The importance of grades

Sasha is a junior studying Journalism/Mass Communication and Spanish at Whitworth University in Wash. state. During her time in undergrad she has studied abroad in Costa Rica and plans to spend the fall of her senior year in Argentina. Outside of her studies she enjoys singing during all hours of the day, and especially during her hours working at the campus coffeehouse. Often full of spontaneity and adventure, she likes the outdoors and any and all kinds of sports. After graduation Sasha would like to move to Nashville and pursue a career in singing performance or public relations.

I remember that first year of college when I received an “F” on one of my tests. It hurt, and it hurt badly. I had come from high school near the top of my graduating class and never received anything less than an average grade, and here I was up studying all night and producing horrible grades on my tests. I spent the next two years figuring out how to study for tests and receiving a wide array of grades in my classes. I saw that my friends were excelling and maintaining exceptional GPA’s, while all I could hope for was to pass my classes. I could not figure out what I was doing so wrong and what they were doing so right. I attended class nearly everyday, took notes, studied for tests, and did all the things good students were supposed to do, but I was not producing the grades that I wanted, and most of all the grades that I thought I deserved.

Fast-forward two years and here I am in my junior year of college and finally figuring out what it means to be a good student. I had spent the first two years of my college career so worried that I was not as smart as I thought I may have been, and comparing myself to every other student on campus. I once heard that “comparison is the thief of joy,” and this could not ring more true to my college career. Once you begin to evaluate yourself based on your own standards, you will begin to see that you are far more intelligent than you may receive “credit” for. Yes, there was a bit of a pun in there, but in hopes that this resonates with struggling students such as myself.

I would encourage students to not assess their grades and test scores, but simply of recollection and use of knowledge once you are outside of the classroom. Are you actively applying what you have learned in class to your daily life and interactions with other students and professors? How persistent and invested are you in your relationships? Could you tell someone at least five things you have learned from each of your classes who know nothing about the classes? College is a time for so much more than an evaluation of your grades, but rather and evaluation of the knowledge you can apply, the relationships you create, and the ability to think beyond the grades you receive.

Breath. Work hard and place your focus solely on what is set forth before you, and believe that you are far better than a number or a letter you receive. All you can do is the best that you can do, and your measure of success will follow.

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