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Oops! Student Who Based Entire Self-Worth on Grades Starting to Think It Was a Bad Idea


Photo by WOCinTech Chat / CC BY 2.0

Almost completed with her first semester at Penn, Engineering freshman Sheryl Williams (and former high school NHS president, as she likes to tell people) was shocked to learn that people care about things other than the fact that she got a 33 on her ACT.

“I don’t understand why students here care about things like music or art or ‘making the world a better place,’” Williams tweeted. “I’m not going to get a 4.0 this semester, and I think it will quite literally be the end of the world.” 

Williams’s feelings of existential dread are no anomaly at Penn. According to Psychology professor Erik Whitbet, 90% of Penn freshman experience a feeling "similar to how one feels after watching Sirius Black die in Harry Potter” when they realize that they will likely not maintain a 4.0 throughout college. 

Fraternities with severe hazing rituals also capitalize on this Penn-specific phenomenon. One anonymous sophomore reported that his fraternity forced him to write “I will never get an internship at Bain” over 300 times while chugging a gallon of milk.