Every semester I try to take something new and interesting. You know, to broaden my horizons. Each semester, my grades in each of these "out of my comfort zone" classes have gotten worse and worse. It's made me panic about my life, but it's also made me think. I was taking an accounting class with Webster. He gave us all the slides for the semester, his lectures were clear, the homeworks were very straightforward, and you could bring a cheat sheet to the tests. I managed to get a 10/10 on every homework. However, after missing a ton of class for the Jewish holidays, I bombed my first test. No matter, I thought, I could still do well in the class. If I did well on the next test, which I felt confident I would, then I could still pull through with a reasonable grade. So when the next test rolled around, I studied by brains out. I walked into the test feeling like I could take on the world. But midway through the test things started going south. My balance sheet and other calculations did not add up. In accounting, if you do one calculation wrong, the entire problem compounds on itself. more There were questions I simply didn't know the answer to and problems that tripped me up. As I walked out of the classroom, my heart was racing. "I failed. I failed. What the hell was that?" I felt so alone, so worthless, and most of all I felt stupid. I went for a run to clear my head. I remember that run so clearly. It was cold and drizzling. I cried as I ran. Those thoughts at that moment were the darkest I have ever had. My feeling of worthlessness was overwhelming. I spent the rest of the week overwhelmed with sadness and self pity. I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way. Even though we're at one of the best colleges in the U.S., feelings of worthlessness and failure are always in the wings, waiting only for the cue of a disastrous midterm to appear. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we let our GPA, our course load, or our academic pursuits define us? After that run, I realized that my dependence on numbers and letters needed to stop. I ended up getting a C+ in that class, the worst grade I have ever gotten. Yes, people, it happens, even at Columbia. I am not the only one, and YOU are not the only one. I learned an incredible amount from Accounting and Finance. I feel like a more knowledgeable person. And isn't that what being in a top liberal arts university is all about? We have strengths and we have weaknesses. We just need to remember that no matter what, we're still smart, we still love to learn new things, and our success won't be defined by our grades.