To pass or not to pass? That is the question

For those that don’t know, the last day to change the grading option for classes is April 3. This gives UC Berkeley students approximately a month to decide on whether or not they should play their semesterly “get out of jail free card.” We at the Clog understand some people might say, “What’s all the fuss? If your grades are currently in the shitter, you should P/NP the class;” the reality is, however, a bit more complicated. Luckily for you all, the Clog has given this decision some thought.

Seldom does a student get into UC Berkeley without some sort of inclination for hard work, perhaps verging on excessive. So the idea of giving up on a class, or at least the perception of it, can be difficult to stomach for some — think of it as an existential Asian Ghetto. If you are considering pass/no passing a class in the middle of the semester, it is likely due to poor performance on a midterm and the worry it will jeopardize the much fetishized grade point average. Although it may be difficult to accept the fact that you are doing poorly in a class, for whatever reason, it is important to assess the likelihood you can improve and whether or not you have the time to do so. Give it some thought and consider whether the class is for your major or a breadth; you might have to take it for a grade. So, ego aside, you need to be realistic with yourself and not worry too much about accepting you aren’t performing up to your standards.

Supposing you did make the decision to P/NP a class recently (congratulations, by the way), cancel the review sessions and go watch House of Cards. Well, maybe watch House of Cards at the review session. Fortunately, there is more to college than receiving a number out of 4. Unfortunately for some, intellectual exploration is one of them. The pressure is off, but that shouldn’t mean that you go to class about as often as you do laundry or call your parents. Now more than ever is the time to seek out your interests in the class you P/NP, despite how high-minded that sounds. Just don’t annoy your friends sitting next to you if you feel the need to comment on how you’ve realized how fascinating the professor’s tangents are while some of us are copying down notes like a court stenographer.

Ultimately, pass/no passing a class should be a liberating experience that frees one’s mind to learn without the weight of stress to burden you. Pass/no passing should get you back in touch with the joy of learning and hopefully more hours of sleep. With that, the Clog hopes you have no shame in changing your grading options, but would encourage you to ask around about the new haircut.

Contact Ismael Farooqui at [email protected].