I am not My GPA: Tales of an Average Student

By Allison Williams

3:30pm. My phone vibrates and I take it out, hoping it’s a funny text message from my friends or a cute message from bae. My dreams were quickly denied when I saw that it was an automatic text from ELC that contained the grade of a recent assignment.

I opened the message and it read “ECON2105 Prin of Macroecon: Your grade for Test 2 has been updated. Your grade is 72%.” I closed the message and tried to make sense of it all; I did everything right. I studied, took notes, and it was an open book online exam!

I could’ve googled everything if I wanted to. Then it hit me; after all those weeks of frustration and denial I let the truth crash over me like a tidal wave. I was average. Mediocre. Ordinary. I was not the student I once was and to tell you the truth I didn’t know how to take that.

I panicked as I worried about not getting accepted into my major, losing HOPE, and basically failing at life. After a string of tears and a meeting with the university therapist I shook off (some) of the sadness and declared, “I am not my GPA.”

I always knew that school wasn’t for everybody; I mostly applied this to those who weren’t enrolled in any post-secondary institutions. It took me a little longer to realize that school wasn’t even for some people who were actually in school. All of the graded assignments and the pressure to do well create a disheartening atmosphere for those who aren’t every professor’s wet dream.

We lose focus and may become unsure of our purpose or where we’re headed in life. Because so much value is placed on that number, a not-so-fabulous GPA (especially to those students in “easier” majors) can make you feel like college was a huge mistake and you’d be better off anywhere but in those lecture halls.

Luckily, being an average student does not signal the end of the world, and you are worth more than just your GPA.

How do you cope with being average? You just accept it. Literally get over it. Once it hits you it may take a while to internalize but after that you run with it. This is who you are; you may not understand some of the material your classmates understand, and you may not want to.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t even care to be the smartest person in the room. (Tip: don’t be like me.) When you come to realize that certain subjects or concepts just won’t click, then you go to plan B. Working with what you’ve got becomes more important than ever.

Career consultants everywhere will tell you that a high GPA is not a golden ticket to a job offer, and that the transferable skills you possess, paired with a solid network and a good work ethic, makes you a hot commodity. You have to remember that life stops for no one, and just because your first plan doesn’t fully work out, or that you’re not the student someone else wants you to be, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Remember that there’s more to college than your GPA, and that there’s more to life than college.

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