When you think of the word “Value” what comes to mind? Maybe it’s the following numbers, 3.89 GPA, 1150 SAT, 25 ACT, 155 pounds, and the $25,520 student loan debt. These are the numbers that for so long defined my value. The culture within the United States places crippling pressure upon beating the odds, the statistics, the norm, in order to succeed in life.
As we take our first step into the halls of high school, we are immediately surrounded by tantalizing pressure to score a certain percent on an end of course test, run a certain time on a track meet, exceed the SAT/ACT state standards, and ultimately construct the best 3 point digit that forever marks the superficial success that allegedly defines your value and worth as a student.
Continuing into college admissions process, application after application focuses on nothing but just a number. GPA, SAT Score, ACT score… the three numbers that either give you your wings or your fatality. Once those unforgettable UGA fireworks pop on the screen that send shockwaves of joy throughout your body pass, the school sends out a press release notifying the world of the unparalleled incoming freshman class statistics. Usually this provides a sense of comfort and pride for students and alumni alike because it shows the jaw-dropping quantitative dynamics that the freshman class has to offer.
Throughout our lives, our worth is measured by irrelevant statistics that many people have begun to find their identity within. I began to fall into this trap as I constructed deconstructive walls around my heart so that I could find my worth on how thorough my resume seemed. I interviewed and luckily succeeded in acquiring leadership experiences on campus during my freshman year, however my mindset was driven by the decapitating viewpoint that my worth and value was instilled in a resume. Not by the lives that could be impacted through my voice and my heart.
Numerically speaking, you and I represent .000028 %, which a statistics class may deem insignificant. However—through an organization called UGA Miracle—I learned how numbers do not define you and me. We developed a theme, “More than a number”. On a campus that is known for its academic profile and vast number of students it’s nearly impossible to not feel trampled by thoughts of irrelevance.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in college is that every single student on our campus has a story, a dream, a vision but most importantly a heartbeat. Within that heartbeat is an immaculate story that so many people feel ashamed to share. I believe wholeheartedly that transparency and vulnerability lead to freedom and growth.
I attend the greatest university in the country, not because of our statistics but rather because of the stentorian heartbeats that reverberate throughout our campus walls. I attend a university that places people first, that educates beyond numbers and instead empowers brilliant minds to transform impossible dreams into extreme realities.
We are to live our lives not defined to titles, numbers, or roles but to who we are at our cores, a living, and breathing, soul who has the capacity to change the world.
Our value is not determined by our grades, our scores, or our resume but rather by the story that lies within the confines of our hearts that so desperately needs to be shared. Always remember the dire worth in the words you have to say. Never let anyone have the power to say your dreams are quixotic, pursue them relentlessly and endlessly because only you have the power to squelch your ambitions.
I find my value in my faith in Jesus Christ. I am made whole because of my story of redemption through Him. As someone who previously and tirelessly pursued titles and numbers in order to bolster my professional career, I am proud to say that through my faith and experiences in UGA Miracle I have had the shackles of comparison that penetrated my heart and mind completely shattered to nothingness.
To learn more about my dreams, my vision, and my passions please visit my website at www.connorsiegel.net