By Darrisa Townes
Waiting for your grade on a project or essay can be a daunting experience for some. The way you score on something can really affect
how you see yourself as a person. SCAD counselor Tasia Harper has a few words to say about why such a state of mind can hurt and why you shouldn’t attach your identity to your grades.
The Connector: Do you think that students are starting to see their grades as a reflection of their character? For example, if they fail a test or class, do they believe that they have failed as a person?
Tasia Harper: From what I have seen, I do. People really identify with their grades. They have a huge investment in getting good grades and when they don’t, they feel that they aren’t living up to who they are as a person. People tend to identify their worth by their grades.
The Connector: Have you seen this type of thinking in your work with students?
Tasia Harper: Yes, especially at SCAD. The school is so rigorous that people are stressed. And some of their scholarships depend on their grades. When students become seniors, they start to worry about how their grades will affect them getting a job. But if you do well in school, it doesn’t mean that you’ll do well at the job. Especially with art. It’s very subjective.
The Connector: What are some tools that students can use to keep them from falling into this mindset?
Tasia Harper: Use positive psychology by writing down your strengths in a journal. Learn how to separate your identity from your grade. When I was growing up, I was told that a grade is just feedback, not a concrete law.
So when your grades start to come in, try to avoid allowing numbers to dictate how you feel about yourself. Your GPA is important, but it isn’t a definition.