Time for my annual message for students in K-12.
You, yes you, even those of you in the back ducking down in your seats, you are not a test score.
You are so much more than that.
You are living lives full of human potential with all of your dreams before you and yet to come.
You love and receive love, you engage your curiosity about the world, the larger world around you, not only the world you find in lessons and school, but in families and friends as you are finding your place in the world.
What does a test tell you about that?
Not very much. Yes, tests are important and it’s important to try your very best when you take one, but the information they give adults are limited. Sometimes, the only thing adults learn from the tests you take is how good you are at taking that particular test.
You are not a test score. You will find that when you are 25 or 29 or 44 years old, no one will care what your state reading and math scores were when you were 9 or 12 or even 16 years old. They won’t ask. It’s not important because what will really matter is what you have done with your life and accomplished up to that point.
So don’t stress about these tests, the ones you are about to undergo. Just do your best, not because the score is important, but so that you can relax knowing that you worked throughout the year to master the knowledge and skills needed, you brought your A game to the testing room, and that if you had to do it again, you couldn’t do anything better.
However the scores turn out, you will always know that you did your best and that is all a human being can do.
And you know what? Even if you didn’t, the world is not going to end. The sun will rise tomorrow and your life will go on.
In time, you will find someone to fall passionately in love with. You will have children of your own and, in time, grandchildren to spoil. I know it seems far away now, but the point is that you have a great life ahead of you. Your parents, your grandparents, and all those who came before lived wonderful lives with meaning, satisfaction, and success.
Remember this as you grind #2 pencils in a sharpener or bang away at your laptop keys, as you read incomprehensible questions and try to figure out what response to make, as you talk to your friends in the hallway about question #27 forgetting the threats made about never, ever talking about the test, including “texts and posting on social media sites,” because the one thing humans do when they have shared an intense experience is talk about it afterward …
Remember that you are a human being and that means you have infinite worth, one that a test will never measure and will never limit.
You are not a test score. Do your best, but then go and have a wonderful life. Because you are so very much more than how you might do on a test.