My name is Anu, and I am a B student.
I spent a good part of elementary school as the most ambitious little girl around. I wasn’t competitive, my parents didn’t pressure me – I just loved school, and I loved the positive reinforcement of getting As. I don’t even remember trying that hard to get them, but I was always showered with awards and trophies, and every single person I ever encountered gave me the same compliment, “You are one of the smartest people I know.” Those should have all been signs that I was only destined for success and superhuman intelligence, right?
Sometimes, it feels like I peaked in 5th grade. As I entered high school, I found out that I was among geniuses, people who excelled at anything they set their mind to, and that little thing called the GPA was their badge of honor. I felt lost. Not only was I slipping in school, I didn’t have any hobbies. I wasn’t in my best state, I had no goals. But I tried like hell. I studied so much, with such desire, and for what? To end up labeled as “average.” I didn’t know what was happening, and I didn’t know how to fight it.
I am still a B student who tries really hard. But right now, I am so much more than that. I do so many things outside of class that I don’t really care anymore. I’m happy with developing my hobbies, social life, career goals, among other things, and I still care about school, too. You just wouldn’t know it from looking at my grades alone. What is it about being “average” in school that seems to make everyone throw shade? Why isn’t it ever okay to accept people’s strengths and weaknesses, and to encourage them to shine in the parts of their lives where they are strongest?
When we go to college in a time like this, everyone is striving to be “the best.” I think we should learn to be content with “good” or “okay” sometimes. I’m not saying we should be complacent, or to stop trying to be a better person. I’m just saying, give yourself a break sometimes – you can make compromises, and build your life up by focusing your energy on other goals and skills. It just means that you probably have something else special about you that is more reflective of who you are than an exam. I could rattle off a bunch of names of millionaires who didn’t even finish college, but we all already know that you don’t need straight As to be successful. Sometimes, we just don’t want to say it.
Okay, disclaimer: I am definitely not one of those holier-than-thou “my grades do not define me” type of person. School is extremely important, without a doubt, and nothing is more valuable than a good education. But for every B student (or even C and D students) there are other things that can make you successful. Not everyone is great at taking tests, or memorizing, or paying attention in class. Unfortunately, grades don’t always show how much love you really have for a subject. And it’s frustrating to pull all-nighters for an exam and then fail when the guy next to you brags about not studying and then walks away with an A.
Being an average student does not mean you’re useless.
The fact is, some people have things come easy to them, and for others, well it just means you need to work harder – at school and at your goals – which is not something to be ashamed of. Don’t think of it as a problem – embrace it as a challenge. Find out what you can do to shine, and never get yourself down comparing your grades with those of your friends.
So I encourage all my fellow B students to step back from school for just a second. Think about what would happen if your grades didn’t matter. What else would make you who you are? What else can you do for the world? Average does not have to mean boring, and you do not have to be average. Being a B student definitely does not take away the fact that you are destined for success, however you define it.