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From the moment we take our first breath in the world, all the way to our last, we are defined by numbers. Together, all of our numerical values contribute to the functioning of the complex machine also known as Earth.

Instead of being known by our personalities, we are known by our age, rank, monetary value, etc. Despite the incorrect portrayal of our true character, we still allow these numbers to define us.  

By granting numerical values permission to calculate our existence, we have alongside permitted them to run our life. We need Social Security numbers and PIN codes to verify our identity and whether we deserve certain privileges or not. People receive respect by how many zeros follow their paycheck rather than the valuable wisdom they have to share.

As a child, I constantly observed how similar our world is to a computer: a gadget with seven billion digits interacting with each other, creating and sharing information. These numerical figures serve as a guide on how to address certain problems while keeping liabilities in mind. Our planet, just like a piece of equipment, is very vulnerable to attacks because of the dependency on these numbers. If these numbers were to fail us, like a glitch in a computer, our world would not be able to understand the foreign situation and crash.

I have watched my friends and family exhaust all of their drive, viciously racing to achieve what they see as the peak of achievement – straight A’s. And despite their effort, these numerical grades amount to little, since so many others were slashing toward the same goal.  Prioritizing our grades and preserving our grade-point average does not determine a successful life. All they do is display that we are working hard enough to absorb facts thrown at us.

Many fall into the perception that the higher their grades, the more likely they are to live the successful life they want to achieve. Misconceptions such as that have messed with the minds of many competitive students, myself included. I have let those false impressions penetrate my mind and lead me to believe the exact same. Just as the rest of the world, I used my time contributing to the functioning of the machine, and subsequently, to its doom.

However, I have come to see that calculating skills and equation proficiency do not define who I am – they are the part of widespread knowledge, not my unique finesse. Good ranks and grades are something that many of us can achieve but can not use to bring about the change we want. Instead, it is the experience and the skills we have that do not require basic knowledge which separates our contribution from the rest of the world.