Before starting high school, I had numerous expectations about my future grades and their influence on my career decisions. As a person who has always made decisions with multiple options, I thought that my career choice would be a difficult decision between multiple passions.

I thought I knew all my academics strengths and weaknesses: poor in math, free from sports to take away from school and excited to ace another year of history.

However, I have been shocked to see almost everything I thought about myself as a student change to opposite to what I thought I was.  

Math has become my favorite subject, after hating it for years. Not only am I getting an excellent grade, but I am satisfied with the speed of teaching  and classroom attitude. I hadn’t formally taken geometry before, and as a visual person I find it a far easier subject than any other type of  math.

On the other hand, obtaining even a mediocre grade in history has become difficult, what with doing poorly on reading quizzes and not having enough time to finish the in class essay. I originally thought this class would be an easy A.

I have started to wonder, does anyone make decisions based solely on their grades?

I talked to my parents and friends to see what they thought, and I got generally the same answer: “Do what your heart tells you, and don’t let your grades change that.”

But do I simply ignore the constant reminders of my strengths and weaknesses? Why would I want to pursue something like history, if my grades tell me that I’m not excelling in that particular subject? I had always considered studying history in some way or another as part of my career, since I had enjoyed it up to this point.

I wondered if maybe the universe was telling me that there was yet another thing about myself I didn’t know.

I then thought that maybe the teachers had held me back. Maybe I just wasn’t used to the way they teach, or maybe there was a miscommunication between them and me. I spoke with a few of them, but there seemed to be little issues with what they wanted from me, or what they wanted to change.

They simply told me that I’d “adjust,” and that this was a “common” feeling for freshmen. Maybe this was true, but all my friends seemed to excel in every class they did last year, if not gaining success in even more classes.

Could it be the class itself? Was it that I had trouble in Comparative World History because it was much more different than I expected? I felt completely lost, yet afraid to go to my friends for help since they were doing so well.

I questioned that maybe I was overreacting, or worrying too much and not living in the moment. My peers told me that there was no way to tell what I was destined to do after the very first quarter of high school, and I should take more time to consider my options.

After some time (and some encouraging grade reports), I chose to let these grades decide only my commitment to the subject, not whether I’m cut out to be a professional in that field. In other words, I should let high school determine my passions and then act on what I loved most to help me decide for college and a career.

So whether I just need to stop having such high expectations for classes, or realize that there are some classes I might just enjoy instead of getting an A, I certainly hope that this new perspective might alleviate some of my stress and doubts in my abilities. I might be looking back on this thought one day (hopefully at some dream job) and think how obviously these events pointed me in the right direction.

—By Grace Naify

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