Why Grades Will Never Determine Your Success

Why Grades Will Never Determine Your Success

Just because you fail a class doesn't mean you are a failure.

As the spring semester is upon us, we are telling ourselves that we are ‘determined’ to get straight A’s this semester. That we will study for at least four hours a night, and to stay on top of things. As we all know this is true for ever college student, for about a week. Then life kicks in. You have to work after class, you get sick, or you procrastinate everything to the very last minute. Then things get harder as the semester goes on, and it seems that the more you study, the worse you do on quizzes and exams.

Going through high school and college, everyone talks about grades. People are going around comparing ACT scores and talking about how ‘bad’ they are doing when they got a 90 on a test. Those people drive me, (and I’m sure they drive you too) crazy. They can make you feel discouraged, and maybe a little stupid, which is exactly what you aren’t.

As a millennial, our generation is still in high school/college, and maybe just being a few years out of college. We are a pretty emotional generation, and that we sometimes let words get to us. Hearing about how well people did on a test, or that they got into a really hard school/program, can make us feel a little under accomplished. You compare those scores to your scores, and how well you do, and it makes you feel like garbage. You are trying your hardest and studying really hard, why aren’t you getting the same scores as them?

Here is the answer: there is no answer. That’s just the way it is. Some people naturally retain and pick up on information easier than others and are really good at school. However, you (the one who struggles with getting good grades, even though you study your a** off) are at an advantage. With all of the studying and extra miles you are going to understand a concept, you are building a work ethic.

When you get out into the real world, and find a real job, are they going to sit and go through your transcripts and see how you did in English 101 freshman year? No, they are going to see that you went to college and got some degree and have some higher education, they don’t care what grade you got in that class.

Now, let’s say that you get hired. You are completely qualified for the job. You have been there for a little while, and you begin to apply yourself, working hard to make sure you do the right job, and understand things clearly so you can do your job correctly.

Your boss sees that you are improving the company and working really hard (based off your work ethic that you developed throughout your academic career) and…you get promoted because you are applying yourself and working hard! So, let me ask you this, does this have anything to do with how well you did in a class? No!

Don’t get me wrong, work hard in school and always try to get A’s, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world. If you are working hard and trying your very best, that is all that matters. Grades do not determine success, you do.

Cover Image Credit: Emma McAllister

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Dear Senioritis, You Have Taken Many Of My Bretheren, But You Shall Not Take Me

Bring. It. On.


It is one of the deadliest diseases known to high schoolers around the world. It takes the lives of thousands every year in high schools big and small. It rampages and destroys grades and social lives everywhere. Even worse, it is one of the oldest plagues with no known cure that every generation has dealt with.

What could I possible be talking about?

Senioritis, of course. Senioritis, as described by Google, is a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance. Basically, it's the last semester of high school, and no one cares about anything but graduation. Symptoms include countdowns written on classroom white boards, college commitments and having no care in the world about anything. In severe cases, students fall so sick, they have to skip school for days on end. It is truly a nightmare. All attentiveness in classroom goes downhill.

There is only one medicine shown to have some effect on the illness, and that would be final exam exemption. A motivation for seniors to keep their grades above an 80 or 85, depending on the school, so they can exempt their final exams. While it is not a complete cure, it does help remove side effects as students are now forced to work hard enough to maintain the necessary grade for exemption.

The past semester, I have lost many friends and foes to senioritis. It does not discriminate between male or female, big or small, rich or poor. I am afraid. I am afraid I will be next. As the next semester begins, I am afraid I will be its next victim. It is only getting stronger by the minute. And as the days goes by, it will gather its forces: school field trips, prom, spring break. I pray that I will be spared, but that is rarely heard of.

I was able to avoid Senior Skip Days last semester. Others were not so lucky. But in this war, it is all for themselves. I have done much research, but they are all inconclusive. Nothing seems to work. Changing sleeping schedules, hanging out with friends, setting goals — it all depends on the person.

As college application season has passed, we now only wait for results, but until then... what? What will happen? Will a cure be found, or will we all be doomed to this plague? If there is anyone out there who reads this, I forewarn you — save yourself. Find a cure. If not, you will end up like me or worse. For now, all I can say is that it is unavoidable. Sooner or later, it takes over. The real question is: who's next?

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