It is that blessed time of year again: The spring semester has finally ended and the glorious months of summer have begun. If you or any of your friends on social media are currently enrolled in school, you’ve likely seen a post or two celebrating the markers of success that come with the end of the semester — like a picture of someone’s outstanding GPA and exceptional final grades, or a post letting the world know they were placed on the dean’s list.
But I’ve noticed another trend become popular alongside these celebrations of high academic achievement. Plenty of people have posted statuses and tweets in response to these celebratory proclamations, all of which spew a similar sentiment: “Stop posting about your grades — nobody cares.”
I’ve always found spring semester to be particularly challenging. While in the fall my energy and ambition seem limitless — I manage to be up at 7 a.m., cook myself breakfast every morning, work out, and even read the paper — spring semester tends to hit me like a wrecking ball. For college students everywhere, this semester is all too often a direct route to hell and back on the struggle bus express. These 14 weeks are full of tears, sleepless nights, and an ever-present question: “How badly do I really want this degree?”
Somehow, students around the world still rally every year to survive another semester of higher education and come one step closer to that coveted diploma. Yet when people close enough to be considered friends or followers make these scholastic achievements known on social media, we often roll our eyes and call them “show-offs” or “attention whores.”
Admittedly, I’m one of these people. I’m just as quick to throw shade as the next girl, but recently I had to stop and ask myself why. Few people seem to have a problem with others posting pictures that show off meals they didn’t cook or tweeting about albums they didn’t create (let alone listen to all the way through). So why are we so eager to express disdain for those who want to display something they have actually achieved?
It’s easy to connect with people online without being vulnerable or personal. We can like a picture someone posts of their meal; doing so is impersonal and doesn’t demand that we reflect on our own accomplishments or shortcomings. But when confronted with a tangible marker of another’s personal achievement, we are forced to acknowledge our own relationship with that marker of success.
That relationship often dovetails with a quiet, competitive energy that has become normal in our culture and that stifles the possibility of openly celebrating others’ success. Many people seem to believe that calling someone else pretty makes them ugly, calling someone else smart makes them dumb, or that praising someone else’s success highlights one’s own failure. But what if we decided to be inspired by our peers’ triumphs rather than intimidated?
Considering that our news feeds are all too often filled with rants and raves from borderline racist family members or tragic news of international unrest and natural disasters, a friend’s decision to share his or her positive accomplishments or express pride should be welcomed as a breath of fresh air. Grades aren’t everything, but many of our peers consider them markers of success, so I propose we celebrate them as such. Want to post about making the dean’s list? Hell yeah, do it! Want to post your GPA? Yaaass girl, go for it! Don’t want to post anything? Guess what? That’s cool, too!
I personally refuse to let my insecurities prevent me from celebrating others’ achievements. If you truly don’t care about others’ accomplishments, keep scrolling and ignore them just like you ignore all the other irrelevant news on your timeline. But I challenge you to commend someone for choosing to showcase their success. It’s important to remember that just like hate, fear, anger, and conflict, excellence surrounds us. Let’s embrace any opportunity to celebrate it.
Want to be an MTV Founders contributor? Send your full name, age, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.