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OP-ED: Hey, Kid, Life Is Pass/Fail


Fanta_Productions / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Hey, kid. Yeah, I’m talking to you, right there, with the slack-jawed doe eyes and type-A nasal passages. Pop a squat because I’m about to learn you a thing or two about life and, in doing so, justify my own decisions to take only pass/fail courses this semester.

I don’t know what sort of nonsense your parent or guardian taught you about life, little ingénue, but life — life isn’t graded on an ABCDF scale. You won’t get a percentage at the end. You can’t quantify success (except I guess with income or net worth, but screw those things).  It has been said that when a person dies, they leave behind one of two words: PASS or FAIL.

Me, I intend to pass. Maybe not my Anatomy lab, but life in general. This means that I’m not going to get sucked into the rat race of academic success or other traditionally accepted forms of success. I’m just going to get by because that really is the most that any of us can do.

UTB disclaimer: The author of this opinion piece has never herself taken a class pass/fail because her mom said it wasn’t a good idea.