Your Grades Don’t Define You

“Your grades don’t define you.”

The words were written on the whiteboard of my advanced composition class the morning after we turned in our first assignment. The professor explained that we were all defined thousands of years ago by God and our grades shouldn’t define us.

I immediately agreed with this statement, though it’s still hard to completely accept. I don’t let my grades define me, but I know that these letters are an important part of how I view myself. I see myself as the person who always gets straight A’s and, if I don’t achieve that goal, it can sometimes present a challenge for me. I struggled in advanced composition when I received my first paper back and there was a C scrawled on the paper. I wasn’t use to this. The lowest grade I could remember getting on a paper was a B, and that was one that I knew wasn’t good.

I struggled with dealing with my personal perceived inadequacy in the class. However, in the end I got an -A. But there have been other classes where, no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t obtain that coveted A. Those experience showed me I wasn’t comfortable with receiving less than high grades. I’ve had to examine why the grade bothers me so much and learn to detach my worth from the letter.

I’m learning that I don’t have to be perfect in everything. I’ll probably never be completely comfortable with grades, but I’m getting better about it. I encourage all new and current students to try their best, but be content even if your best doesn’t earn you that A.

About the author

Sarah White

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