A few weeks ago, I got my first graded paper of the school year. I knew it was going to be a bad grade because I didn’t try my hardest and my T.A. already told us not to expect much better than a C, but when I saw the C+ on my paper, it felt like a slap in the face.
Over the past month or so, I’d taken so much pride in my identity as a writer. My dad told me I was good at writing, many of my friends and family members told me about how much they loved my blog, and I thought I was pretty good at it. Then I got the C+ and all the praise I’d received flew out the window.
I walked around aimlessly after class, thinking about how much I sucked. After I berated myself for a few minutes, I realized that the grade really didn’t matter. I saw myself basing my self-esteem on what one teacher’s assistant thought about one poorly written outline I handed in at the last minute. She doesn’t know me (she doesn’t know my life!), so why should I let one graded paper define who I am?
When it really comes down to it, grades really don’t mean anything. They may determine whether or not you pass a class, and they may judge whether you’re good at taking tests, memorizing facts, or writing academic essays; but they certainly aren’t any indication of your level of overall intelligence.
Just because you aren’t good at showing what you know through multiple choice tests or essay questions doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. We’re each intelligent in our own way, whether it’s logically/mathematically, naturalistically, musically, existentially, interpersonally, kinesthetically, linguistically, intra-personally, or spatially (taken from the nine types of intelligence).
So don’t beat yourself up about a crappy grade, because grades don’t mean shit.