Wabash and the Inevitable GPA Crisis
If you’re reading this article and you’re a student at Wabash College - past or present - then you’ll relate to the devastation a lesser than desired GPA can afflict upon you. Personally, I entered Wabash with a 4.1 high school GPA and a not single clue of the trials to come. I used to believe that school would be a cakewalk and I would continue to mirror my success.
One thing that has been seared into my head since beginning the Wabash journey is that the punches will come, and they will be heavy. At times, they may feel like Muhammed Ali raining down haymakers. I allowed grades to dictate my life and the stress continued to compound. I quickly learned that worrying about the future was only detrimental to my performance in the present. It is futile to think about tomorrow when we haven’t yet completed today.
I Failed the Exam?
There really is no defeat quite like failing your first exam. As a student who could previously glance the material and succeed, the shock of receiving that first grade rocked my world. I managed to convince myself that it was only one bad exam and that things would surely change. Then, you fail the next exam...and maybe even the next. This continued failure creates a doubt that lives in our heads. It can cause us to lose faith in our abilities and develop an internal conflict that screams “You aren’t good enough!” Today, there is so much pressure to succeed in academics in order to place ourselves at the top of the competitive job market. This pressure can cause us to spiral. It can cause us to convince ourselves that we aren’t intelligent, or cause us to deviate from our dreams, which in turn affects our mental health. DON’T LET IT. You are more than the grades that you receive on that homework or report. You are more than a number on paper. You cannot allow a moment’s failure to distract you from the big picture of life.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
I believe that everyone, especially those welcoming the Wabash challenge, truly wants to be great. However, that ambition can simultaneously result in a large amount
of anxiety about our future. The biggest lesson that I have learned in my three-year tenure thus far is to live in the moment. This is largely true for anything in life. It is true that we endure hardships with our ultimate goal in mind, but what is the point in stressing about something years from now and allowing it to deteriorate our health today? If you receive a cringe-worthy grade, evaluate why. Wabash provides excellent access to its professors as well as many supplementary academic aids. If you aren’t performing the way that you desire, switch up your strategies. Make that meeting with your professor and take the walk to the QSC for help. After all, the definition of insanity is to repeat the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Chances are, you’ll find that the extra support will result in a better outcome.
Coping With the Devastation
It’s easy to fold your cards after failure... DO NOT FOLD. Nobody who has ever achieved greatness quit when they didn’t initially succeed. My first two years crumbled my psyche so badly that all I wanted to do was fold, but where would that get me? I left a town of 800 people to pursue my dreams, not to quit when things weren’t going my way. It would have been easy to pour concrete or work in a factory for the rest of my life, but I wanted more. I love medicine and the appreciation it instills about the fragility of life. After a lot of mental struggles, I learned roll with each punch and thank the struggle for the lessons that it teaches me. I’ve made adjustments within my own techniques and I’ve seen improvements by taking each class, each exam, each day at a time. Even today, if I don’t perform to my expectations, I’m learning to let it go. The past is gone and the future is untouchable. We can only get to our destination by first getting in the car and starting the drive. Roads curve and sometimes blow our tires (thank you Indiana potholes), but that doesn’t stop us from fixing the problem and moving on. I can thank Wabash for these lessons. I’m certain that the struggles aren’t over and there are many tough times ahead, but as for now and always, it’s a beautiful life.
Most importantly, brothers, we never have bad days; we only have bad moments.
Don’t let a bad moment distract you from the greatness that you dream about and don’t let anything - not even your own internal doubt - tell you that you aren’t good enough.
If you’re attending this college, then you’re already apart of something great. Wabash breeds greatness, and I believe that those who’ve completed the journey will tell you... more is on the way.