There aren't many first experiences you can ask me about where I will remember every tiny detail. But one dreadful experience I will never forget is the first time I got an A-. I remember the course, the teacher and even where I was when I received my report card. It was my second semester of my freshman year of high school and it was the first A- I ever received. I had a full-fledged breakdown and cried in my room for a whole day and didn’t get over it for a week.
This terrible mindset stuck with me throughout my academic journey and gave me constant anxiety. I genuinely thought that an A- was the end of the world. A constant loop of negative thoughts flooded my mind every time I got a report card or received a grade that could jeopardize my GPA. I would constantly tell myself “how can you amount to anything if you can’t even get a 4.0?”. It didn’t matter how many people told me they were proud of me or told me that I was doing a good job. I simply didn’t believe it unless my report card reflected that.
You would think from the sounds of it that I hate school. It leads me to negative self-talk and I have had more panic attacks from school than I can count. But it is actually the opposite, I love school! I love learning, reading and the thrill of writing a paper on a few hours of sleep but still getting amazing feedback. I love the whole academic experience. Despite this I still find myself caught in a class I took freshman year of high school that gave me a A-. But I can barely tell you about any classes I took that I actually enjoyed, ones that made me excited to attend everyday!
It’s crazy to think that I never realized how toxic my own expectations were for myself and how much I was ruining something I truly enjoyed until this year. Yes, it took a pandemic and full on exhaustion mentally, physically and emotionally to make me ask myself “what's the point?”. 4.0’s are amazing and they show hardwork and dedication but so does a 2.0. I am starting to realize this semester I worked the hardest I ever have academically buy if you were to compare this GPA to any of my previous semesters, you wouldn’t think so. It took the world literally ending, or maybe I'm just being dramatic, to realize this is something so small in my life and it doesn’t define me.
This semester taught me to just enjoy school and love it to its fullest. I learned so much this year about what really matters and my GPA isn’t one of them. My best is going to change day to day so sometimes that’s going to look like an A and sometimes that is going to look like a C. Regardless of what the final grade outcome is, as long as you tried your best, and you enjoyed yourself and actually learned something, then everything will be okay.