Monday, November 7, 2011


I had to write a paper in one of my classes that had to include my personal thoughts and experiences. I struggled with this paper because I knew what I wanted to write, but I didn't want to write it. I was afraid that if I wrote about my losing Brenna and the physical and emotional recovery that I endured that I would get a "pity" grade. Oh, poor girl, how can I give her an E when she just wrote about losing her child and nearly dying. I wanted to make sure that I earned the grade.

I tried to write the paper and leave that part out, but it just didn't work. It was flat and unauthentic.  How do you write about your life and leave out the most defining moment of it?

You can't.

I ended up writing it the way I wanted. It was personal and passionate and I knew it was a good paper.

I got an A.

In fact, I received the highest grade in the class.

My teacher gave me a gift for getting the highest grade, which I thought was very nice. He pointed out that I made points (beside my loss) that no one else had ever done in any of his classes. He was impressed with my way of thinking and said he enjoyed my paper. But I can't help but feel like I didn't really earn that grade. I sort of feel like a cheater. Like I pulled the pity card to get a good grade. It feels like an empty victory.

Am I a cheater? What would you have done?


Amy, queen of the world. said...

I think you said it best when you said that you can't tell your life story without the most defining moment. And it sounds like your paper itself got the A...if you had the same content but a low level writing ability, and you still got an A, I'd be suspicious. But since you had other compliments on the paper beyond content, I'd say you earned your A.

The Fabulous Ms. Beth said...

I agree with Amy -- you can't leave that out.. it's part of you.

Isadora Filipina said...

No you're not a cheater. I would have done the same thing. I think it's when we choose a subject that moves us or feel passionately about, that we create some of our best work.

Anonymous said...

No I don't think you're a cheater, you should feel really proud of your grade. I used to write essays about my experience having a mum with a mental illness and always get C's - when I usually got A's. Whenever I wrote about it, my quality always went right down. Then this semester - probably about 8 years on from the last time I tried to write on the topic I got 95% - it was obviously because I can write and think and talk about it at a really high standard now... you must have done the same - with truth and integrity. Congratulations for getting to this point... it must have been a long and hard journey of introspection:)