Do Our Grades Define Us?


Andrew Curdy, Staff Writer

People often feel like their worth is defined by the grades they get throughout their academic careers. The question that we often find ourselves asking is: “Do our grades define us? Do they limit our ability to live our lives and have a positive impact on the world?”

Natalie Galindo and Anna Cook spoke on their experiences with grades and the way their grades make them feel. When asked how she felt her grades affect her as a person, Natalie said, “It really depends on how I’m feeling. Sometimes I don’t let my grades define me, but there are definitely times where I feel bad about myself for having a grade lower than I’d like. Then it spirals into worrying about the future and all those things to come.” Anna also noted, “My grades definitely have a large impact on my life. When my grades are good, I feel very successful and accomplished. When they start to drop, however, it often comes with a deterioration in my mental health as well. If I get a low grade on something, it can easily turn into an anxiety spiral.”

When asked if they feel their grades limit them in any way, they had overwhelmingly similar responses. Natalie said, “I do feel like they limit me. It feels like my grades are the only thing that I have to prove that I am smart and good enough for certain things. They stop me from taking classes that are more challenging because I worry I can’t do it.” Anna responded by saying, “My grades can definitely limit me. I’ll be scared to take harder classes in fear of getting a worse grade and will sometimes choose to take harder classes with the only goal of raising my GPA, even if I don’t care about the class.”

When asked about what they would change regarding the way our educational systems are structured, they gave genuine heartfelt responses. Natalie said, “I would change how people use grades to define themselves. We are so much more than our grades. Yes, they are important but there is much more to a person outside of how well they can perform in school.” Anna also said, “If I could do anything to change the way society teaches, I would put less pressure on grades and more on learning, and retaining content. People also often memorize material just long enough to test on it and then immediately forget everything, so there should be fewer tests with lower grades and more regarding homework and participation. In addition, school days should be shorter.”

Natalie and Anna gave some great answers that most, if not all of us, can definitely relate too!

If you take anything away from this article, it should be to live your life. Grades are important and you should work hard to obtain them, but grades shouldn’t define the person you are. Like everything else in life, you are enough. Don’t let a number on a piece of paper limit your impact on the world!