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OP-ED: I Want to Receive Shiny Smiley Face Stickers on My Transcript Instead of Grades


Photos (with edits by Sydney Gelman) from Puffin / CC BY 3.0, Free SVG / CC0, and Piotr Siedlecki / CC0 

I have read through a dozen Change.org petitions. I have debated whether or not to take all of my classes pass-fail so that I can focus on the arduous labor of fusing my body to my bedsheets. I have convinced myself the world will end this year, so I don’t have to worry about grad schools analyzing the grades I received during a global pandemic. 

After enduring all of this, and meditating (sleeping for over 16 hours each day), I discovered what I really want. I just want shiny stickers on my transcript. I think this is the only way I can preserve any semblance of my dignity and self-worth. My longing for stickers as a sign of validation is the source of most of my academic trauma, so I’d like to end my college career with a return to my roots.

Although graduate programs may be confused as to how to interpret the stickers, I think they’ll quickly learn that anything holographic is innately superior to any sticker that has a flaccid, one-dimensional color scheme. If I get any non-holographic stickers, I think that Penn should adapt to a mandatory pass/fail system. It is a pandemic, after all.