I'm the student that writes five pages instead of three. If the professor asks for exactly three pages, I will write all the way down to the bottom of the third page and maybe extend to a fourth if I have to.
I've always been an overachiever. If you ask my mom what type of person I am, one of her go-to answers is saying I'm an overachiever. All throughout my years in grade school, I worked hard to get the best grades possible.
This was not because I was worried about what my parents might say if I didn't do well, but because I wanted to do well for myself.
During my junior year of high school, I received a 'B' in a class for the first time since middle school. That may seem like an amazing grade to some, but for me, it was the end of the world.
I remember going to my parents when the final grade was posted, crying because I tried so hard, yet it didn't show through the grade I received. My parents and friends both always console me with the classic line of "One grade doesn't define your life" - which is true, but it is something that is very hard for me to wrap my head around.
I know this one moment doesn't define me or determine my future, but it makes me feel as if I failed myself.
Don't ask me why I feel that way, because I truly have no idea. One may take a Freudian approach to it and say I look at grades this way because of an underlying issue from my past, but I believe I was just born this way. I take value in my grades because it is something I spend so much time and effort on to ensure I do well.
While this educational lifestyle may seem ideal, it is also extremely toxic.
There have been weekends and afternoons spent crying over getting a lower grade than anticipated on a test and you know what? I'm tired of having those days. This is not a way of saying I am giving up on my grades, but I'm definitely going to be taking a step back of always trying to be on the top of each class I'm in.
Of course, I'm still going to be an overachiever - that's something I can't help. However, I will embrace every B, C, or D thrown my way and take it as a reminder that one grade, one moment, one little question can never define you as a person/student/human being.
To my fellow students who follow the same mindset: these long nights, tears, and effort are worth it, but they are not worth all the emotional stress we put ourselves through.
As we enter into the hell that is the end of the semester, remember to take a deep breath and give yourself time to relax. One letter can never define who we are and what we do for the rest of our lives.