What You Don’t Learn in School

Grades have always been important to me. I started taking college classes at the age of 15, and (finally) had my first summer off from classes just this past year. 144 credit hours later, I have a bachelor’s degree, and am two semesters shy of my second one. In my time at college, I have earned 35 A’s, 8 B’s, and 1 C. And I can tell you without a shred of doubt, that that one C taught me more than my 35 A’s and 8 B’s. Without further ado, here’s the tale of a princess sitting in her kingdom without a care in the world, only to become a damsel in distress. (Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. And it’s also not that dramatic.)

My last semester of my first undergraduate degree, I was cruising right along to graduating two weeks after my twentieth birthday with summa cum laude honors. For this final semester, I did a split internship. The first half of my internship went smoothly and was a wonderful experience. I received an A for my work, and I grew professionally. I feel that I learned a great deal from my mentors, and that I had a positive impact on the children. And then it happened…

My very last course before graduation became hell on earth.

 For the second half of my internship, I literally and metaphorically went across the street…and it all went downhill. The second half of my semester earned me a C. My first ever C. Everything went wrong: I won’t go into details, but if you read the list below, you can get a sense of what I’m talking about.

I still graduated; not with summa cum laude honors, just magna cum laude (I’m still salty over it). But here’s my dirty little secret…that C taught me more than any of my A’s ever did.

I learned that:

Sometimes an advisor, or “mentor”, may not have your best interest at heart.

There are going to be times where it is crucial to stand up for yourself.

Sometimes, “no comment” is the right answer.

Sometimes no matter who you are or what you do, some people will just not like you; but you have to learn to work alongside them.

Sometimes life’s not fair; shine anyway.

Sometimes you will have to do things you do not want to do – suck it up and do it anyway.

Sometimes you will be treated one way to your face and another way when you’re not around – move on.

From bad situations, good can come – learn.

Take the high road – let it go.

Sometimes it’s about surviving, then thriving.

 So when it comes down to it, while the A’s on your transcript do look nice, those C’s might tell a bigger story. From this “C” experience, I’ve learned that sometimes life’s greatest lessons can be learned in unexpected ways and in unexpected situations.

What you don’t learn in school is that those “C” experiences will sometimes serve you better in the real world than any of those “A’s” ever could.


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