It’s Just a Letter

By Carly Henry
Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania for 2012


We’ve all heard people say that size is just a number.  Well, when you get back an exam, that little mark at the top of the page is just a letter.  It is so easy to get hung up on that one red letter at the top of a paper or test!  But, I am here to reassure you that your life does not depend on one grade. 

I am living with all of the honors students at school this year; so, when exams role around, everyone gets a little antsy.  Non-honors students do not seem to stress about one exam, but the honors students act as if their lives depend on it!  I myself used to stress about each and every test, but I’ve realized that it is not worth the anxiety.

Sure, it is VERY important to do well in school.  Solid grades help you get into college and graduate school.  But, learning valuable skills in school is even more important!  When you enter the real world, your employer will not care if you can ace an exam.   They will want an employee who can be personable, organized, and hardworking (the list goes on and on, but “excellent test taker” does not top the list!).

A few blog posts ago I talked about my professor who encouraged me to go on an adventure and explore the world around me.  If you are too busy stressing about grades, those experiences will fly right past your nose.  Whether it be a new friendship, networking opportunity, or an internship, you can’t let an obsession with grades blind you from what is really important.  

I encourage everyone to keep working hard and studying, of course!  When that test is placed in front of you, take a deep breath and know that you can handle it!  After that huge term paper or midterm, treat yourself to some “me” time.  Why stress about each and every question that you may or may not have done incorrectly?  One assessment will not determine your success!  Take a look around and find the big picture happening around you.  You may be surprised to find that those little red letters are out of sight in the grand scheme of things.


Carly Henry is a college freshman at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania majoring in biochemistry with a minor is business. Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Carly was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania for 2012. Learn more about Carly here!

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