A sentiment that is shared by many people at RPI, where I go to school. While a well known and respected name in some circles - my boss was very happy to hear it when I was accepted here - it is virtually unknown to many and has some of the most miserable people I've ever seen. There are about 4 guys for every girl here, and most people sit around in their room and play Counterstrike all day and few people have a social life. To combat this, admissions at RPI has changed admission requirements greatly in the last few years. The problem is that students that are less inclined to take certain required courses are now enrolled in them, the courses don't change at all. So what happens is there are a bunch of unmotivated students in a course they don't want to take and know is too difficult for them, and they hate life. Then enters the lovely pressures of the grading curve and parents threatening to stop paying and one has no choice but to work their ass off. This is a problem for many people, and more than the lack of girls or Troy, NY being a fairly desolate town this leads to the misery of the students.

However, there are some of us who have found a way around it. It isn't perfect, and it doesn't make a lot of people happy, but we can live and go to school here without wanting to jump in front of a bus. That's what this means to us. Grades are important, and none of us want to, or are failing any classes, but when we stop going for the "A" and shoot for a "C" or "D" we aren't at the top anymore, but we are at least happier than most people here. When we go to the dining hall, we are some of the only people who are ever smiling and laughing, because we aren't preoccupied with work and are willing to have a few minutes set aside to have a barely edible meal with some good friends. Grades, much like everything else follow the pattern of Diminishing Returns. Working 12 hours on a project to get a "B" is well worth it, but having to put in an extra 6 to get an "A" is much harder to justify. Those are 6 hours you could be using to sleep or socialize or just to space out and stare at the wall, whatever you like to do best in your free time. That's what we do. Any of my friends or I could easily get awesome grades here if we wanted to work 16 hours a day, and while sometimes you need to, doing it every day gets old. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile, it's important not to lose sight of your own life.

That's what this means, "D for Diploma" is our own way of saying not to let this place get you down. So if you ever find yourself stressed out, think about how much what you're doing is worth, and is "good enough" going to be alright? It usually is, but for some it isn't. Next time you feel very stressed out over work or school or whatever, just say to yourself "D for diploma" and see if you really should be spending your time doing what you are. Do a mediocre job and still be able to have fun, or sit alone working for hours at a time? This isn't the best philosophy I'm sure, and some people aren't able to do it, but I can guarantee that even though people who I know aren't as good at these classes as I am are doing better than me, I don't care because I'm still having fun. I completely recommend saying this to yourself whenever you feel you can't take it anymore, you might find it actually helps.

Because you can't spell "diploma" without "D."

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