My self-worth has become a reflection of my grades


I’ve fallen into a deep spiral of pulling up the same tab every hour, looking, hoping, for a change. 

I never used to be attached to this bookmarked page, but as the pressure of high school, college, and my future loom closer and closer, I can’t seem to stand the thought of a single number changing without my knowledge. 

Grades. It seems like such an innocent word when I compare it to what it really means: how much I am worth in the eyes of schools and colleges. 

I have always had a natural talent to remember what I’ve learned by simply practicing two or three times, but this talent is useless when faced with thirty pages of reading, forty algebra questions, a presentation in a language I can hardly understand, a bizarre new topic in a chemistry class I can’t grasp, and a collection of other small, confusing assignments. 

In this whirling mess of confusion and jumbled facts, I’ve come to find my talent dormant. 

I’ll get back to my love of drawing, of the feeling of charcoal on thick paper, once I get my grades up, whenever that is.”

And as I struggle to catch up, to scratch my way back to the top with everything I have, I found myself losing connection with reality. 

Grades are not the only aspect of my life. 

I know that, and I try to remind myself, but it’s not easy to convince myself with an idea that is false. For in this day and age, my grades determine my future, what college I will get into, whether I’ll make enough money when I start to support myself. 

A, A-, B… that B will remain with me the rest of the week, reminding me, no, taunting me, whispering in my ear, “No matter how hard you try, you will never be good enough.”

As my grades follow me, haunting me through school hallways and occasional visits with my friends, I find myself losing my true self and turning into a reflection of the numbers and letters displayed on the screens of my parent’s, my future’s, and my computer. 

All of a sudden, finding time for the things I love is no longer a priority; I’ll get back to my love of drawing, of the feeling of charcoal on thick paper, once I get my grades up, whenever that is. 

But even as I reach the A I long so hard to see, I tell myself that I must study. I must remain the best. I’ll draw, paint, sleep when I’m done studying. 

I’m losing myself. I can’t seem to find the light that used to keep me bright and happy through the C’s on tests, through rocky periods of lessons that I can’t seem to understand that left my grades struggling to get back to the top. 

Now, all I can think of is how to get those shiny medals that will let everyone know I am worthy of recognition. “I’m here,” they scream. “Look at me! I’m worthy! I’ve finally deserved your love!”

I must get into a good college. How else am I supposed to live the life I dream of? I have to get a good job; I want to be able to afford shiny cars and fancy clothes. 

I push away my happiness in this current moment for the hope that I will be able to achieve even a sliver of my dreams in the future. I don’t need happiness now, I tell myself, it will come later when my sharp A’s and perfect tests make me acceptable in society, make me a human worth looking at

I fight my urge to check my grades every few minutes, but it takes a while for an addict to recover. So, I’ll continue hoping that one day I will be able to see the worth behind my label handed to me by schools as I click the tab, praying for even a minuscule raise in a percentage