Grades do matter. But they don’t define who we are and what we are capable of.
It’s common for parents to check how well their child is doing at school by looking at their report cards or test scores. When a student receives a failing or low grade, they are likely to get scolded by a parent for not giving enough effort and for not studying hard. Parents tend to react this way because they believe grades reflect a child’s effort. From homeworks, projects, quizzes to seat works—all of these factors add up as the final grade.
As a result, students do their best to get good grades, because a failing grade usually means a lack of intelligence and a reason for their parents’ disappointment. In short, game over.
But is it, really?
Learning vs Surviving
According to a study by Learning Heroes, parents care so much about their child’s grades because it is their main source of information on how their child is doing at school. Likewise, teachers assess a student’s performance based on grades.
Due to parental and peer pressure, school has become a battleground instead of a learning institution. Students compete with each other to get the “valedictorian” spot, reserved for the student with the highest average grade. Moreover, some students struggle to get a passing grade just to gain a diploma, one’s passport to getting a job.
I remember having failing grades in math, and thinking it was the end of the world. I thought, “grades are just numbers but it seems that they already hold my fate and who I really am.” The worst part was, I labeled myself as “stupid.” All because of a number.
That’s why the term “stuDYING” became popular; instead of truly studying, you end up “Dying” due to the pressure of getting a high grade.
The true measure of intelligence
We’ve grown to believe that grades measure our intelligence. But one thing grades cannot measure is our internal strengths. These abilities include social and emotional intelligence. A student needs these qualities to become a well-rounded individual.
Emotional intelligence will push you to learn, live and grow. And a fixation on grades hinders true learning. It also gives you the illusion that getting good grades guarantees success for the rest of your life, when in reality, it takes more than that. When you finally realize that grades don’t define you, you’ll be more confident to take on challenges, and accept failures and learn from them.
Grades do matter. But so do other things such as character. Don’t let your grades define you because you are definitely more than that.
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