Grades should not define an individual

Located in almost every classroom, whether it is art or physics, there always seems to be that one inspirational poster quoting the words of the famous physicist Albert Einstein: “Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” 

Though this might seem like just words on a laminated piece of paper, the meaning behind this quote holds true outside of the classroom it is in. Most high schoolers are often taught this statement from a young age. Unfortunately, the way the pressures of high school assess the abilities of their students is similar to judging a fish by its ability to climb. Though grades do not define a student’s skills, this single letter on their report card is often synonymous to their success later in life. However, this is not always true. 

According to a statement by CollegeData, a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, they reported that colleges look beyond just the grades and tests scores a student earns in their classes, and instead, for the extracurricular activities that the student participates in. In this report, CollegeData expressed that what matters more to colleges is how deeply committed a student is in an interest outside of their classes, and especially if that interest shows a strong sense of community work, such as volunteering. 

Grades have been set as the precedent to track a person’s competence and skills, and most times it is seen as the only way to test one’s talents. However, there is a disconnection between grades and identity. 

Though having a report card filled with straight A’s is not discouraged, that one A you scored on your Geometry test freshman year does not define who you are as a person for the rest of your life. Every person on Earth has their own skillset to express their citizenship in society. Whether you grow up to be an interior designer or a building engineer, a house can not be made without the contributions of these roles. 

Though the fish could not climb the tree, it was able to excel in the water. 

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