Life is undeniably more challenging with a low GPA. Jobs are difficult to come by, you have no pride in where your life is headed, and everyone seems to look down on you. While you blame yourself for every shortcoming, others seem to be enjoying life, their jobs, and the everyday spoils of life. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and you know it. How can you get your life back on track, despite your unfortunate circumstance?
The most important step to getting back on track is to quit berating yourself. It does you no good; it only makes things worse. You may be thinking, “No, no. I appreciate the optimism, but I really screwed up. The life I thought I’d have is no longer possible. I’ll never work for the company I want, or go to the graduate school I want. I worked hard, but school kicked my butt!”
Pieces of those thoughts may be true: top-tier companies (e.g. Morgan Stanley, Google, etc.) may only take GPAs 3.0 and higher, and graduate schools may use GPA as an indicator for future performance, but that’s not the complete picture. When encumbered with a poor GPA, you have to play the long game. Whether you’ve realized it or not, a poor GPA will make you stronger. Do the right things now and you’ll have an inspirational story to tell. Take time to let go of your anguish and focus on the future. There’s still time to make something of your life.
Dismiss the Shame and Pity with Self-Forgiveness
Step 1: Forgive yourself. It may be hard, but it’s not impossible. We’re harder on ourselves than anyone else because we really know how much is left in the tank. If you don’t take the tank to ‘E’ everyday, then you’ll feel like you’re cheating or not being hard enough on yourself. It’s our own expectations that cause us grief. So have some leniency and things will get much easier.
Accepting Your Situation
Step 2: Accept your situation and circumstances. Be content with where you are and what you were given. Don’t compare yourself to others. Their lives are different, not better. Their version of life events lead them to the path their on. Equivalently, your life experiences have lead you to yours. While it’s certainly natural to let someone else’s success upset you, it’s better to see other people’s success as a collection of smart, positive decisions, that set them on a track that you can follow. It’s not all scams or deceptive works of art. Their success came from the things they did–easy or hard. Understanding that you can do the same is essential to your growth. Knowing that you can do it from the depths of a low GPA is just as exciting!
Think that in 15 years, you’ll have a niece or nephew in need of help, plagued with the same situation you are. What advice will you give? Will you be able to say, “Do as I did?” Will your story be an inspiration? I hope so. I hope that you live in such a way that when recanted, will be a source of inspiration to everyone who hears.
Enjoy the Journey
Step 3: Enjoy the journey. No one has, had, or will have the same journey as you, so take pride in it. Your life is completely unique and infinitely variable, good fortune or bad. That’s what makes it special.
Think of this period as your adult-life gestation. Incubate and grow into the person you want to be. Your character will grow in proportion to the work you put in. So work hard, plan a few years ahead, and imagine your reemergence as a bigger and better you. Start doing and start building, because your life is not over; it’s just beginning.
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.”
~ Walter Anderson
Please comment and share your thoughts. I’d love to know if you found this helpful. The dark times don’t last forever!