I Was Never a Straight-A Student—and I Turned Out Just Fine

In case you missed it, I recently wrote about failing math freshman year.

Although this class was especially challenging (having a passive teacher who spoke minimal English and a classroom filled with rambunctious ninth-graders certainly didn't make for a positive learning environment), I'm going to be honest and say that I didn't necessary excel in most of my other subjects to follow.

upset girl stands in front of chalkboard in math class

(via Shutterstock)

Sure, there was the occasional B+ in History or the expected A in Yearbook—and yes, even a B (!!!) in a later-taken math course—but for the most part (with the exception of English class), I was not a skyrocketing student. I mean I certainly wasn't flunking out of school, but I was definitely nowhere near valedictorian.

This wasn't because I ditched class or had a negative attitude towards learning or furthering my education. It was simply because, well, I just wasn'that student. I straight-up found school to be hard.

Two brunette girls studying together

(via Shutterstock)

I found that when I was in school, a lot of people's so-called "intelligence" was defined by a letter they received on their report card, but as I got older, I realized there are so many different forms of intelligence, I have truly excelled in my passion and I think I am considered smart by my peers.

There are the straight-A book-smart folks who will be good at anything they are able to study (like your biology partner who you depend on for assistance with your lab project). There are the socially smart folks who are swift with their tongue and can perfectly articulate any point they want to get across or any joke they want to tell. There are the street-smart folks who can change a tire and figure a way out of any obstacle. There are the culturally smart folks who have traveled far and wide or who read regularly and know how to hold themselves in any conversation. There are the visually brilliant folks who can paint a portrait, create a sculpture, properly apply makeup or cut and color hair.

So there you have it—there's not just one form of smart.

Luckily, with the combination of my overall high school GPA (I performed best during the first semester of my senior year), my SAT scores and my list of extracurriculars (Softball, '80s Club, French Club and Yearbook, to name a few), I got into a pretty reputable college (Go, Ducks!) even without the best grades.

Smiling student holds up her diploma at graduation

(via Shutterstock)

When I entered college, my grades were nowhere near straight-A's either—but, at least then I had a chance to delve into my passion, which (as showcased here) is writing and editing. I learned more than I ever thought was possible about grammar, I wrote a thesis as a sophomore, I scored a coveted paid gig as a writer for the Oregon Daily Emerald (our critically acclaimed school newspaper) and the list goes on.

Taking on these courses and meeting other people who share my passion completely changed the way I view intelligence, education and the definition of a "smart person."

While I am in no way condoning not taking school seriously (obviously you don't want to fail out of school), I'm saying that you shouldn't let your report card define you. Put forth time into your school work, but also find a passion or extracurricular activity you can take on simultaneously. Then take those interests and make them into a career (like me!).


School isn't the only struggle we experience growing up. Read about the horrors of my very first job HERE!