Are Grades The Only Thing That Matters?

It is widely known across the world that Asians tend to put a lot of emphasis on their children’s grades, as if the straight As on the report card act as tickets to a good future. After all, we are called ‘A’-sians and not ‘B’-sians. Being brought up in an Asian culture, I was constantly sent for plenty of extra classes out of school. These classes range from academic tuition classes to extracurricular classes such as piano lessons, art classes, etc. Looking back now, I find it quite crazy that a child like me was trained to learn every hour of the day, and trained to think that the grades on my report card are the only things that I can be proud of.

I am quite certain that a lot of people in Imperial grew up with similar experiences as I have. It did work out for all of us here. Study hard, be a good student and you will land yourself in a prestigious University. But… what comes next? This is a question that has been bothering me a lot as I approach closer to my graduation, realizing that my time in University is dwindling and is coming to an end soon.

I am far from being the smartest student in my department and I do not possess any particular skill which makes me stand out compared to anyone else here. So, does that make me a failure in life? Not going to lie, this did affect my mental state a bit as the constant pressure of being the best version of myself was pushing itself to the front of my mind. Being amongst a pool of students who are constantly creating amazing content and discoveries forces you to believe that you are expected to deliver the same amount as well. Without realizing, you might find yourself drowning in a sea of doubts and insecurities in no time.

Fortunately for lockdown, it allowed me to have a lot of time to reflect upon myself and what has happened in the past few years. Coming to University, I did not just learn about how to solve complex mathematical equations or design fancy machines. I learned a lot about what life has to offer as well. I have met so many people who has taught me about different aspects of life that I never knew existed, and through this, I have developed different passions that I never knew existed in me as well. And even though these passions are not tested upon on a test paper, I am still steadily climbing up my very own learning curve.

When we go for interviews and apply for internships and jobs, employers don’t just employ us because we have a first class honours. They want to understand our journey and how we ended up in that particular room today. After talking to several lecturers in my department, I discovered that there are so much more than how many A*s did you achieve in your A-Levels that they are looking for. The most interesting thing I have heard from one of my lecturers was that he loved to see people try different things. It doesn’t matter at all whether they fail or succeed, but it’s what they learned from it and why they decided to give it a try that matters much more, as that allows your passion to flourish.

After going through a year of online learning and social distancing, a lot of students are tired and find that the whole process of learning a whole year of material for just a single exam is draining and pointless. But don’t forget to look for the little joys in your studies and nourish them. Don’t forget to chase your passion when you discover it, and most importantly, don’t be beaten down when you did not achieve the grades that you so desired, because after all, there are so many other things your success can be defined upon.

2 comments for “Are Grades The Only Thing That Matters?

  1. “students who are constantly creating amazing content and discoveries…” Could you please show some examples? Curious to know the kind of content…

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