You is spelled Y-O-U not G-P-A


The alarm annoys me at 6 a.m.

PowerSchool refreshes at 6:01.

My grades are the same.


As a high school student, I am my grades.

“I saw you got an A- on your paper,” my dad hounds me.

“Your biology grade is a 95, what happened?” my mother questions.

“You need a 3.7 GPA to get in,” states the college.

“Get A’s,” reinforces the school.


Surrounding me is the treacherous wall many teenagers face: my GPA. With every A, I climb up the ladder propped against the wall; closer and closer to being the perfect student. Wind made of sleep, responsibilities and social outings shake the ladder. Stress rocks the ladder; however, it pushes me.

All I’ve been seen as since I can remember is my grades, my test scores, my GPA. Somehow, I have been conditioned that this number, text on a screen, print on paper, is what I am. This number decides who I’ll be, what I’ll become.


I finish lunch at 12 p.m.

PowerSchool refreshes at 12:01.

My grades are the same.


It’s not just me that GPA chases. Every high school student is taught to believe that what they do in high school must not affect their GPA – the holy god to colleges, the devil to the students. Achieving a 4.0 is, apparently, the goal.

This goal is not easily achieved. A 4.0 is the gold medal of high school, but, like any sport, there is much that goes into it. Sleepless nights, hours of studying, and millions of pounds of stress sit upon a student’s shoulders.

The academic work that goes into the GPA and the GPA itself shouldn’t reflect who a student is. Not all students test well — many learn best with a non-traditional learning approach. Taking into consideration that schools are test-based and don’t usually teach with a hands-on method, a GPA shouldn’t describe who you are or who a student is.

Due to the stress surrounding a GPA and the fact it does not equally represent everyone, GPA’s should be abolished. High school should be more than just number with decimal points. Pressure should be lifted from student’s shoulders — it does more harm than good. Placing plenty of stress upon a student in the time of their life when they are maturing is a recipe for disaster.


I get out from school at 2:45 p.m.

PowerSchool refreshes at 2:46.

My grades are the same.


A perfect example for this recipe is South Korea; credited with having the best education in the world. However, the stats of test scores don’t reveal what they cause: student suicide. While South Korea has the best education, it also has the second highest suicide rate, after Sri Lanka, according to World Health Organization (WHO) in a 2015 study.

At South Korean universities, so much pressure is shoved onto students that, when mixed with a 14 hour school day, push them to suicide – which they think is their only option. According to the New York Times, “Academic pressures can be ferocious at the university, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, known as Kaist, and anxious school psychologists have expanded their counseling services since the suicides.” Four students and a professor committed suicide due to the stress put upon their work and grades. This provided a wake-up call for the university, and it should be one for the rest of the world.

Yes, GPA’s calculate how a student is doing in school. Yes, they allow a way to compare students for acceptance. Yes, we need to have something like a GPA in order to determine academic advancement. Many people view GPA’s this way: necessary. But is the stress they provide necessary? As society progresses, we will only put more and more pressure on a student’s ability to achieve that gold medal. However, we will also be putting dirt upon a student’s grave, rushing to the hospitals, praying for the ones we love to make it through. Don’t let real life examples like KAIST happen again.

We need to shift our focus from a number to the human behind the number. They are more than just their grades. They have a smile, a passion, someone they love, and a future as bright as a shining star. As a student climbing and struggling up the wall, a GPA shouldn’t define my very existence for the next 8 years of my high school and college career. It’s not a fair representation of anyone; let us be the country to bring upon a new era of education and appreciation for our posterity.


I get ready for bed at 11:42 p.m.

I shut my phone off.

I don’t care.