Grades Aren't Everything

            What I’ve learned over many years of endless late nights, shots of coffee, slaps in the face followed by a splash of cold water to jolt me awake, and hand cramps for daaaays, is that to be perfectly real with y’all, grades don’t really matter. What?! What is this madness you speak of? Grades actually don’t matter? Impossible!

            Think again, my comrades. Grades might possibly be the most superficial social construct institutions have created to hierarchically organize students into a pyramid of intelligence, or lack thereof.  They do nothing but incite competition, craziness, sleep deprivation, and endless anxiety. I used to be absolutely obsessed with grades—they were my entire world. I derived so much happiness from seeing an A on my paper or my test. The gratification of taking that home, showing it to my parents, and immediately knowing how proud they were of me as their smiles crept across their faces. It was instant gratification at its finest. But, of course, there was a pretty frickin’ huge caveat: I was headed to college and mommy and daddy weren’t going to be there to pat me on the back when I came home with a shiny gold star on the front of my AP Spanish homework.

            As I began my college career and learned that, well, I’m not better than everyone else and I won’t always get the perfect A on every assignment ever. I began to understand how important trying your best was, even though that might be the most cliché thing ever. It really is so important that you don’t base your success on your ability to regurgitate information onto a test or bubble in the right letters on a scantron. What matters is that you are learning. The only way you will understand how much you’ve grown as a student is by reminding yourself that education in and of itself is a gift.

Being a college student might not lead you to a perfect 4.0 and an admission to Harvard Law, but it will teach you a much greater lesson. Beyond the A’s, B’s, and C’s, there’s value in just trying and learning. Stay engaged in your classes, ask questions if you’re confused, and remember that life goes on even if your 100% goes down to a 99% ;-)