GPA, SAT, ACT, rank and tests in general. They can wreck us or save us. These numbers have become integral parts of our lives due to their weight in college applications which in turn can influence what job you can get. Numbers are important, for sure. But how important have we let them become? We’ve given numbers control over our well-being, a single digit can now ruin our joy and efforts. We’re striving and struggling to see certain numbers, they’ve become our motivation. And while it’s not wrong to work hard to get high scores, these numbers are only part of the story.  

Grades and scores are meant for measuring your understanding and comprehension. They are an important tool for employers to choose which applicants to admit. But numbers can only say so much. After all, the number itself can’t tell the whole story, you tell it.  For example, a  4.0 can mean you worked the semester away to earn a grade sufficient for your college standards. A 4.0 can also mean you had easy classes that posed no challenge to you. A 3.8 or lower, getting an 80 or anything less than an A, they also have a multitude of meaning. They can mean you tried your best at the challenge, but didn’t quite make the cut to the finish. Or they can represent the difficulty of the class to the majority of the students. But these numbers can’t measure your intelligence or capability.

These numbers can take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, which could be fun or scary. They can fill you with pride and satisfaction, they can make you feel hopeful for the future, or they can do the opposite and make you feel terrible. You might hang your well-earned A in your room or you might hide and cry there after a disappointing grade. But in the end, they’re just digits. What we should strive for is not just a number for college apps, but the understanding and skills from the classes and studying. In the end, those are the benefits of your education and hard work, not the numbers you receive.

The weight of these numbers can be so heavy that they can influence our images of self worth, especially when receiving a disappointing one. These numbers might be able to influence what colleges and jobs you can have, but should they have the power determine what value you have? The point is, these numbers can’t always accurately represent your efforts. And your efforts, actions, and beliefs are what make you stand out and give you value, not just a number.

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