A list

'There's no point getting that string of As.'

Abilene and Perdita gasped. It was as though Adam just suggested that mother's milk is poisonous, the earth is squarish and protons carry negative charges.

The idea that paper qualifications are 2-dimensional had not gone down well with these people.

'I'd rather study for the joy of it, not to get a degree that I don't need or want to impress people that don't matter and shouldn't matter.' The resulting silence was deafening.

'I like learning but I like pointing to that string of As and be proud of them,' Perdita stated confidentially. Abilene nodded her consent. 'True, true. It's nice to have something concrete to show for your efforts.'

Grades and wellbeing, distinctions and confidence.

Was there a correlation? Can he prove, by mathematical induction, the relationship between these variables?

Adam paused. What he felt like saying would probably nip the friendship in the bud. He deliberated and said in a hesitant voice, as though he's afraid of offending. 'If you need to derive pride from grades, then you must have really low self-confidence.'

Perdita and Abilene looked at him with outright curiosity, somewhat stunned.

It would seem that all three of them have lessons that they must learn. And we can all hope that they, in good time, learn these lessons.