My education should matter more than my grades


Ava Bruce, Staff Writer

From my entry into high school, I had the goal of being valedictorian. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to achieve, but I decided that I might as well give it a try. If I could go back, I would beg my freshman self to kick that goal to the curb.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting good grades, but it becomes toxic when it is what drives your confidence and self-worth. It seems that for so many students, their definition of self is based on their academic achievements, when that is so far from the truth. Of course it is important to care about grades and to care about putting in effort, but that work does not define who you are as a person.

As I approach my exit from high school, I look back on my previous years and wonder why I held myself to such high standards. I got my first B this year, removing myself from the pool of valedictorians. This was my worst fear because I felt that my grades defined who I was, but after it actually happened, I realized that all I felt was relief. That was when I understood how much pressure I put on myself in academics and how counterproductive this pressure was.

Throughout my final semester of high school, I felt happier and less stressed. The knowledge that I was still the same person before and after my top-of-the-class status allowed me to let go of the rigidity around school and to focus on my education rather than my grades. I think the pressure surrounding grades takes away from the actual education of students because we are all so focused on a number rather than the knowledge. 

After letting go of perfection, school has become so much more enjoyable. For anyone who struggles with obsession over perfect grades, remember that they are the least interesting thing about you. It’s important to put in effort and to care about your education, but if I have learned anything throughout high school, it is that grades truly do not reflect that.