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Does a letter really define me?
Monday, December 17, 2007
Finals week is usually the most stressful time in our college lives. Not only do we have to worry about studying for an examination that covers the entire semester worth of material, we also have to worry about finishing final projects, homeworks, and make sure we tie all the loose ends together. For some people, their scholarships depend on receiving good grades in order to keep their current financial status and this can also be a huge stress. It's funny how something as small as a letter can have that much power over your college life. What's really odd about the whole grading system is that society continues to accept this ridiculous form of human judgment. I know that there needs to be some sort of system in which students are judged, or classified if you will, but one can't help but think why, out of all the brilliant people in the world why hasn't someone come up with a true system of judgment for students.

Lets look at the Pennsylvania SAT's for example. Studies over the years have shown that the SAT's were a poor judgment of high school student's knowledge; basically the tested were flawed so the director of such things decided to change the tests around to better scale a high school student's smartness. What's really ridiculous about the whole SAT thing is that the minute you sit down with a financial aid adviser and you ask them how much financial help you can receive for college the turn directly to your SAT scores. This is a huge problem for me.

Now I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I do like to think that I am knowledgeable. I also happen to have completed 3 years of engineering studies in a very good university so I'd like to think that I use my brain a little. With all that aside I'd like to go back to the time in my history when I was taking my SAT's how they have helped me through my college life.......they didn't! When I took the SAT's I scored much lower than a lot of the kids I knew, yet most of these kids we drinking everyday after school, staying out late every night, getting in trouble with the law, and never once opening a book to study. It was obvious that these kids we not smarter than me, until we took the SAT's.

A little time comparison shows that some of these same kids who scored much higher than me on the SAT's are now flipping burgers, working in coffee shops, and well, doing a whole lot of nothing (sorry guys and girls). Here I am, the stupid one (according to the SAT's) finishing a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, running a respectable website, which happens to provide ground zero information about college life (try getting that from the old farts who run some of the other college websites!), and completely paying my own way. The SAT's did a great job at judging me! In fact, I'm so glad that they judged me the way they did because when it was my time to talk to financial aid they said "Sorry kid, no help for you. Here's a pamphlet though on the lenders that pay us off to advertise for them. They can lend you ALL the money you need to pay for college, and they'll pay for the Mercedes that I've got sitting in the parking lot." That's a little exaggeration, but you get the point.

Here I am, a kid straight out of high school, screaming at the lady that I AM smart and that I NEED help because my parents can't provide financial help for me and what does she tell me? "If you manage to keep your grades up this year we can talk about a scholarship for next year." WHAT!?!? Just like that I was brushed to the side as the stupid kid who scored low on his SAT's. For the high school students out there, especially my brother, I hope that the new SAT system does a better job of testing a student's true abilities. If it were up to me, everyone would receive a scholarship in the beginning and would have to prove why they shouldn't receive one, not the other way around.

By the way, I did receive a scholarship my second year in college. For my entire first year in college I decided to prove myself and did so by maintaining a 4.0 GPA....yeah, me, the stupid kid (according to the SAT's). You know what I received for that? $500.00............

Divided over 2 semesters..............Don't get me wrong, I was very grateful for the money I received, but I literally gave up my life for an entire year, just so that I could study ALL the time, only to receive $500.00 (I do have witnesses that can vouch for this). I'm sorry that I'd not scored higher on the SAT's, and I'm sorry that I also lost interest in college pretty quick, but I still love what I'm studying and I like to think that I'm smart, regardless of what other people say or how insignificant pieces of paper like to judge me. I know my abilities and that's all that matters to me anymore. Can I get A's on every final this semester? Probably, but will I give up my life for another slap on the wrist? I don't think so. I'll try my best but I'm no longer bending over for a system that doesn't return the favor.

What have I gotten out of SAT scores? Nothing. What have I gotten out of college grades? Very little. I like to think that I am very smart kid, and have been told so by many people including people owning or working for very large corporations. These people have rewarded me for a job well done and for that I will perform miracles.

This brings me to the conclusion of my late night college life story......what am I doing with SMB College Life. Well, I decided that I wanted to help the students out there, who have faced similar situations and need some help with college. What I can do for now is provide the best information that I know is available and hope that students choose to use it. With SMB College Life I can provide a medium, a common ground if you will, where students can find all the information that I was once in search of. I can provide you with everything I know and maybe, just maybe help one student get through college a little easier that me. Maybe the help provided by SMB College Life will help you to stay motivated to achieve the better grade with which people will judge you. If I achieve that than my efforts were a success. Through SMB College Life I strive for greatness and hope to be able to provide thousands of student with financial aid and advice each and every semester. Can I do it? You tell me........

Thanks for choosing SMB College Life!

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posted by Shawn @ SMB College Life @ 3:35 AM  
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