How I escaped defining my self worth by my grades


By Hannah Dale, Second Year, English

The Croft Magazine // So many of us come to university and feel the pressure of getting good results, sometimes our whole day can be ruined with just one grade. How can we escape defining ourselves by our grades?

It is easy to receive your grades back, reflect on all of your hard work and consider yourself a failure in an instant as you haven’t got the result you wanted. Whether that is an amazing grade that you wanted better feedback on or a failed assignment you have to resit. Those affected by problems outside of university can consider themselves not hardworking enough, regardless of circumstances. Often, our situation is beyond our control, and leave us feeling hopeless in our situation. Even if it isn't our fault, we blame ourselves. It’s important to firstly accept the grade you have received and consider your circumstances surrounding it, how you performed, and then how you can them manage them better to improve your general wellbeing. Which, in consequence, will help improve grades.

It can feel like academic pressure keeps piling up | Epigram / Emily Fromant

However, it is always worth looking upon your work as an external thing. Separate it from who you are, from your intelligence or hard work. The feedback or marks you receive reflect what you have physically completed instead of a projection of everything that is compiled to create a piece of work. Education is never a smooth path from starting to finishing, and it is always crucial to remember that it is important to not reflect upon how ‘badly’ you did, but what you can learn from that failure. Perhaps you worked too hard and burned yourself out before an important exam or deadline, or maybe you didn’t juggle your social life and university work appropriately. Intelligence is subjective, which cannot be defined by a single piece of work or a degree at all. It is compiled of multiple factors that cannot be measured using a piece of work or an exam under time pressure.

It is also important that although employers are looking at your grades, it is you as a person they will employ in the future, not your academic success (in essence, a sheet of paper). To be a well-rounded, personable character who may not have top grades but has put everything into their degree will always be preferred over somebody who has ‘perfect’ grades but not the general skills they need for a job. Just remember that at this point of the year, there is still room to grow and develop from the exam period and not let it shatter your self-worth and your postgraduate dreams.

Feautred Image: Epigram / Emily Filiz Emily Gurer

How have you dealt with academic pressure at university? Let us know!