Life @ U of T

Introduction

Grades & Identity: You Are Important, No Matter the Mark

Grades & Identity: You Are Important, No Matter the Mark

In high school I cared about grades to get into university. In university I care about grades to get into masters programs. It feels like this endless loop, where I am always associating my self-worth with the marks I receive.

Bart Simpson.
Cred: Giphy
Lisa Simpson.
Cred: Giphy

 

 

 

 

Recently, while walking out of class where we had just been handed back assignment grades, I overheard some friends discussing what great marks they got. I didn’t feel too great, hearing that since I’d just received an awful grade. This got me thinking about how closely my happiness and sense of self were linked to the marks I earned in class. If it was a good grade, I would be happy but then continue on with my day, but if it was a bad grade, I would feel terrible and stew on it for weeks. 

Bart Simpson.
Cred: Giphy

I have a friend who refuses to discuss grades and I respect her a lot for it. Why do we discuss marks in the first place? If we do well, it is usually because we are proud of ourselves, but I think this answer sums up the problem. The more proud you are of a good grade, the heavier you will be hit if you receive a low one, because you associate grades with your self-worth.

I think we are all guilty of reassuring others that bad grades do not make them failures, but fall short when it comes to how we view ourselves. 

U of T is an academic institution so it is no surprise that its students are academically-minded. Students put a lot of pressure on themselves because they want to succeed (and there is nothing wrong with wanting that), but I think that when students focus so heavily on school, their perception-of-self becomes inseparable from their grades.

Lisa Simpson.
Cred: Giphy

It is difficult to separate identity from grades, and I don’t even have any good advice on how to go about it, BUT I wanted to write this post as a reminder to everyone that:

  1. Your grades do not define you.
  2. You are important no matter what.
  3. Failure is necessary for growth.
  4. Being aware of how you perceive yourself and your grades will make you a happier person.  

I know this is hard to put into practise, but from now on I am going to try and relate my identity to my own happiness and the joy that I can bring to others. I would encourage everyone else who struggles with grades and identity to try and do this too. Remember: take a few deep breaths to appreciate who you are in this moment, and also to please forgive my excessive use of Simpsons gifs. 

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