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Your Grades Don't Define Who You Are

Everyone is smart in different ways!
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Ever since we started school, we have been programmed to follow a certain standard of knowledge. We were raised to believe that being intelligent meant having straight As stamped on your report card, gold medals pinned on your walls, and your name plastered on every honor roll sheet. A student who spends his or her free time reading books and doing homework is praised more than one who prefers watching TV or sketching a picture or two. It is every parent's dream to see their kid take their studies seriously; and when they are rewarded with academic honors, their hearts swell with pride.

As students, we are pushed to make the most out of the eight hours we spend at our desks, to give our parents a return of investment for the hundreds and thousands of pesos they spend to provide us with quality education. In our quest to be one of those at the top, we aim to make them proud.

 Which is why it hurts when we don't live up to the standard. It's painful to sit at the sidelines as your classmates are called up to receive a gold medal of honors, or when they're recognized for excellent co-curricular involvements. It's during these times we often compare ourselves to those who could complete every student's dream—to be labelled their parents' "smart" kid. We fall into a deep hole of despair when we cannot live up to this expectation of intelligence, which usually ends with three uttered words:

I give up.

But know this: awards do not define who you are, let alone your own intelligence. Everyone is smart in different ways, and certificates of recognition do not always prove your worth.

Awards do not define who you are, let alone your own intelligence. Everyone is smart in different ways, and certificates of recognition do not always prove your worth.

You may hate yourself for failing to memorize all the bones in the human skeleton, or how you couldn't conjure up a thorough explanation of Hamlet's main conflict, but have you loved yourself for the good things you have done?

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With your obsession for academics, you forgot to appreciate the advice you gave your best friend to follow her dreams, and how well it worked for her.

You overlooked the way your grandparents complimented the way you felt so passionate about current issues in society, and how you set your heart on breaking barriers and ending stigmas.

You couldn't see the sadness on your face at the sight of the neglected senior citizens at the Home for the Aged, and the joy you felt when you came back with donations you rounded up from the fundraiser you started.

You enclose your worth within the four walls of your campus that you fail to realize that life is so much more than school; that achievements are applicable way past your course syllabus.

You enclose your worth within the four walls of your campus that you fail to realize that life is so much more than school; that achievements are applicable way past your course syllabus.

So, no, you may not have a wall filled with quiz bee ribbons or "great work" written on your exam, but you are not a failure. Your worth does not decrease in the absence of academic excellence. Grades are just numbers used to determine your standardized placement, and as cliché as it may sound, they do not define who you are. What matters most is what is rooted deeply in your heart, the things that drive you to continue living everyday life. In 10 years, your Transcript of Records will be nothing but a mere piece of paper, but the fire that fuels your zest for life will be the one keeping you on your feet.

Want to write about your personal story? Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below!

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About the author
Gillian Sun
Candymag.com Correspondent
A millennium-born Bisaya belle who dreams of becoming a respected radiologist. Born and raised in Cagayan de Oro, she aims to inspire girls to never underestimate what one is capable of, because greatness comes when we believe in ourselves.
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