I’m not really sure when this whole grades thing started. I looked up the creator of the GPA system and it was made by a guy named William. Will seems pretty legit. I know he was just trying to make it easier for himself when it came to grading mass amounts of students, so I’m not hating on him. What I am hating on, is the idea that imperfect humans are measured by tests that were created by other imperfect humans.
I am one of those imperfect humans who was measured by the standards of others, but in my case, I have always strived for the perfect GPA. When people would ask me how I got good grades, I would simply state that I was “just ambitious”. I made it seem like it was natural. Like I came out the womb knowing how to find logs and describe the process of mitosis. I talked as if getting good grades was just a part of who I was. I didn’t notice it then, but it was a part of my identity and followed me for years down the line.
It was all people ever really knew about me. It was how people described me when talking to other people. It was all my family and friends ever asked me about. It was what I thought about all the time and it became how I determined my future success. I began to find comfort in the conversations centered around this topic- mainly because it always led to someone telling me how great I was or how proud of me they were. It was how I defined myself. It was who I was- my grades, my GPA- so I began to measure myself by it.
Honestly, it was overwhelming. I was in a constant fight to keep a 4.0 because somewhere along the way I believed the idea that if I got anything less that I just wasn’t good enough. I believed that my grades (that were given by another human’s standards- mind you) determined my worth, my success, my happiness, my worthiness to be a wife or mom in the future, and people’s love for me.
As I sat before my computer this semester, looking at my foggy grades through sobbing eyes. I just kept beating myself up over them.
“Why didn’t you try harder?” “What if you would’ve studied better?” “What’s going to happen when your next school doesn’t want you because of these grades?” “You just must not be good enough for a good grade- no matter how hard you tried.”
Maybe you were in this fog as well. Maybe you’ve had the same thoughts or maybe a variation. Maybe you’ve felt like you’ve always tried to reach the top of this totem pole and you just never measured up. Maybe you’ve failed your parents’ expectations, your friends’ expectations, and your own expectations for yourself. And maybe you just feel D E F E A T E D by your GPA.
“You are not defined by your grades. I am in control.”
It was the soft whisper of words that I heard behind my wails of sobbing. I tried to brush it off because I had heard it so many times, but it kept coming up in my mind over and over. That’s what I had to hold on to, and that’s what I still have to hold on to. The fact that God still loves me despite what I make for a final grade and the fact that my identity is not pulled by any scale or determined by any number. My identity is an unwavering foundation. That I am loved, called, chosen, and wanted no matter what I do or what grades I make. It was determined when Jesus died on the cross- THAT’S how much I’m worth. Point blank. Period.
God loves you and me so deeply. He has AMAZING plans for us, and he’s not going to let a GPA get in his way. If he wants you in that school, you’ll be accepted. If he wants you at that job or if he wants you to get that degree, you won’t get it a day later than you’re supposed to. God is always on time. He never fails. He is always giving good things.
I know this season may be rough for you, but you are not defeated. You are not alone. You are not stupid. You are not forgotten. You are not your “C” or your “D” or any other grade they want to define you by. You are you. I’m sorry that the system has failed to let you know that. They have forced you to believe that a letter grade is who you are. They you’ll fail in life if you don’t get a certain GPA or that you’re just not as good as those who are on top. Or those who are on top can believe they are the ones that have got it all together. Don’t become a slave to this mentality. It will drag you around for the rest of your life keeping you striving for a fulfillment that will never be there.
So give yourself a stinking high five. Yes, give it to yourself. Because you made it. Through the long sleepless nights, mental breakdowns, and crazy schedules- you made it here. You made it this far. THIS is your celebration. THIS is your victory. Don’t look at your grades again, and stop thinking about the what ifs. You’re not going to get those moments back, so tread forward. As the wise words of Jay-Z would say, “Get that dirt off your shoulder” and run towards your dreams. God is before you rooting you on and fist pumping while screaming your name along the way. You are not the number you see or the statistic they label you by.
You are a freaking world changer.