An Open Letter To The Discouraged Student
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An Open Letter To The Discouraged Student

It's time to stop putting our self-worth in our academic success.

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An Open Letter To The Discouraged Student
Paul Lampley

All my life I have been told that grades are an important part of my life and that I will always be seen to schools and future employers as my grades and GPA. As a result, I took my schooling extremely seriously and ended up tying for Valedictorian with 10 other students whose parents probably told them all the same thing. However, now that I'm in college, I've learned that having perfect grades does not define who I am as a student, learner, or person. So if you are struggling with your self-worth because you bombed that big test last week, I want you to know that you are not alone.

I took my first college exam and got a D. I've never seen the letter grade D on any school project, homework assignment, or test before in my entire life, but I was somehow not devastated by the grade I was viewing online. In fact, I took it the complete opposite way. I looked at it as a good point of learning that, "hey, you're not in high school anymore, so you'll need to develop some new study habits." The next exam I took I got a 98%. Isn't it amazing how we can learn from our failure?

Not only did I learn that I needed to study differently, I also came to the realization that my grades do not define who I am as a person. I've learned that sometimes you're going to make mistakes, but you can only grow from that failure. Growth rarely comes from constant success, but growth almost always comes from your past failures. Do not use your grades to define your life. They may be important in some aspects, but do you want to know a secret? When you graduate and have a job, no one is going to care about your grades or your ACT score. They're going to care about how well you understand the material and how well you are going to be able to do the job they are hiring you for. I actually can't credit that thought to myself, as I read a book over the summer called What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain for my major, and it had that super encouraging thought in it. You can buy your own copy of the book on Amazon here. There are a lot of incredibly helpful tips and thoughts on how to learn from your classes and not just focus on the grade you are receiving. It has definitely helped me out a lot this semester.

I've also come to the realization that the only way I should identify myself is through Jesus Christ and the fact He died for me so that I could become a child of God. In the end, my grades, GPA, or ACT scores are not going to be what matter. What will matter is how I lived my life for Christ and how willing I was to share God's great love with others. Now I'm not saying to just give up on your grades and never try again, but I'm saying that you should try your hardest but be okay with failing, because everything will work out for the best. God doesn't allow you to go through hardships without you being able to learn something or grow from them. Who knows, God may even use you getting a bad grade on a test to let others know that their worth is not dependent upon that one letter.

You may not be able to see it now, but just know that your self-worth should not come from your school work and good grades. It is important to always try your hardest, but be prepared for the times when you are going to fail (because trust me, you will fail at some point) and remind yourself that growth best comes from failure. Remember, all that will matter in the end is how well you've lived your life for God's glory, so be sure to glorify, praise, and share Him with others without ceasing. He will bring you through your hardships, and He will always work things together for your good.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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