From childhood school is indoctrinated into us. Do well in elementary school so you can get extra privileges such as free time in class. Do well in middle school so you can get into honors classes in high school. Do well in high school so you can get into the AP classes and into a good college, one that would mold you into the individual that you are. If you came from a well-to-do family, the pressure can begin earlier. Do well in elementary school so you can be admitted into a good middle school, so you can get into a good high school, so you can get into a good college. If you go to graduate or professional school, well, that's just one more thing to worry about.
We hear this speech all around us: parents, friends, teachers. Each person takes it to heart in a different way.
Some brush it off like you brush off a gnat, choosing to ignore the importance of a formal education altogether.
Some realize the ease of school and do only what they need to get by, choosing life experience over school.
Some discover their gift in academia and immerse themselves in it, ignoring all else.
Still others strike a balance, using their formal education to supplement their real education: a lifelong education.
Nothing says that a person can't be a mix of two or more of these categories, or that a person can change. I used to be a mix of the second and third types: the second in effort put, the third in life experience. I lived in fear that making anything less than an A would destroy my bubble.
But instead of destroying my bubble and sending me into the corner, the B liberated the seventeen-year-old me.