Do you ever have that feeling of pure disappointment when a teacher hands back a test and you get a considerably low grade? We’ve all been there.

Grades have always been important to me, not only because my mom is a teacher and she’d rip up any grade I went home with below a B-,

Olivia Perreault | Cigar
Olivia Perreault | Perreault holds copies of various publications after accepting internship offer with Providence Media.

but it’s a value that has been drilled into my head throughout my schooling. If you get a bad grade on a test, teachers typically aren’t happy. I remember in elementary school how it was “cool” to do poorly on a test. I used to get A’s and B’s but I would lie and tell my friends I did badly just so I could laugh about how stupid and hard a test was.

Then, when I was in high school, it wasn’t so cool anymore. Guidance counselors and advisors started to scare us into getting a certain GPA and SAT score, as if our life depended on it. During my junior year, I didn’t do as well as I should’ve on the SATs, and I had to sit through a three hour class once a week to build up my skills. Two months and $500 later, my SAT score only increased by 100 points.

Now, I wouldn’t consider myself unintelligent just because of a score. Sure, I didn’t have a 4.0 GPA and a 2200 SAT score, but these numbers don’t mean anything really. I’ve realized over the past four years that grades and scores are not the only determinant of your knowledge. I know people that have received far better grades and far worse test scores than me, yet we are at the same school. So, why is this concept of grades so stressed?

I’m always that person who spends hours studying for a test, makes dozens of note cards to memorize facts, and perfects each small grammar mistake on a paper. Why? Because we’re taught that a letter grade determines your life.

Here’s a news flash: when at an interview, no one cares about your grades. What they care about is your experience. I’ve had four internships during my college career and each internship has helped me land the next one. For other fields, this may be different, but for journalism, I’ve learned that my work and experience mean more than grades ever will. People want to know if I can write, and if I can write well.

I’m not saying that school is pointless and grades don’t mean anything, but I don’t think that you should let them control your life. I would rather have a memorable college experience than overwork myself locked away in my room to get a perfect score. I’ve been out in the real world, and really, job employers just want to see what you have to offer, not your final exam grade.

If I have any good advice to offer as a senior, it’s this: no matter what field you’re in, get experience. Majoring in Education? Volunteer at camps, schools, or children programs. Business? Get an internship at a company of your liking. No matter what your major is, it’s important to boost up your resume with more and more experience. Employers want to know that you’ve been busy.

So, instead of being scared to graduate and entering the “real world,” I know I’ll be okay. I mean, I didn’t become Managing Editor of the student paper, FM Program Director of the radio station, have a job at the TV studio, host a radio show, intern at a newspaper and two music magazines for nothing. It’s all to get a job after these four years. Because in the end, that’s what college is all about.