“But will you be worth any less?”
One very important lesson I learned was taught to me by my current English teacher. She’s the one always reminding students that grades don’t determine intelligence, they are not worth any less due to a bad grade, bad game, or other “mess up”, and they are loved. She’s helped me to understand that it’s OKAY if I don’t get an A on every test. She’s put into perspective that, even if I do fail a test or make a mistake, I am still loved. I will still have a future. It won’t even matter ten years from now.
Going back to that first question, it comes to mind every week. It’s more of a rhetorical question than a genuine question. My English teacher knows the answer, but she asks anyway in order to remind us that one mess up does not define us. I often hear her ask this question to students who are stressing out about almost anything – sports, grades, etc… She has asked me that question a couple of times as well, and it always puts things into perspective for me. As finals are approaching, the answer to that question helps to provide some comfort.
“You will still be loved.”
That statement always follows the rhetorical question, and I find myself thinking about it every week as well. I’ve been taught that good grades are so important, and if my grades aren’t really great, then, I’m not smart.
“Less than an A does not equal failure.”
That’s an insecurity I’ve been dealing with since ninth grade. The truth is, even if I was a straight A student, I’m not so sure I’d feel any smarter. However, the second my grades drop, I seem to think my intelligence does as well. Math and physics aren’t my strongest subjects to say the least. I love both subjects, but my strength is not in either of those subjects. I prefer writing and discussing things.
Albert Einstein is the one who said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it is stupid”.
It’s an interesting quote. Our public education system expects every child to learn the very same way, while acknowledging that all of us have different stories. Every child should have straight As because, according to the government, academic subjects are the only source of intelligence.
But that’s not true.
I know people who aren’t great at all academic subjects, but they are amazing at other things. Their paintings are beautiful, their voices are lovely, their acting is incredible, their writing is rare, their athletic ability is outstanding, etc… And there are the students who can tell you anything about politics, random facts, nature, sociology, building/designing, etc… And there are the students who are great at math, science, history, and/or English, and they’re passionate about it, and that’s lovely. I believe that, in general, everybody is intelligent in some way.
Finals are next week, and I hope everyone will remember that their grades don’t determine nearly as much as we are taught they do. And I know that’s hard to. As finals get closer, my classmates and I become more stressed. We tend to get into this mentality that we’re not good enough, that we’re stupid, that we’re never going to amount to anything. We seem to think these grades are going to define our futures. We feel this pressure that we have to have straight As to be good enough, and we take it too hard when we get a low grade as though that low grade defines us.
Study for finals. Do your best. Do NOT stay up all night studying, depriving yourself of sleep. Try to prevent yourself from getting too stressed/overworked by taking breaks every 45 minutes to an hour. Overworking yourself and stressing yourself out won’t help you do any better on your final exams. It’s okay to want to do well; I want to do well. But it’s important to remember that your life is not coming down to these grades. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY, no matter what grade you end up with. A bad grade does not equate to a lack of intelligence. You’ve done your best, you’re still smart, you still have a bright future, and you will not be worth any less.
As my English teacher always says:
“You will still be loved.”