Grades Are Not Everything

Yes, I said it. GRADES ARE NOT EVERYTHING. In the moment, sometimes a grade you get that’s poor feels like the end of the world. But trust me when I say it’s not.

I want to share an anecdote from today. I was a few minutes early to class so I peered in the room and there was still a student or two in there finishing a physics quiz. The professor orchestrating the quiz told me to come in and they were just finishing up, realizing they were running over. This kid couldn’t figure out the answer to the quiz for the life of him and he realized he wasn’t going to, so he handed the quiz in without an answer. The professor felt so bad for him and decided to go over the quiz quickly, and when the professor did, this student understood perfectly and realized how simple it actually was. He was SO mad at himself for blanking and got really upset. He started crying, saying how this ONE QUESTION quiz was worth so much of his great and he really messed up. I felt awful for him. The professor was so nice about it, trying to make this student feel better. He was saying things along the lines of, “Hey, it’s only one quiz and we’re going to drop the lowest grade. Don’t worry. We all have slip ups and blank on things. Stop beating yourself up about it. In five years, this isn’t going to matter at all. You’re going to graduate and get a good job and be successful. I think you’re a great person and student, and feel lucky you’re even alive. This quiz shouldn’t cause you this much turmoil and trust me, your grade will be okay!”

I was there (awkwardly) listening to the situation and the whole time I was thinking, YES. Thankfully, I’m graduate in May, but I remember times getting SO upset about grades, but it’s so true. Your grade (usually) ends up being fine and you had that mental breakdown for no reason. I did really poorly on an assignment while studying abroad in Australia and I remember skyping my mom crying over it. I WAS STUDYING ABROAD. WHO CARES? Obviously if you’re failing that’s a whole other thing, but as long as you’re trying your best and doing mostly well, that’s all you can really hope for. And even so, these grades aren’t going to matter soon. Once you get your first job or get a graduate degree, who is ever going to ask to see the grades you got? Things work out, but people gets so worked up over grades when there’s really no reason to. But our school system puts so much pressure on students that they can’t help but feel this way. We’re all humans! We can’t always get great grades! No matter what the professor really said though, this student was still upset over taking the 0.

Grades aren’t the most important thing. Striving for that 4.0 is probably unrealistic. Cut yourself some slack and just breathe because I promise, everything will be okay!



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