For the Grade: The Frustration of a Student

University incites academic pressures: Doing things for the grade, to achieve what we strive toward. Photo courtesy of USF

By now, I’m sure most everyone with whom I associate knows of my efforts in raising school supplies for children in Afghanistan. For me, the posts I make on Facebook and Twitter in order to rouse awareness are enough: though this cause is personally important to me at this time, I would rather not make persistent and forceful solicitations because I believe this would simply result in the opposite of which I am trying to achieve.

Thus, the question arises: How far am I willing to go for the grade? Sure, part of the reason why I’d like to see our goal of 120 boxes of school supplies realized is because my grades and my GPA rely on it. And sure, we tend to stress the fact that we’re doing this for a class, even though we are operating under a 501(c)(3) public charity. And in some sense, sure, though I have my hesitation in using this Help-Me-For-School strategy, shamelessly throwing in the academic factor does seem to work well, especially within the university community.

This, however, frustrates me. Consider the notion that, to many, the average university student centers focus around her- or himself. Perhaps, then, seeing a university student working on a charity project might be something that catches your eye – and it’s not to say that students working on charity and community projects are a rarity, especially through student organizations, but admittedly it’s still rather uncommon. But the minute we introduce the notion that – Hey, he’s doing this for a class – the student’s intentions appear to have changed:

Doing charity not for the passion, but for the grade.

I've managed to fill about four boxes with school supplies! It's hard to believe that this is almost half of the ten we're each responsible for! Photo by Justin Doromal

But this may not be the case – for me, even, this isn’t the case at all. Sure, I would never have heard of this project if it hadn’t been for this course. And sure, I still care about my grade regardless of how successful our efforts are in reaching 120 boxes. But I had picked this class on my own accord, when I could just as easily have picked something else. And why couldn’t I have a passion for what I’m doing, even if academics were to be my main drive? Every passionate man needs a spark to their passion and motivation, be it a First Lady, a monetary reward, or simply grades.

Perhaps I’m writing this as a defense, even though no one has explicitly accused me of such. But I feel like this is the impression I have established with my family and friends, having gone from posts about myself to posts about course of action in aiding Afghan children, all because of one class I’m enrolled in. And in this defense, I would like to make it clear that, sure, I will do what I can for the grade. But it’s more than just the grade. I want to do something that will honestly make a difference somewhere, in my own way, that will last long after my own time. And essentially this is the exact same reason in which, academically, I do assignments for the grade: to one day become a professor and educate generations after my own. To make a lasting impression, if you will – just in a different way.

We now have a drop off box located right in the honors lounge, which has also been set up to increase awareness of passing honors students regarding our school supplies project. Photo by Justin Doromal

This aside, we are definitely making more progress. I would say we are definitely more than one-third of the way to seeing our goal realized; I personally have gotten four boxes worth of school supplies donated, and I have received $55 worth of shipping funds! We now have many more drop off boxes now set up, and with each week we’re working towards finding new ways to get our cause out there.

To our USF readers, make sure you check out our Bull Market event on Wednesday, March 30th! Donated school supplies get you a free slice of pizza – or you can contribute $1 to our shipping fund. You can learn more at our Facebook event page.

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About Justin Doromal

I am a student at the University of South Florida majoring in Mathematics, with a side interest in educational improvement and pedagogy. I am literate in French, though not necessarily fluent, and in my free time I like indulging in Korean pop music culture.
This entry was posted in Awareness campaigns, University of South Florida, USF Honors College and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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