How many times in your life have you been asked, “How is school?” And how many times have you replied, “Oh its great! I’ve made so many friends. I’m having so much fun.” And the person that asked you the question just looks at you and chuckles and says “Okay…but how are your grades?” This has happened to me too many times. I was always told, “grades don’t define you” but don’t they? That’s all anyone really cares about isn’t it? No one really cares that you’re having fun or that you’ve made so many good friends or that you’re super involved on campus. All they want to know is if you have good grades and will be a doctor within the next eight years.

Think about it. What’s the one thing that gets you into college? Grades. Everything is based on your GPA. If you want to get into a good college/university you have to have good grades. Especially now when it’s getting more and more competitive. Once you get into college you then have to maintain that good GPA to get into graduate school, dental school, medical school, or any further learning you wish to do. Even to get a job your GPA matters. If someone with a 3.7 GPA applies for a job but so does someone with a 3.9 GPA the job will most likely go to the person with the higher GPA. That isn’t always true but in most cases it will happen that way.

It is the same thing with standardized testing. ACTs, SATs, the MCATS, DCATS, LSATs, all of them. It doesn’t matter if you can perform surgery or clean teeth better than anyone else. If you can’t pass the tests than you can’t do what you want to do. It is all about the grades you get. Sometimes it is all that matters to people.

The first thing asked when you come home from school is “How are your grades?” There’s no beating around the bush. Your parents want to know and they wont quit until they do. Why is that all that matters? Does it really matter if you are trying your best but your grades don’t reflect it? I wish I could say yes. But no, it doesn’t. To some people, you’re not really trying if you’re grades don’t show it.

That’s the sad thing. You could be doing everything right. You could be utilizing every resource, spending hours in the library, have tutors, study groups, doing everything you possibly can, but your grades don’t turn out the way you want them to. And when they don’t, people think less of you. They don’t think you’re smart enough to be in your major or sometimes you’re not even smart enough to be at your school. It’s sad.

I want to be able to tell you your grades don’t matter and they don’t define you. I want to be able to say that grades and GPA are just a number, but in reality, they’re not. They mean more than you think and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about it.

Just keep your head up and do your best. There are people that believe in you. You will succeed in whatever you wish to do. Just have the mind and courage to believe it and take it to where you want to go.