Growing up in a South-Asian household, I have been told numerous times that “Anything less than 100 is unacceptable.” Of course, this never meant a lot to me when I was young, but after I realized how proud my parents were of my older sister’s academic achievements, there was a part of me that desired that same happiness. After that, my grades were better than they’ve ever been, and I’ve kept the same work ethic since.
That was over five years ago, and a lot has changed for me personally since then. I now question whether or not grades really matter. My grades are still exemplary, but for what? What am I doing this for? Sure, it matters for college, careers, and whatnot, but all things come to an end. So does life. I’m not bringing my transcript with me to my grave. God isn’t going to be judging if I passed a class, what college I went to, or what career I pursued. So do grades really matter?
But the studying and doing homework and extra preparation for all of my classes is the only way of academic life I’ve been exposed to. The cycle is so ingrained into my head that it’s way too late for me to be able to just change and act like I don’t care about how low my grades get. It’s too late. No matter how hard I try, how tired I get, I’ll never be able to quit this work ethic. Sometimes I just feel like it’s a waste of time. Why bother, right?
If I’m being totally honest with you, I’d say that I already started to care less about my grades, but it hasn’t gotten to a point where I’m failing all of my classes or I’m not showing up to school. It’s just that I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t center my life around school. There’s so much more to enjoy, to fight for, to see…than simply school. Life isn’t about getting an A+ in all of your classes; it’s about what you did to make the world a better place, or how you’ve helped the people around you, or what you’ve done for your community. My life could end at any moment, but how has my life impacted the world? Who are my grades going to help after I’m gone? Will my grades be enough to take me to heaven?
If I could change anything about myself, I would go back in time and tell myself that I should never make my life revolve around academics. Above all, having a good heart and mindset comes first.
No one wants to learn anything the hard way, but I unfortunately had to regarding this matter. This past October, I’ve dealt with two deaths. It was a terrible time for me, and on top of that, I had my first SAT that Saturday. I was nowhere near ready. But I didn’t cram like I would normally before a big test—I told myself that it’s more important to help the people around me. Yet still, I couldn’t bring myself to miss ONE day of school. For the first time, I burst out crying in school for an entire hour. That’s when I realized that I could be doing so much more that would make my life meaningful even after I die.