Why you should stop worrying about your grades and start worrying about your happiness.
One of my professors here at school recently told me that she never once worried about her grades, and now she has a doctorate. Interesting..
I am so guilty of constantly number crunching to make sure I am maintaining a certain average, because if I don’t, that could mean not getting into my specialization for the next year. This is a common struggle in University. You want to stay on track with your module progression, but in order to do this you have to keep that golden 80% overall average.
I’m guessing many of you may have scholarships dependent on your average as well. Through the Scholar’s program, we have to keep an 80% average to stay in the program itself.
Some of you may also be thinking of professional graduate schools. Med schools, law schools and masters programs all look to make sure you are in ‘good academic standing’. Grades definitely matter to them. So what does that translate to? That 80% average, if not higher. On top of all of that, these schools want you to be involved outside of the classroom. So then there’s the battle of managing extra-curriculars and clubs on top of it all.
That’s a lot of pressure if you ask me.
Is there a solution? Yes.
What is the solution?
Stop thinking about your grades. Just stop altogether.
Now, this doesn’t translate to stop caring about your grades. That’s different. You can still care about striving for academic ‘success’, whatever that target success may be. Instead, put the focus on becoming a scholar in your area of study. Isn’t that what we’re all here for anyways?
Even just letting yourself become fully immersed in your studies, meaning really diving into the content you find interesting, will help take some of that extra academic pressure off.
Everyone comes to University to study something they are at least somewhat interested in. You take courses, obtain a degree, in something that excites and fascinates you. Use that to your advantage! Let the curiosity of your intellect take flight! Your work will be so much easier to accomplish because, as cliche as this is, time flies when you’re having fun! And guess what, you’ll probably remember it longer too if you get excited about it. Exciting things stay in your long term memory more than the boring things do. That’s just how it works.
When we only worry about whether or not we made the cut instead of how we have grown as intellectuals, we aren’t really here for the right reasons, if you ask me. Being at University is about maturing academically, and obtaining a level of mastery in your studies. University is not about your transcript at the end of your degree. It is soooooo much more than that, if you let it be.
After you’ve switched your focus away from receiving grades, you’ll begin to enjoy your studies more and that will make your overall happiness so much better as well. I’ve been trying this out myself recently, and I can honestly say it works. It is hard at first, because it is so easy to go back to calculating your midterm average to know “how hard you have to try to get X mark after the final”. Again, we should be questioning our intentions when we hear this sentence. Try asking yourself, “I wonder what I’ve been missing up to this point that would help to broaden my understanding of the concepts in this course?”
Here’s my closing remark: if you are consistently putting your best foot forward and striving towards deeper understandings and diving into your studies with enthusiasm and energy, then your marks will positively reflect that and fall right into place.
Maybe this is too abstract for some people, and would cause more anxiety than the alternative, but hey, maybe it’s worth a shot. You never know until you try 😉