10 Characteristics That Are More Meaningful Than Your Finals Grades

by Lauren Martin

It's that time of year again, and I don't mean that time that includes sleigh bells and your mom's homemade fruit cake. I'm talking about the time of year that is most closely associated with hell on earth. It's the time you think about suicide or fatal illnesses as a respite, a break. The time you are forced to nurture yourself on coffee and Adderall. It's the time when two hours of sleep is a luxury and the library is more familiar than your own home. That's right, it's finals week.

Many of you are in the midst of your own personal hell and we can all sympathize. There is nothing worse than trying to cram a semester's worth of facts, dates and general knowledge into your tired and overworked head. There comes to a point when you realize, whether you are willing to admit it or not, that there might be nothing more you can do and you must accept your fate.

Accepting the idea that you are not going to get the grade you need can be difficult to swallow. It's a realization that not everything in life is always possible and sometimes you must accept defeat. However, it's important to make the distinction that it's not the end of the world. Your life is not over because you didn't get the GPA you think you need to succeed in the "real world" and there are other things that matter besides your grade in Intro To World Cultures.

Of course, grades are important. It's important that you try your hardest and give your studies the effort and attention they deserve. Because school is just the beginning, the preparation for the real world, where you will practice and hone the skills that will get you through life. And like anything in life, you must put an honest effort in anything you do or else nothing will ever be worth anything.

However, another life lesson you pick up in college is that sometimes things just don't work out. Sometimes you don't get the grade you thought you deserved, or you didn't study hard enough and did. Sometimes you get sh*tty group partners and will quickly need to learn how to handle insubordination.

Life isn't about exams and essays. It's not about your grades or your group projects. It's about the skills you learned from those things, and the life lessons you walk away with. It's about your character. Because your boss won't care about how you did on your finals senior year, but whether or not you have the determination and drive to succeed.

You're not going to get your first job based on your GPA, but rather, if the interviewer liked you. No one ever hires on paper alone, and it's how you present yourself that determines your employment. So if you failed your finals, or didn't get the grades you wanted, it's okay, because it's your character and your skills outside the classroom that will get you a job.


The first and most important characteristic when it comes to landing a job is your likeability. People will hire and fire you based on their level of fondness for you. If you have charisma, you hold the keys to success. Grades don't mean sh*t if you can make people like you.


If you can come up with a new idea, anything is possible. The most successful people are the ones who are able to challenge the norm and find a new way of doing things.


Wit conveys intelligence. You may not have gotten a 1600 on your SATs, but if you know how to speak with sharp lines, people will begin to think you're smarter than the lot.


Perception is everything. If you are confident, people will be drawn to you, believing there is something great about you that they have yet to find out.


As Woody Allen says, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." You won't get anywhere in life if you don't have a drive. It's the fire under your ass that will keep you moving towards your goals. Half the battle of getting anywhere is having the perseverance to keep going.

Sense Of Humor

People love to laugh. Keep 'em laughing and you'll keep your job.


People do judge by appearance. Having a distinct style will convey that you are secure in yourself and you also have the guts to express yourself. People believe that an outer appearance says a lot about a person, so having a sophisticated look will help you maintain the illusion that you are powerful.


Nothing good ever comes from sticking to routine. The best things in life are always found when you aren't looking for them. In order to find unique situations, opportunities or any type of inspiration, you must take chances.


Life comes at you fast and knowing how to adapt to constant change is an important characteristic. Nothing in life is set in stone and being able to "roll with the punches" will keep you above the competition.