College student asleep on dorm room bed
Photo: James Woodson/Thinkstock
I spent the better part of 20 years as a college student. This was as a result of going to school while working and raising a family. The pressures were intense at times, compounded by my drive to graduate with the highest GPA possible. What I didn't realize through the entire experience was that, as a well-educated professional in my field, none of my employers would ever ask me what grade I received for any of the classes I took in college. This has proven to be an important fact to refer to when advising my own daughter. At the first glimpse of a rise in her temperature over the demands and rigors of her college curriculum, I remind her of this truism, and a relaxation effect begins to take hold.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a parent who says, "Hey, don't worry about your grades, as long as you pass." Nor am I unaware of the importance of an impressive transcript should my daughter decide to apply to graduate school. As the CEO, Bank of Mom, holder of graduate degrees and a professional person, I do have a vested interest in my daughter's achievement and academic success. However, I am a realistic parent and experienced adult who knows better than to ride my daughter about maintaining a 4.0 in college to the detriment of her own health and sanity.

At almost 20, my daughter is facing many developmental tasks as she advances into normal, healthy adulthood. What concerns me most as I watch her navigate through the high seas, rogue waves and occasional Bermuda Triangle of classes in college is how she manages the successes and failures she will undoubtedly face. Will she attribute all her good grades to her own skill and acumen while blaming her failures on her professors? Does she always have an excuse for why she didn't do as well as she wanted to, or does she humbly acknowledge that she didn't work hard enough or spent too much time partying? I know that good grades are often an indication of organized living, a sense of responsibility and diligence. But I also know plenty of outstanding students who are shiftless cheaters and plagiarists who spent their undergraduate educations mastering their manipulative skills. 

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