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Comments from a Former 4.0 Student

It is the day after finals week and you have been watching the gradebook all month. Your teacher is handing back your test and you know that your entire grade is hinged on that one piece of paper. Because your perfect 4.0 GPA, or chances at graduation, hangs at a balance, you had studied your butt off to master this test, and now is the moment of truth.

And then you see the red ink.

Unless you are still at the top 0.1% of your graduating class that can still brag a perfect 4.0 by the end of your senior year, you have experienced the gut-wrenching feeling that comes with that lost last chance. The feeling that the world is just on the verge of ending and you seem to be the only human being who knows it. The regret that makes you wish you never signed up for that class and now your chances of a good future are over and you are sure that you are going to be stuck with a job cleaning Honey Buckets for the rest of your…

Stop it.

Just stop it right now. Take a deep breath and try to think rationally, even if it is just long enough to finish reading the rest of this article. Then you can go back to spiraling down into self-pity and regret if you really want to.

I had a 4.0 GPA since seventh grade. Not only did I strive for that perfect A, but I also strove for 110% in every class I did. I wanted that acceptance letter to my dream college and I wanted to be valedictorian the day I graduated. I thought my entire future hinged on that 4.0.

And then APUSH happened.

I lost my 4.0 over one A-minus in AP United States History, arguably the hardest class at SHS aside from AP Biology. Yet, as a senior who still got accepted into her dream college, I can honestly say that if I could do it all over again, I would still check that box on my junior class registration. Why? Because I learned so much from that class, and not just how to write great essays under pressure. I learned to focus on things more important than my GPA, like friends and family and enjoying my last few months of childhood. I could breathe easier because the stress of retaining my perfect GPA is gone. I can finally focus on challenging myself in advanced classes without having to worry about my GPA.

If you are considering dropping that class, or never taking another advance placement class again for as long as you live, just stop and think about it for a second. Are you really willing to give up a chance at this rewarding educational experience just because it knocked down your GPA a few hundredths of a percentage point? I urge you to think about it. The way SHS is set up, you do not even have to have a 4.0 to be valedictorian. So please, please, please reconsider before you take that class off your list. Because your 4.0 does not have to be the most important thing in the world. Think about it.