).
    Good Luck with the rest of your exams!

    With Love,

    1. Dear Timi,
      Thank you for reading my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. I am glad that you were able to relate to my truth in this piece, report cards truly can be self esteem “lowerers,” at times ;). Awe shucks, thanks! It’s very kind of you to say that I cannot be defined by a number, the same certainly goes for you. 🙂

      I will be sure to look out for GUMPS more closely when I am writing rants and things of the sort in the future. The fact that it is a written piece frequently slips my mind while writing about topics I am passionate about. Well, at least you got your comments all done, so that’s good.

      I too will miss having class with you as you are an absolutely fantastic person, words cannot describe just how amazing you are. It is as if I were attempting to describe a supernova, you are a force that no amount of words can begin to define. Good luck to you as well on your diplomas!

      Much love,

  3. Ibukun:

    Oh my. After reading this, it makes me look like I completely plagiarized your piece for my free choice. But, on the other hand, they do say that smart minds think alike. (And by that, I am the wannabe smart mind that is running to keep up with your vast leaps of intelligence.) Please note that I finished writing my piece and published it before i even say the title of this piece. Please don’t sue me.

    I’ve never looked at report card day as a time of competition, it has always been a time of self reflection for me, and when people come asking for my grades, I don’t even have a chance to open my mouth before they say “Ah, so a 90, ok.” I have both the fortune and the misfortune of being labelled as the ‘smart’ kid. For one, it has always made me feel odd that (Well, at least in science) my definitions of ‘excellent’ are often the same as someone else’s definition of ‘impossible’. This also means that because people expect so much from me, it is often as as big of a disappointment to myself as it is to anyone else when I do not achieve these marks.

    But I can rest happily knowing that I am more than a number at least.

    All I can really ask for out of this already amazing piece is not to alter what you said, but perhaps break the formatting into slightly more readable chunks that are less daunting to get through. (I share the opposite problem, though – writing too little in paragraphs most of the time)

    Thank you for your insight on just how crude people can become to one another during the most emotional times for most – I do my best to never ask people for their grades, as I know that it only (usually) opens up a hole of insecurity for them.


    1. Dear Areeb,
      Thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment, much appreciated! That certainly is a funny coincidence, I guess great minds really do think alike, I would argue both of our minds are great in their own respects!

      I really like your perspective that it has never been a competition, this has never really been true for me because I’ve been raised in an environment where scores are carefully kept. As of the whole people assuming your average I send my warmest hugs, that is so irritating!!! You most certainly are not a number! <3

      I will be sure to keep that in mind if/when I post pieces like this again. When I get going I find it, at times, to remember that other people will have to read my rambles.

      Thanks again for reading the piece, I am glad that you could find something useful in my "insights." I regret not getting to know you better this year, I will be sure to look out for you in the halls and what not.


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