Each week, the writers for Odysessy receive an email newsletter from our Editor-in-Chief. Since its finals week at Cleveland State, and a lot of my fellow writers are really feeling stressed out, we received this bit of wisdom in our inboxes:
"Friendly reminder: Your final grades do not define who you are or your self-worth. You are important, you are loved, and you are enough." -Kelly Prososki, Editor-in-Chief for Cleveland State University Community.
Even though I'm not a student this semester, I remembered just how much I bought into one's grades determining their worth. I think because of the very nature of grades. It's not like if you get awful grades you'll still succeed. Unfortunately, grades do determine whether we can be accepted into something better.
Grades have always meant A LOT to me because I was always told either directly or indirectly that I wasn't smart, to begin with. At home, whatever I felt, though, said or did was stupid. My classmates called me stupid (among other names) because I was introverted (because unfortunately introversion is often equated with someone having no intelligence).
I would wear myself out trying to get decent grades, to prove to everyone in my life that I could. Grades is one of the major reasons I'm still trying to pursue a bachelors degree at 37 years old. Good grades will earn me the bachelors everyone is determined I'm too dumb to get. Good grades will get me in the door to get a masters degree that everyone laughs and turns their noses up at me when I tell them that's what I want.
I'm not the only person in my circle that's been affected by the finality of grades. My best friend has placed in LD (Learning Disabilities) classes for her whole school experience. She frequently spoke of how teachers and our other peers disregarded her because of her grades.
She couldn't keep good grades at a trade school after she finally graduated high school, and because of her grades, she hasn't been able to go back to college since. Good grades make it so you can move on and try to learn things more complex.
It's difficult to keep in mind that grades don't define you because in many ways, grades do define you. Grades determine how intelligent you are and if you're worthy to move on. Grades reveal how much effort you put into an endeavor. Grades show people what you're capable of. Grades tell you your interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
However, the last parts of Kelly's advice are important to keep in mind as well. When grades are bearing down on your ability to function and move forward in society, you can always remember the big three's.
You are loved by your friends, family, and significant other(s). You are important to those whose lives you touch with your presence, your words, and your attention. Finally, you ARE enough - even if your grades say your not.