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Are Good Grades Worth Your Mental Health?

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

All your life you’ve probably heard other kids say, “Yeah, this will look good on my college resume, so I am gonna do it”. Or maybe you’ve heard kids ask, “Will colleges be impressed if I do this?”.

The sad truth is that we never think about what we want to do. What are we interested in? At times, it feels like we don’t get to actually learn in school. We study for hours the night before a big test, and right after, we forget all the information. It goes in one ear and right out the other. I myself have struggled with the burden of school and my mental health. Sometimes, with all the AP classes, SAT prep, and extracurriculars, it can get overwhelming. I tell myself that it’s all for a good cause (getting into the college of my dreams). But at what point do we tell ourselves to rest? 

The thought that there are thousands of other kids just as smart and well rounded as me is scary. The fact that there is always someone working smarter and harder is intimidating. But some times, it’s also motivating. 

Let’s look at the bigger picture. 

Good Grades = Good College = Successful life? No. 

If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that grades do not define you! We often base our self worth on our success in subjects that may not even be useful for our futures. The reason why mental health is so important is because that  it's the base for how we act and deliver ourselves to the world. If our minds are not in the best state to be learning and growing, then we won’t be as efficient. When we are unwilling and unmotivated to work, we won’t be successful. 

School can be a toxic place for some people due to struggles in a certain subject. How can we improve our mental health while succeeding in school? 

In short words, you can’t. In long words, you can work hard to be happy. 

One thing you can do is aAddress the elephant in the room and, look at what is holding you back. Why does school make you unhappy? Are you feeling burdened? Is it too much? If yes, then you need to figure out why. Why are you so burdened? Did you take every AP class for fun, or because you wanted to improve your resume? Are you working towards something or know what the big goal is? 

Once we ask ourselves these questions we can see that good grades are not worth the cost of your mental health. Push yourself to an extent you can handle. Know your limits and boundaries before you do something you might regret. This doesn’t just apply for school situations, but for life as well. Keep a goal in mind. Do you want to go to an Ivy League school? Or do you want to take a gap year and travel the world after high school? Would you rather start a business or work a part-time job and be a student? Think about why you are unhappy. Is all the hard work for nothing? That’s a question that you need to answer by looking at what you want in life. Do it for you. Not for a college, your parents, or to impress anyone else. Only you. 

-Athena Krik

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