Let’s talk about the monsters of high school and no, I don’t mean the obnoxious freshmen. I’m talking about the ACT, SAT and AP exams. Throughout my ninth and tenth grade year, I watched the upperclassmen groan and complain about how they’re taking the SAT for the third time or the fact their AP teacher was giving piles of homework to do. When I became a junior, I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect from standardized testing and while I had experience with AP classes, the SAT and ACT were whole new territory.
I became so consumed with the idea of getting my dream score that it took over my life. I began to cancel plans with friends and even started ignoring my homework so I could work towards the score I wanted. I always carried my SAT book around and studied like there was no tomorrow. For lack of a better word, I became obsessed with getting a certain number on the SAT.
When scores came out, my heart broke into pieces. I remember crying myself to sleep because I got a score that was nowhere near my goal and a close friend of mine had got the exact score I wanted on his first try. I felt like a failure.
Looking back at this as a high school graduate, I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself. Instead of focusing on all of the hard work I put into studying while handing four AP classes and officer positions, I kept thinking about how terrible my score was. I wish I could go back to junior me and tell her it’s okay to not get the score you wanted, because a score does not define you.
To the graduating seniors, please don’t let a number doubt your self-worth. You are more than just a score on a test. While the SAT and ACT were crucial to the college admission process, it was not the only thing that mattered. Your personality and what you have to offer is more important than a number. Make sure to enjoy life and do not get consumed by the pressure to be perfect. You will never be this young ever again so go to that basketball game, hang out with your friends and do what you love. I’m not saying don’t focus on your academics, but do not let school be your only priority.
As you all begin college, remember that a score, class rank or GPA isn't a reflection of who you are as a person. In the next four years, many of us will take challenging classes, tests like the LSAT or MCAT and will be incredibly stressed over our GPAs. It is so important that while you work towards your goals and that you don't lose yourself in the process. If you don't get the score you want, don't be hard on yourself. Use that score to motivate you towards being a better student. The end goal is never a certain score but rather becoming a better version of yourself.
You are important regardless of what you may get on a test. You are more than a number. You are you and that is more than enough.
Lead Image Credit: Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions