What an A minus taught me about identity

Sara Freitag, Opinion Editor

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Last semester, I received an A minus, and my life went from being “perfect on paper” to now “flawed.”

For my entire academic career, I had prided myself on possessing a 4.00.  In fact, I hid behind it.  I even enlisted it as ammunition at times that I felt weak or judged for my blonde hair and bubbly personality.  But, seeing that small minus sign beside the first letter of the alphabet released something inside of me.

I know I am not alone in viewing my performance as the “be-all and end-all.”

What I’m here to tell you is, you are not your GPA.  You are not that win or loss in the competitive sport you play.  You are not the signing or rejection of the record deal you thought your life depended upon.

Though at times, I regret the A minus, I do see it as a positive.  Without that miniscule line interrupting the flow of solid A’s, I never would have realized the facade I was hiding behind.  Shielding myself behind an image of perfection, my life had revolved around a number.  A number that had no say over my character, my personality, my purpose in life, and yet I worshipped it as the lifeblood of my veins.

I was then faced with a choice.  Continue to hide behind a false identity, or release myself to live with excellence and realize that I’m not a perfect person.

We all make mistakes, yet they can always be turned for good.  What I once saw as a “mistake,” I am beginning to see as one of my greatest launching points.

I strive to create my identity around empowering others, enabling them, and unleashing the voices of those who may otherwise never be heard.  I desire to share my own struggles, to be vulnerable in the areas I do not want to be vulnerable in, that I might bring encouragement to even one individual.

Just know that you are not solely the sum of your achievements.  Waste not a single second dedicating your heart, mind, and energy toward something that is undeserving of all that you can offer this world.

You will face obstacles.  Speed bumps along the road will amass themselves as mountains which seem insurmountable.  And yet, it’s those very mountains that launch you into a new place.  It’s the hurts, the disappointments and the rejection that unleashes tenacity from within.  That unveils an extent of resilience you knew not was in your capacity.

If you’ve recently faced an obstacle, whether it be a speed bump, congested traffic, or what appears to be a total accident, remind yourself of this: you made it through to the other side.  No matter how bruised up or phased you are, life is pumping through your veins.  You may feel paralyzed. Yet, you can and you will move on.

And remember… you are not a failure.  You alone possess the thumbprint which identifies the first finger of your hand.  So drop the facade.  Be vulnerable.  No other person has what it takes to offer what’s inside of you.

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