Letting go of that 4.0

Hannah Matson, Design Editor

I remember how I lost it—that perfect, golden number every high achieving student struggles to maintain. It was sophomore year, and I felt far too young to lose it. Precalculus took it from me. I was mortified; surrounded by my friends and their immaculate GPA’s, I felt I couldn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want to be less than them.

I’ll tell you a secret: it wasn’t precalculus that caused me to lose my 4.0. I caused myself to lose it when I stretched myself too thin. I was staying up way too late, trying to keep up with a workload of four core classes on the same day. I didn’t have the skills to manage my time—or maybe I didn’t have the confidence in myself to believe I could manage my time. Either way, every day I was in precalculus, I found myself lulled to sleep by the sound of Thruelsen’s melodious voice. I couldn’t learn math like that.

In a way, I’m glad I didn’t go into junior year with a 4.0. This year, I had to watch my friends struggle—and eventually lose—their perfect GPA’s under the weight of multiple AP classes. The excessive workload crushed them. Watching them suffocate under the weight of their grades was heartbreaking, because all around me, I saw people judging themselves on a letter instead of the important things.

Not having a 4.0 allowed me to focus on learning the material instead of getting a perfect A in all classes—and though it seems like these should be the same things, they’re really not. More importantly, I didn’t feel like my worth was determined by a number: I got to focus on the things that make me, me. While a good GPA is important, it isn’t everything, even to colleges. It’s not fun to lose, but once it’s gone, you’ll quickly realize it isn’t as bad as it could be. So just relax—a less-than-perfect GPA really isn’t the end of the world.