Always Remember: You are More Than Your Grades
As society evolves and technology advances, the need for certain jobs lessens and new jobs to accommodate this change are created. This development has resulted in a significant shift in the education system and what subjects are available to students. Futhermore, the amount and difficulty of content students are required to learn today is, in most cases, substantially more than it was in the past. It is now very common that amongst families, schools, teachers, and peers, a lot of emphasis is placed on grades and exam results. I believe this has created a culture for some teenagers where the feeling is “you are your grades”. It is easy to be unknowingly drawn into this mindset when it feels like everyone around you is pressuring you to extend yourself so impossibly far to achieve high marks.
One important piece of advice I received from a teacher related to this is a reminder that my grades do not determine my identity and that I can turn any pressure to perform into something positive. This teacher told me to not let my grades define me, but to let them motivate me. This piece of advice was valuable to me and is so pertinent to all students going through the education system.
When I was given this advice, it brought everything back into perspective. It is easy to get caught up in the constancy of school, it can become a lifestyle for some rather than a part of their life, and their grades, to some degree, determine their identity. Of course, it is inevitable to be disappointed by grades if they don’t meet your expectation, but you can turn this disappointment into determination, and work hard to improve them. This advice helped me a lot with my learning, which then translated to my grades. It put into perspective how irrational my stress was and made me determined to take these grades as a nudge of encouragement to improve. Not only did it motivate me to do better, it also took any undue sense of failure away and replaced it with something more productive. While the importance of grades cannot be denied, a number, letter, or percentage on a piece of paper should not have such effects on your sense of worth or identity, and I hope this advice will help other students, as well.
By Georgia, Year 12, YCIS Pudong Secondary
This article was first published in the October 2019 print edition of Shanghai Daily's Education Express.