Ever since I could remember, I identified myself as “the girl with the brains”, “the smart one”, the Hermione Granger of the school. All of those titles held very true for me in the past. Now, not so much, and it’s hard to swallow. I just got out of a Calculus exam that I felt semi-comfortable going into. Now that I have completed the test and took a deep breath, I feel nervous and anxious.
Since coming to college, I have been knocked down a few a lot of pegs from where I was in school previously to now. I am not the top of my class anymore. I don’t always get As. I don’t always do well on assignments. It stings and it hurts.
For years and years my grades/intelligence is where I put a majority of my identity into. Now that I can evaluate my past, I realized that it was not a healthy thing. My worth came from a letter grade on a piece of paper, and it relied solely on me. That is a ton of pressure on one person. I was able to handle it during middle school and high school years because school was relatively easy for me. I worked for my grades and I put in the effort, but it was not so much of a challenge.
Now it’s a challenge.
Being in college is a whole different level. You get so much more independence and workload than you do in earlier grades. Transitioning from high school to college was pretty standard for me I would say. I didn’t feel like I was drowning, but I didn’t think it was easy, either. One of the hardest obstacles for me to (still) overcome is not putting so much importance on grades.
Grades are important, yes, but they are not important enough to lose sleep over it, cry hysterically, or punish oneself. I know that to hold true, the hard part though is believing it.
I need to let my perfectionism of grades go. My value is worth so much more than a letter in the alphabet. My value comes from being a child of God, a daughter, a compassionate citizen, and so much more. I cannot put all of my worth in one fluctuating variable that relies on me. I am human and thus I am not always reliable so how is it healthy to put my value into something I more or less can control?
My biology professor is magnificent. He is also one of the hardest graders I have ever met. I went to him for help on a concept. After getting help it probably looked like I was discouraged and tired because, well, I was. Why wasn’t I getting this right away? Why did I get a C on the quiz? I could be doing so much better! One thing my professor preaches is that we learn more from our mistakes than we do successes.
The more I analyze that statement, the more sense it makes. If everything would come easy, are we really gaining anything? I would get an A on a test in high school. I doubt that I can recall everything on that test if you ask me the questions on it. However, I am more prone to remember a question I got wrong because it sends on red flag saying “Hey, you need to look over this and keep learning it.” Mistakes stick in more ways than one. They stick in your head for a long time and they stick you in your pride.
I am not the best, or even a great student anymore. However, I am learning a multitude more of information in college than I ever did in the past.