I’m smart. And I’m pretty good at school. OK, I kick ass at school. If I could get paid to go to school I would be very rich.
3.8 unweighted GPA in High School
4.3 weighted GPA in High School
3.8 GPA for my BS
4.0 GPA for my MS
I’m the village idiot compared to my sister and cousins.
Every family values different things…sports, money, fame, beauty, etc.
Majerus…we care about IQ. And your GPA. And your SAT scores. And your ACT scores. And how your college ranks nationally.
Growing up I remember every time we saw family I would sit silently as my family asked my sister about everything she was doing (Odyssey of the Mind, theater, Math Masters, Gifted and Talented, Model UN, and I can’t think of them all). Oh yeah…AND she graduated a semester early and went to St. Paul to do an internship at the state capital. She earned credits from Harvard before she graduated from high school.
I remember after she left for college when I would see family and they would always ask me about my sister. How was she doing? What was she studying? And on and on. There is a cousin who was a year older than her and it seemed like a never ending competition for who was “smarter.” One had a higher GPA and the other had a higher weighted GPA. One had a higher score on the SAT but lower on the ACT.
No one ever asked me about my scores.
I wasn’t involved in these competitions. I always wanted to pretend I was in the running, but I was always just the family idiot. And so I learned to be happy with the fact that I had a super awesome, amazing sister.
When I graduated from high school I looked for the highest ranked Liberal Arts College in the Midwest. That’s like choosing a job based on how many vacation days you get per year…just a plain stupid idea.
I was miserable. I was so miserable I gave up the fight to be considered as a competitor in the Majerus family tree of smarts. I went to the community college in our town. And I resigned myself to be a next to nothing in my family…I was just fooling myself thinking I was in the running anyways. And I was okay with failing at life. I thought I had given up my scholarships to the prestigious college (that no one had heard of) and with it I had given up any hope of amounting to anything of worth in my life.
And then I graduated from a state university. And then I earned my Master’s Degree.
First one in my family. It didn’t really really count because it was just from a state university.
And then I met Josh, we got married, I started to teach and I made a difference for kids who really needed it, then we had Finn. And since that time so many more great and difficult things happened.
But (for me) it didn’t really matter where I went to college. I have created a life where I am beyond happy.
I am not defined by my GPA in high school or college. I am not a walking number college rank. And I am certainly not the score I earned on my ACT or SAT.
My sister graduated from one of the top colleges in the nation. She teaches in one of the neediest school districts in the country. She has created a life for herself that she is happy and proud of.
Is one of us better than the other? Was one path right and the other wrong?
In the end, we both ended up where we were supposed to be, in a life that makes up happy.
Every Christmas as my family gathers around the table to talk about scores and schools, my stomach drops. I know no one will ask me what my GPA or ACT score are (and it would be sad in comparison anyways). However, I hold my head up high because I’m proud of where I am today and I am simply a collection of the places I’ve been, people I’ve met, and lessons I’ve learned.
When I walk out of that house, I will do so with a smile on my face and holding the hands of my boys. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. The value of my life isn’t decided by where I went to college, but rather the choices I’ve made and the dedication I’ve put into the journey.
I am proud of my sister and my cousin’s achievements.
I just hope if there is another person sitting around the table who doesn’t feel smart enough or good enough, I want them to know their life isn’t over if they don’t get into a top ranked school or if they’re not sure what they want to be when they grow up.
I wear the village idiot sign proudly and if another cousin does feel the same way I always have, I will stand with them in solidarity because…
Life is what you make of it.
You ARE smart and you ARE of worth in this family. Be proud of who you are…there is no one else like you around this table or in this world. And if I could go back to my 14-year-old self…I would tell her that too.
Finn…your worth is not determined by GPA, or you scores on IQ, SAT, or ACT tests. It’s not what college you attend. It’s what in your heart, mind, and soul that counts in the end. High school and college are really so very small in determining the path of your life.