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Why School Performance Isn’t a Definate Measure of Success

The American school system forces its students to be well rounded. High grades are expected in all of the core subjects–English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and World Language–forcing you to excel in every subject.

Now, you might just not be a math person. Maybe no matter how you try, you just can’t grasp French conjugations. Maybe history lessons just don’t stick. School will tell you that you need to be good at all of these things. I’m telling you that it’s okay not to be good at everything.

Most people have one or two things they really love and that they really excel at. Maybe that thing is music, maybe it’s mathematics, maybe it’s networking–it doesn’t matter. The point is, that thing you’re really good at–that is most likely what you’re going to do in the future for your job. Think about it: society is able to operate because different people are good at different things. That is why there are hundreds of thousands of jobs out there. Jobs you haven’t even heard of. Jobs you haven’t even imagined. Jobs that don’t exist yet. And it is also possible that in high school, with the limited choice in classes, you haven’t found that thing you love yet. But I promise you, you will.

What school should be doing is promoting and nourishing your talents instead of focusing so much on the subjects you’re just not passionate about. Unfortunately, our current school system is rigid and inflexible and does not do that. But in the real world, It’s okay to not be well rounded. You aren’t “dumb” because you aren’t good at one thing, or even several things. Getting good grades is important, but realize that different people are good at different things, and it’s okay to struggle in a subject.

Some people might seem good at everything. That just isn’t true. School only measures a certain set of skills: academic skills. In real life, there are thousands of skills that make up someone’s intelligence. These skills include skills in art, music, social situations–the list goes on and on. Kinesthetic intelligence, or what athletes have, is also a kind of intelligence.

And don’t even get me started on standardized tests. If you’re great at them–awesome! But if you’re not–standardized tests are not a true measure of intelligence. They are extremely limited and boil down to just a couple of skills, and honestly hardly measure anything.

If you’re not so great at trigonometry or can’t analyze a poem for the life of you, it doesn’t matter in the long run. If you’re worried about college, then know that they are looking more and more for kids who excel at one thing that they are passionate about. That “thing” can be service work, it can be poetry, it can be nuclear physics–it can be anything. When you get a job, you just need to be good at one thing and nothing else–you won’t have to use trig ever again. So don’t fret. Relax. Even though schools seem to want you to be good at everything, in real life that isn’t the case at all.

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