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5 reasons why you should immediately stop the obsession with grades

Stress over grades has been proven to affect health. Source: Shutterstock

1. Grades aren’t the be-all and end-all to education

Education isn’t just about the paper achievements, that college degree or the big fat pay cheque they tell you it’s all supposed to amount to. Huffington Post says:

 “Grades have their place. They’re a necessary part of education. What they aren’t a necessary part of is self-esteem. So maybe I got a B or a C on that last exam, but am I better overall for having taken the class? The answer is usually yes.”

Fact of the matter is: it’s not the grade that really counts. It’s about gaining invaluable knowledge and understanding a new subject matter – these are what will define us, not that little letter on your results slip. After all, knowing a little about a lot is a lot better than knowing a lot about a little.

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So what if I scored a C? If I put in the time and effort, learnt something from the overall experience and actually enjoyed the process instead of spending endless days and weeks despairing over the need to score that elusive A, that’s something to be valued.

2. Education is changing

How we learn, how we are educated, and how we educate ourselves have changed dramatically thanks to technology. As eLearning points out:

“Today, a 13-year-old with an email address and access to the Internet can sign up at Khan Academy and complete courses of study in a variety of academic disciplines, all for free.”

Of course, traditional education is still relevant, but the options now are incredibly open because technology has opened possibilities for everyone. Now and in the future, the needs of the many will be considered and methods of old thrown out the door. After all, a broad brush stroke to education doesn’t work; not everyone learns the same way and it’s about time we find new ways to educate the next generation of youth.

Education will, at last, be tailored to suit the individual and not the other way around. So who’s to say what grades will mean then?

3. You can always go back

Everyone deserves a second chance. And guess what, the pursuit of knowledge never ends, so why stop yourself just because you failed to ace it that first time? If at first you don’t succeed, get up and try again.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2012, students aged 25 and older accounted for roughly 40 percent of all college and graduate students. With so many adult learning options and open universities around, the opportunities to learn at any age are greater than ever.

4. Science says so (seriously)

Grades can get you worked up (believe me, I know). They weigh heavy on us because we’re told practically from Day 1, how important they are. But it’s a fairly unhealthy way of getting results. According to Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy:

“…this constant need for As can lead to an immense amount of stress emotionally, physically and potentially even physiologically… there is a significant amount of evidence that ‘their mental well-being is at risk’.”

 So there you go, physical evidence: if you overthink your grades, it’s going to affect your health, which is far more important than that perfect score? Stress can do bad things – learn to relax, have a break, have a Kit Kat.

5. Who you are is more important

School isn’t just about education. (Neither is college, uni or work for that matter.) It’s also a journey of self-discovery. In your adolescence, you go through a lot of changes and start to discover yourself as an individual with unique opinions and thoughts.

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You might even fall in love for the first time. In fact, anything that happens to you during these crucial years will be happening for the first time. Point is, there’s a lot going on in that brain of yours so it’s understandably hard sometimes to concentrate on maths and science.

Sure, you should always work hard and try to do your best but always remember your grades don’t define you. Everyone learns differently and exams aren’t the best measure of how well you’ll go on to do in life.

Just remember: it’s not the grades that define us, it’s what we learn and how we grow.

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