It's a Girl Thing

A Letter to the Discouraged Student

Dear friend,

It’s been a rough year, huh?     Whether you’re in high school or college, events have left you exhausted, counting the days until this semester is over.

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A tough work load, difficult classes, bad grades, personal relationships…it’s all part of this stressful season, and honestly, you hate it. Maybe you’re wondering why you even try. Wondering how other people come out of this whole education process alive. And you’re ready to give up. I understand. I get the stress. The dread. Questioning if any of this is worth it.

…But I also understand that now is not the time to give up. No matter what trials you’ve faced this year, you can finish strong.
Sweet friend, can I remind you of the bigger picture? Step back for just a second and look ahead five or six years. Where do you see yourself? Graduated from college? Working? Married? Enjoying better life opportunities, because, hey! You made it! ?
Wherever you see yourself at the end of this journey, I want you to hold on to that image. Remind yourself that God has a big, exciting adventure waiting for you after this strenuous process is over. Just think how much your education will benefit you down the road!
I know it’s hard to remember, but this season is only a small portion of your life. The feelings of inadequacy and longing for something different will be over soon. These years are a small chunk of life you’ll someday look back on with gratitude. Grateful that you pushed through. Grateful for the lessons and relationships that took root. Grateful that God sustained you.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16, ESV).

Here are a few things to remember this semester…

1) Your grades do not define you.

This truth is so important, and I wish I’d clung to it sooner.
I’m gonna be real with you and confess that I was a terrible Science and Algebra student. I got C’s, and D’s and the rare B…but my attitude was worse than those grades.
It still hurts to think about Algebra because I remember feeling so stupid and useless. I cried almost every time I saw a “65%” (or lower) on the screen after taking a test. I’m just one of those people who does not grasp math easily, and, after I spent two years believing that I was stupid (I even took those dyslexia and ADD tests online), I realized I put a lot of stalk into a huge lie.
Bad grades after hard work are discouraging, but when a low mark presents itself to you, remember that it’s just one grade. You have more chances. And that one grade doesn’t withhold the most important gift from you: God’s love and nearness.
It may seem silly to put such a serious outlook on school, but really, we need to remember what’s truly important. Grades don’t matter to God. Effort matters. Attitude matters. The amount of dependence we put on Him to help us matters.
Give yourself some grace. Remember that grades do not define intelligence.

2) You don’t have to be good at everything.

I’m not good at Chemistry or Algebra. Do I wish I was? Sometimes, but I have strengths some mathematicians don’t have. Just because letters in a math equation or graphing numbers scare me, doesn’t make me less intelligent than the smartest math student in the state (although it may feel like that at times 😉 ). I’m learning that I don’t have to be good at everything. Not every class will be easy for me. But I can try to understand and enjoy everything I do, whether I’m good at it or not. That’s how life works 🙂

Albert Einstein put it this way:  “Everybody is genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I hope you’ll cling to that truth sooner than later—I wish I had.

3) It’s okay not to be okay.

There is no perfect way to handle discouragement! You don’t have to be strong every day. Whether you’ve been hurt by a personal circumstance, a family problem, or just flat-out struggling with a class, it’s okay to feel sad. Always let yourself feel what you need to…Just remember to get back up when you’re done. You have a semester to conquer.

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18, ESV).

4) There is good at the end of this.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24, ESV).

Whatever you’re pursuing in your education–whatever you have in mind for the end result…it all takes time. If you muddle through the difficulties, the victorious outcome will be worth the trouble.

“So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NET).

5) School is not eternal.

It’s easy to become so wrapped up in school that we forget how temporary it really is. I don’t mean temporary in the sense that it only lasts a few years (though that’s true), but temporary in that, school doesn’t affect your eternity. Grades do not change your “status” in heaven.
Can I remind you that this earthly education is JUST earthly education? Of course, it’s important, and we should take it seriously. We’re called to do all to the glory of God. But what I’m saying is this: don’t let school determine your eternal outlook and steal your joy. It will all be forgotten when you get to heaven.

I want to wrap things up with this quick word of caution: You and I must not compare ourselves to other students.
Oh friend. Comparison is a crusher.
If you let the success of others tear you down, you won’t get far at all. Your job is to try your hardest and ask Jesus to help you accomplish what He has for you.

Let me tell you a little secret: Those ‘genius’ students you see struggle too. They’ve had a hard time with school before. They’re human just like you and me.
Grades, campus status, or ability to ace certain classes does not define you as a student, and these things should not be compared between yourself and others.
This will all be over soon, student. Take time to regroup—read Scripture, take a walk, talk things out with a friend…or better yet, pray. Refresh your soul and press on. Jesus will help you—you need only to ask for grace. ❤

Before you go….

I’ve created a free printable with verse cards to cut out and keep with you. These verses have helped me immensely in my school journey (and life in general), and I hope you’ll take the time to check them out. They’re so uplifting. ❤

That’s all for now!

Would you do me a favor and pass this along to a friend or family member who’s struggling with high school or college? It would mean the world to me ❤

If this post encouraged you, Leave a comment or feel free to contact me! I love hearing from you.




6 thoughts on “A Letter to the Discouraged Student

  1. Thank you for this! I needed this reminder. I ended this past semester with some bad grades that I am beating myself up over. This is supposed to be my senior year at college unless I didn’t pass. And to think I want to go to pharmacy school after this. It is stressful, and I let myself believe the lie that I’m not good enough. I’m grateful that God sees the bigger picture and that there is more to life than earthly education.


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