You are more than any number

Each and every one of you is worth so much more than any number, be it a test score or your GPA. No, you are not a 3.0 or an 89 percent. Perhaps it’s a well-known fact deep down inside, but sometimes a gentle reminder is all that it needs to resurface.

Question your need to quantify your success. One test score does not determine your GPA or your future. One day, you may find yourself living the life you have always dreamed of, while also feeling unfulfilled — or living a life you never dreamed of, but feeling unexpectedly satisfied. Is the end result spending more than you earn? Keep in mind that paper money can buy only material goods and temporary comfort, not happiness. So then, what is the purpose of mindless working and spending when there’s no one to share your success or deep, dark secrets with?

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Self-worth is not defined by numbers. Getting a poor grade does not mean you are not good enough. Think about this: You would never tell someone that he or she is not good enough, so why would you say it to yourself? Why would you believe that about yourself? How could you think that you are not good enough?

It might be very hard to see, especially after a particularly terrible midterm. One bad exam is not the end of the world. Our dreams and aspirations are still there waiting for us. They will always be there if we want them to be. We can give ourselves the day to cry, to hate and to blame. Let it all out. Tomorrow, we start again, empty yet pacified, strangely ready to pick ourselves up and continue striding forward. Only look back to see how much you have accomplished, then look forward to see the endless possibilities. With a smile on our faces and with each step forward, we gain confidence and walk toward everything we have ever wanted, everything we deserve.

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Of course, it will be hard and lonely on some days. Why get up to fall again? Can we lay face up, watch the rain drops drizzle from above and let the mud splash on us as our peers sprint by, trampling our bodies? “What’s the point,” you might wonder, “when you can just let the rain wash away the mud and let the students from the next school year trample over you — again?” We must hope the sun will rise again and a warm breeze will pick us up, gently putting us on our feet and softly caressing our cheeks. It does get better, and we must maintain faith that it will.

Or maybe you had doubts in the beginning. Did UC Berkeley accidentally accept me? Am I supposed to be here? Instead of thinking so negatively, enjoy every opportunity and every chubby squirrel. Be grateful, and begin each day with a renewed sense of excitement and confidence. Keep that eager-freshman gaze, look from different perspectives — then you’ll realize that yes, you belong here, no more and no less than anyone else does.

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Do not forget that you are deserving and worth more than all the numbers you have accumulated over time. Be proud of all of your accomplishments, but remember not to let them define you. Be happy and embrace yourself, because in the end, it will all be OK.