The Nature of Chords

IMG_7647I graduated yesterday! Yay! It seriously was awesome and exciting.

I’m mainly writing this blog post to talk about the fixation humans have on outshining each other, and shoving our achievements in each other’s faces. I didn’t realize I fixated I myself was until I realized how much I was comparing my achievements to those of the other graduates.

At my school, any person who has a 4.0 unweighted GPA and has taken a certain number of AP classes is eligible to be a valedictorian. So, unlike other schools, we have a ton of valedictorians, compared to the single valedictorian at most schools. My high school had eighteen valedictorians. During the graduation ceremony, each valedictorian is honored by receiving a medal and having their plans for the future announced.

So they have a medal. Good for them.

Furthermore, there is a class called Socratic Seminar at my school. All students that take Socratic Seminar and have an unweighted GPA of 3.75 or higher attain the accolade of being a Distinguished Scholar and this achievement is marked by their wearing of a black stole at graduation.

As for chords, there are four chords that a scholar might receive. A black chord marks a weighted GPA of 3.5 to 3.74. A blue and white chord marks a weighted GPA or 3.75 to 4.0. A gold chord represents a recipient of a Faculty Award, and a white chord represents a recipient of a Department Award.IMG_7565

I was very proud and honored to wear a white chord and a blue and white chord.

Here’s the catch: I spent a lot of my senior year stressing over my GPA, wondering if it was worth taking a class to become Distinguished Scholar just to get the black stole, hoping I would get honored on Senior Awards night, etc.

Yesterday during the graduation ceremony, there were kids who I think are lovely people and enormously smart who had one or no chords, and there were kids who played it safe or were teachers’ pets who had three chords and a stole. And then I decided that while I was very happy to have two chords, I also have great respect for those who lack chords.

So I guess my point is, that we as humans spend a ton of time looking at ourselves and others for our flaws. But in the long run, it doesn’t really matter. Chords at graduation simply are a way for humans to find another way to feel better about ourselves.

I took Socratic Seminar this past semester, and I tried my hardest to get out of the class because I thought that everyone was going to look at me differently because I wasn’t going to be Distinguished Scholar even with the class. I failed, but I eventually decided that I was “beating the system” because I was taking the class and bettering myself, rather than taking the class just to get the stole, like almost everyone else did. While the reason I took the class in the first place was to get the stole, I like to think that I have expanded my horizons.

Furthermore, I am beyond proud of myself for what I have accomplished over these past few years. I was a part of one of three groups that were selected to perform musical selections at my graduation ceremony. I am going to Brazil next year for a youth exchange program. I am attending an awesome college the year after. I have won a ton of academic awards. I got a huge band award. I could keep going on, but I will stop. The short story is that I am proud of what I have accomplished and I am happy with where my life is going.IMG_7605



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