On futility of grades
Grades are merely incidental to a student's purpose at an institution of learning. I claim, here, that the proper purpose of an education is to learn. In the pursuit of this goal, grades are one of many possible benchmarks in evaluating one's process of learning.
Other benchmarks such as enhanced ability, sharpened mind, honed skill, quality production, are better measures. Practically speaking, though grades ought to quantify such measures, they don't. Have some guts. What's more important, one's personal development for which one pays or a diploma from Princeton with a high GPA?
Seniors, I try to empathize with your difficult task of moving out into the world, carving a niche, and building something worthwhile. Please, tell me it's true that your contribution to the world and your own personal life is enhanced by what you learned and how you grew at Princeton, not by the size of your GPA.
"Do you think he's a hard grader?" "What do think he wants on this paper?" "How's the curve going to work in this class?" "What percent is class participation?" "I need to ace that class." "Will it count for our grade?" Grade getters at Princeton (you know who you are), get some perspective, not a grade. Wilmot Kidd '01