Ever since I can remember, I have constantly strived to do well in school. This dates back even as far as elementary school, when I was doing multiplication and division in the second grade and would get upset when I got lower than a 90.
In high school, I took difficult courses and worked hard to do well because I thought it would mean getting into the best college possible. But after going through the college process and finding my way at my current university, I have come to the realization that yes, grades do matter. But they are certainly not everything.
Your GPA doesn’t define you. You are not a 3.49, a 2.7 or a 4.0. You are a human being, and there is so much more to you then any academic transcript could ever reveal.
This past finals week, it truly broke my heart to see my peers stress out to the point that they did. In fact, I think I broke my own heart by stressing so much to ace my exams. But after having a day or two to recover, I realize that I should never let the stress of school impact my overall well-being.
Yes, your GPA is important. Yes, it will help you get into a competitive college or master’s program, and yes it will help you get a job. But there is so much more to you, and you can’t forget that.
College (as well as other schooling) is a time for growth and discovery, as well as academic enrichment. College would not be what it was if it weren’t for the amazing friends, clubs and memories I have made.
Sometimes focusing so much on your GPA and grades can truly take away from the experience of learning, too. When was the last time you actually appreciated a class without thinking about the grade you were going to get? When was the last time you actually allowed yourself to learn for the sake of learning rather than the sake of getting a good grade?
I know grades are important, and I am not encouraging otherwise. Rather, instead of putting so much emphasis on your GPA, maybe it’s time to let yourself breathe a little bit. Maybe it’s time to be okay with getting that B in the class that is really difficult for you, that you still worked so hard for. Maybe it’s time to accept that you simply can’t have it all, and sometimes finding a balance really is key.
So while yes, it is important to focus on academics and to work hard, it is also important to make memories that will last a lifetime. You won’t get this time back, unfortunately, and if you’re anything like me, I think you owe it to yourself to start enjoying it a little more.
A number does not define who you are, and beyond these few years, it will have such a small impact. Work hard, but don’t forget yourself and your happiness (and let’s face it— sanity) in the process.