The stress I deal with as a college student is vastly different than that of a high schooler because there are so many other things besides academics that I have to keep up with. I have to remember to eat three meals a day, maintain a somewhat clean room, be involved in extracurriculars, not spend too much money, and then also study enough and get good grades.

So far, college has taught me how to manage my time and be more independent. I went to the same school for 13 years and am an only child. Even though I miss it at times, I feel very good about myself when I can survive a full 24 hours without my very helpful mother holding my hand, answering all of my questions, and reminding me to do important things that I would usually otherwise forget.

For me, I get really scared about the future. I worry that I won't get a good job or make enough money. I think I'll disappoint my parents, myself, and my family. The root of all these worries are my grades, and grades in general. I stress over individual bad grades too much and do my own mini-calculations to see how I can get the best grade possible in specific courses. I know a lot of parents (especially the Indian ones) will hate to see me say this, but grades aren't everything. Yes, they are important, but they do not matter that much. A letter does not define a person's worth or intelligence, and neither should a number. What truly matters, is how hard you work and what that work means to you. Is it something you're proud of? Are you happy? These are the questions I try to ask myself more now.

Don't get me wrong, I am quite aware that my parents are paying a large amount of money for me to come to Elon, and I still do my best to make the best grades that I can, but I also don't let them define me. I know that I am capable of achieving both success and happiness, and I don't need a number to tell me that.