Let me tell you a little about myself.

I was the girl in high school who got by and people wondered how this was possible. I put in minimum, if any effort in my schoolwork, though I was taking Honors and AP classes, for the most part. Often times, I did my homework before class started, copied off someone, used Quizlet, asked the morning class what problems were on the quiz/test, missed classes — everything we are to some degree guilty of.

Nevertheless, I had a near-perfect GPA. That GPA meant nothing to me.

During my junior and senior year, I worked 20-30 hours a week. For three years, I was class president. I did community service in school and outside of school. I was committed to everything except my academics, and managed to get a good GPA.

Time and again, we put ourselves down for not having that 4.0 GPA. “Man, if I had just studied for that exam, if I had just done the homework, instead of copying, if I had just started this assignment earlier, if I had just... ” How about,“if the school system was just a little less messed up”? I like that one better.

You see, I doubted myself repeatedly. Surrounding me were those students who were annoyed at a 95% when the average was a 60%. Surrounding me were people whose only focus was academics: the know-it-alls, the teacher’s pets, the kiss-ups... you name it. I wasn’t any of those. Yet, surrounding myself with those kinds of people for a long time made me feel inferior.

I was the girl in high school who got by and people wondered how. Here’s how.

I channeled my energy elsewhere. As I mentioned earlier, I was class president for three years. For three years, I was the brains behind countless events, activities, projects, etc. That was the only reason I made it through four years of high school. I realized that I wasn’t “Farah Shallan, 3.7 GPA.” I was “Farah Shallan, class president.” Heck, I know I don’t deserve that 3.7 GPA, but I do deserve my title as class president.

I don’t mean to belittle the efforts of a student with a 4.0 GPA — Hey, good for you. But, that also goes to say that those who don’t have perfect GPA’s shouldn’t be belittled. Many people are artistically, athletically, or creatively inclined, but that doesn’t show on a GPA. While you should aim for a high GPA, remember that it does not define you.

To the students who don’t have perfect GPA’s: if a low IQ can’t define a president, your GPA can’t define you, either.