Del BeneWith summer right around the corner, borderline grades are critically important and deadlines are at hand for many students. The stress level is as high as ever, and the desire for summer could not be more acute.

As forecasting has been coming to an end, students continue to compare and comment on one another’s plans, anxiously awaiting the schedules for next year.

For my junior year, I forecast for one AP class and one honors course. In the midst of forecasting week, I had been asked by many why I’m not taking more than one. If the question wasn’t phrased that bluntly, people would later tell me they were going to take three, which wasn’t even that bad, in their opinion.

It’s not that the comments offended me in any way, but something about them triggered many thoughts about excelling in academics in our modern day.

As a somewhat average student with no spectacular GPA, and no honor roll certificate proudly pinned on the refrigerator, I don’t particularly care for sharing my grades or test scores with other people. The dreadful day of scanning grades after a test does not inspire the best feeling in the world. The feeling of failure is overwhelming, and the small ounce of academic confidence that was once there is gone in an instant.

When no matter how hard you try and the end result is failure, it helps to remember something that I have learned throughout my years as a student. There is more to a person than grades and a GPA.

Everyone is different and unique and has the potential to do exemplary things if they have the desire to do so. It seems as if society has placed an overwhelming stigma on bad grades and the standards of academic success.

I’m not saying that grades don’t matter, because they most certainly do — but only to a certain extent. Look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, who both have had immense amounts of success without ever really excelling in the classroom setting.

Consider this quote, sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I found this quote while scrolling through my phone one day, and I have always remembered it. It is simple but holds much relevance to today’s society of academic success. So why does society have the perception that the SAT and other standardized tests will determine how successful you are in life?

There are exceptional students everywhere doing amazing things, with impressive accomplishments. Never let these people intimidate you or make you feel like a failure, because everyone has the potential to succeed. Failure is an occurrence in life that everyone goes through, because with success comes failure.

These are the sort of things that make individuals want to work harder and achieve the bigger and better things they have the potential to accomplish. Never let a test score or a grade get the better of you, because everyone has something spectacular to offer in this world.

Jacqueline Del Bene is a sophomore at West Linn High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Tidings this school year.

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