In the midst of finals, every college kid is probably scrambling trying to figure out how to make a 230 on their final to make an A in the class. We're all sleep deprived, over caffeinated, human stress balls that haven't had a proper meal in who knows how long. While none of this is healthy, we all need a reminder to bring us back to reality. Your degree isn't about you, so you can relax a little.

I know it's hard to really tell yourself, "If I don't have a 3.5, I will still be okay" but it is true. You don't have to make A's or even B's all the time. Sometimes we barely get by with a D and that's all we need and we're just happy we never have to see that professor again. I know for me, and for many others, it is a pride thing. Part of me needs to make good grades because I don't want to have to admit that I barely passed or even fail occasionally. But at the end of the day, we all fail.

Failing a test or even a class does not make you any less of a person. Trust me, I know at the moment, you think it does define you. I can't even count the number of times I have said: "I know I'm not stupid but the TAMU math department really says otherwise." Sometimes we try our best and it's just not enough. And we look around at how good others are doing and end up degrading ourselves even more. It's hard to admit but that's honestly such a selfish habit. I do it all the time, but I know I should be telling myself other things. My pride is telling me people will think less of me and that my life is going to be drastically changed because I don't make good grades, which isn't really true. (Also why do I care what "that kid from o-chem" says when I won't even know them after this class is over... we definitely shouldn't care about those things)

You have specific strengths and weaknesses that make you unique. Some people can just view numbers like it's their first language, while others can write like it's their sole purpose in life. You might not even know what your strengths are yet, and that is okay too. Just remember that your GPA does not define you. Your character defines you. I promise you, having a good work ethic and kind heart will get you a lot farther in life than having a 4.0.

Your degree is not for you. It is for all of the people you can help with it. Whether you are an educator, accountant, doctor or even a stay at home parent, you will impact someone's life. You work hard for that degree, but what really matters is what you do with it. How are you going to influence people's lives around you? How can you positively impact someone's life?

As a religious person, it goes deeper for me. It isn't just who am I going to help, but how can I further His kingdom? I believe the Lord has me on a specific plan for a specific purpose. The people I meet along the way can change my life and I can change theirs. At the end of the day, God doesn't care if I have a 4.0 or a 2.0. The transcript He sees is full of love and selfless service, not hours spent at the library or how many Q drops I used.

I believe that if you do your part, God will do His. You can't study for a B and pray for an A. I have a relatively clear view of what my plan is, and I know I need to make good grades to get there, but I also know that it's okay if I don't have perfect grades. I will end up where I am supposed to be. If that means amazing grades and working at top research institutes awesome if it means an average GPA and a company that wasn't even on my radar that's great too. I know wherever I go, I can learn and be shaped. I can be a light to others in any situation. I can love others the way Jesus does in any situation. God will use me wherever He takes me. And the same goes for you too.

These principles apply to you, even if you aren't religious. You can make the best of any situation. Take each failure as a learning experience. What can you do differently next time? Were you kind along the way, or were you selfish? There are people who help us along the way, and we should repay the favor. Better yourself, but remember to help others too.

Don't let failure define you. You are much more than a grade on a paper, or a title on a diploma. You have so much to offer that has nothing to do with your GPA. I'll let you in on a secret, you can be smart and kind at the same time. You don't have to be so competitive that you won't teach others and share your strengths. We ALL need help from time to time, even if you won't admit it. Rejoice in your successes but stay humble. Remember the ultimate goal.

1 Peter 5:6–7 'Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.'

Your degree is going to open up many doors for you. Whether those opportunities are your dream job or not, look closely at them. Allow yourself to be open to what God is showing you and where He is taking you. Take your pride out of the situation and really ask yourself, how can I really best use my strengths? How can I further His kingdom in this situation? How can I best love others and help others in this situation?