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You are not defined by your academic results. By: Kavita Ubhi


There are some of us who have encountered the humiliating experience of receiving bad grades at some point in our educational life which resulted in a lack of confidence, regret because you know you didn't work harder, self loathing and disappointment. I know what that feels like. But, I also know what it feels like to learn and reflect from that disappointment, work harder and see the fruits of your labor come to fruition because you've put effort into something that you are passionate about.

A snippet of my experience would be when I had received my A Level results were are not as bad as others but still not great. I found out in the morning of result's day that I had already gotten into university before I picked up my results. Even though I got into university, it was not my grades that got me in. I had an interview a few months prior due to my personal statement where I got to pitch myself to one of the professors. I was able to speak about my passion for Law, my chosen A Levels and display the fact that I could handle the course regardless of what I achieved as an A Level. My personal statement was able to portray my interest in Law and that I was smart enough to pursue a Law degree, therefore it played a huge factor for me securing a place at university.

We're told from a young age that you must achieve academic excellence in order to be successful and earn considerable amounts of money but what we are not reassured about is that your grades do not necessarily measure your intelligence. Factors such as; the amount of effort that you have put into learning the subject and whether or not you can memorize the content comes into play. Unless you're like Christopher Langan (supposedly America's smartest man with an IQ over 200) and can learn a whole semester in two days and pass the exam, you will have to put the effort into your studies. However, if you have an average IQ like the majority of us, then I am here to reassure you that what you have achieved in school may be due to the effort that you put into your studies, not your level of intelligence. I'd like to add that whilst some people may be naturally gifted like Christopher Langan, success is not always guaranteed just because you are intelligent. For example, Lewis Terman found that some of his Termites, those with extremely high IQ's, were successful but most actually turned out no better than the average individuals; instead, some of the children who he had deemed to be of lesser genius excelled further in their future careers due to their self-confidence, perseverance and goal orientation. "Like any personal attribute, intelligence will only take you so far; luck, timing and opportunity are also important factors" (Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell).

It's important to remember that even though firms and other people may judge you due to your academic results, you will still have an opportunity to showcase your skills in different ways as I did in my university interview. Additionally, remember that "knowledge of a law student's test scores is of little help if you are faced with a classroom of clever law students" (Outliers). Therefore, my advice would be to develop your authenticity, create a network with like-minded individuals, be confident in your abilities and always work to the best of your ability no matter what you're doing. If I have learnt anything from reflecting on my A Level grades, it would be that “continuous effort– not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential." -Winston Churchill.

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