Grades Don’t Define You

Haley Guinn, Co-Editor in Chief

  Homework, books, studying, perfect attendance, honors and AP classes—what do we do it for? Learning has turned into a laborious chore rather than the exciting task that it actually is.

  It is amazing how something as simple as a number or letter numbs the pleasure of an essential part of our development. As young students, we only want to impress our parents and peers by achieving the highest scores and getting straight A’s. We push ourselves into taking honors and AP classes to increase our GPA and test scores, rather than to increase our knowledge in the subject.

  This leads to ultimate disappointment when we don’t do as well on a certain test or don’t get the exact grade we want. While some would say that this should motivate us to try harder, low grades have the potential to discourage students from learning. Rather than aiming to put in more effort to earn a better grade, many would learn to settle with a B or a C because, well, technically those are passing grades right?

  It has come to the point where students are robots, absorbing and spitting out information to simply pass school, rather than humans who are able to make mistakes  and also appreciate the concepts they are being taught. Education has become sad in that only few understand that grades don’t truly measure your value or understanding.

  I am not going to lie; in my freshman year, I fell into the trap of pre-planning my entire high school career and wanting to take all the advanced classes possible. While I am a good worker and a try-hard, my plan was soon failing me. Instead of trying to understand the concepts, I was memorizing everything in attempts to balance all my classes and extracurriculars. This did not fly; I got a C in my first semester of Algebra 2 Honors class.

  It hurt when it shouldn’t have. In the end, it was the fact that I am a horrible test taker, not that I was stupid. However, I had let a grade become a personal measure of my knowledge, my biggest mistake.

  Learning shouldn’t be a competition, but a fun and challenging opportunity for discovery. While grades do hang over us, life happens; it’s important to not take them personally. Now I’m not advising you to go out and fail all your classes, but if you are truly eager to learn, then your grades should rise naturally.

  Your journey is only to be controlled by you. Embrace the challenge. Instead of letting your grades define you, define yourself in the hard work you put into your experience.