Finals season is officially underway, and with it comes an onslaught of negative feelings and emotions. Late nights, early mornings and cramming can leave a student feeling overwhelmed.
Good grades are undoubtedly a matter of high importance for us as college students. And for good reason, of course. High marks in a class can lead to good job opportunities down the road, letters of recommendation from faculty or invitations to honors societies that can serve as a sick flex on a resumé.
However, we should take the importance of a letter on a transcript with a grain of salt. As students, we should realize that good grades aren’t everything.
Some faculty grade harshly. Some center 50% of the student’s grade around one singular final essay or exam. Some spring pop quizzes onto sleepy-eyed students in the early hours of the morning, expecting them to ace it without a sweat.
That’s not to say a student’s work shouldn’t be analyzed, or that assigning a student work to further their understanding is an evil, mean spirited thing. But at the end of the day, the reason we as students attend school is to learn everything there is to know about our respective majors, to prepare us for our futures as efficiently and sufficiently as possible.
A deep, profound understanding of a course matters more than a grade. A student could receive an A+ as their final grade in a class but not remember anything, since they looked up all the answers online. In that same vein, a student could receive a C as their final grade, but leave the semester with a brand new understanding of the topic they were studying.
Contrary to cheating their way up the ladder, the “C” student suffered failures and underwent many trials and many errors before eventually learning. As students, an educational key point that we should all learn and remember is that failure can be a good thing.
There is no succeeding without first failing. By falling down and getting back up over and over, we learn what does and doesn’t work. We identify the problem and troubleshoot solutions until we reach a successful conclusion at our own respective pace.
The road to success is not a linear, straightforward one, either. Rather, the road is windy and curvy, in desperate need of a snow plow, and has lots of road bumps and potholes. Messing up is part of the process. If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t grow and learn from them.