I got great grades through most of my years in public school. During my junior year of high school, I had a 4.8 GPA and was on track to be a valedictorian.
Then one day at a family party I had this realization that the only thing people cared to ask me about were my academic “achievements.” And while I was mad about it, I couldn’t quite blame them. What could I say about myself? Very little. And yes, there was a girl or two I wanted to impress.
I let my grades slip as much as possible during my final year of high school and it was one of the most liberating, intellectually stimulating periods of my life. I read almost all the books on the University of Michigan Classical Studies Ph.D. reading list. I started doing customer service and order processing at my family’s business. I worked for the Ron Paul campaign and attended lectures from the Ayn Rand Institute. I started my first blog, “Return to Reason.”
I was happy in a way I’d never been before because I was focusing on things that mattered to me instead of checking academic boxes. And by the end of that year I could look back and proudly say that academics were the least interesting part about me.
In college I spent all my time hosting events with speakers I thought were interesting, reading, running my campus club, selling tee shirts and making graphics for social media on Adobe Creative Cloud. When I finally left college, I skipped my finals entirely and got something like a 0.0 GPA.
I don’t regret it.