What Are You Worth?

When I taught at BYU in the classroom, I gave the students a pop quiz on the last day of class.

What year were you born?                                                          
What number are you in your family?                                          
What was your high school GPA?                                               
What is your current GPA?                                                         
How tall are you in inches?                                                          
Estimate your I.Q.                                                                        
What year did you graduate from high school?                            
What year will you graduate from college?                                  
How old are you in months?
How many countries have you visited?
How much money do you expect to earn in your lifetime? 
How many part-time jobs have you had?                                    
How many people tell you they love you?                                  
How fast can you run a mile?                                                      
How many minutes do you exercise a week?                              
How much are you worth?                              

Almost immediately I would start to get questions.

"Is it okay if I just estimate?  I don't know exactly how tall I am."

"What is the average I.Q.?  I'll just put that because I have no idea what mine is."

"Do you mean just me, or how much money I think my husband will make in a lifetime as well?"

"Do I really have to report how many people love me, or can I just say 'many'?"

My answers are frustratingly vague.

"Just do your best."

"Whatever you think it should be."

Within 5 to 10 minutes they realize this isn't actually a quiz. Then they start to have fun writing down their answers. 

After they've had time to complete the quiz, I have them fold the paper in half lengthwise so that only the answers (all numbers) are showing.

"Now I'm not going to do this, but imagine if I were to collect all these papers, mix them up, and then pass them back.  Your job would be to return the paper you receive to its rightful owner by only looking at the numbers.  Could you do it?"

The students always shake their heads.

And then I ask them an important question.  "Why?"

Why are we not able to identify each other purely by numbers?  Here are typical responses:

"Because I don't know what other people's GPAs are."

"These numbers don't mean anything if I don't know what the units are."

"When I look at other people, I don't think of them in these terms."

And that's when I tell them about scales and rulers.




Numbers only have value when you compare it to another number.  



Are you short?  Are you tall?  It depends on what the average height is.



Are you dumb? Are you smart?  It depends on what colleges are asking for in their college applications.



During the high school and college years, we tend to get used to being compared to each other using numerical values.  We stress about our GPA, ACT, scores at the last game, and scores at our last competition.  What did we rank?  What was the average?  Did we win?  Did we lose?  Were we good enough?




And that's when I remind them of an important fact that is so easy to forget.  Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother and Their Son don't see us as a number.  They don't rank us.  They don't rate us.  They don't compare us to each other.  They just love us.



Then I write a number on the whiteboard.  Here's the number.

3.02

I ask them to guess what that number is.  Most are able to figure out that it's a GPA but that's all.  And then I tell them.

It is a GPA.  My undergraduate GPA.  

That's right, I graduated with barely a 3.0 from college.  I tell them when I walked across the stage to get my diploma, I thought I was a dumb student.  I didn't see myself as one of the smart ones.  I wanted to go to graduate school, but graduate schools don't accept dumb students like me.

But my Heavenly Parents don't see me that way.  They just see a person who is Their daughter, and They love me.  It took some time, but slowly I was able to start to see a glimpse of that person too.

Seventeen years later,  I was accepted into graduate school.

At first I felt like I was the stupidest person in the room because I was sure I had the lowest undergraduate GPA.


Over time, I realized that I had just as much to offer as anyone else in the program.

Dressing up with the women in the program
Visiting an orphanage in Ghana

Meeting one of the first LDS members in Ghana


My favorite study group



Social Venture Competition Team

I began to see what I am really worth.





And it isn't a number.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~








Comments

Susan said…
Love this, Heather--way to end the semester!
Thank you for your thoughts. I sometimes feel the stress of being in a competitive environment where it seems that so many other students are smarter or more hardworking than I am. From this article, though, I was reminded that I have unique skills and talents to offer that may not be quantifiable.
Scott Harmer said…
I really appreciated this post and not just because it meant not writing an essay. So much of our society is built on comparison which, as we learn from the scriptures, is "the thief of joy." My favorite line from this post is, "numbers only have value when you compare it to another number." Of course, it's natural to identify ourselves relative to those around us, but I wholeheartedly agree that this is not what God intended. He sees us for our true potential. We each have our own individual strengths and talents - the things that shape our personality. We can't compare our chapter three to someone else's chapter twenty. We just have to do our personal best and be ourselves.
kayla funk said…
The message in this article was exactly what I needed to hear. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others (which is something I am guilty of). Your story was inspiring and taught the importance of seeing ourselves as God sees us. Learning about the divine gifts we have each been given will help us realize our worth. It is okay to not have a 4.0 GPA or not have the highest I.Q., because we are not defined by a number.
Elizabeth Wheatley said…
Thank you so much for this! I'm so glad I was able to be a part of your class, and I'm grateful you put this as an alternate option. What a great way to end the semester!
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Hannah Southwick said…
This post kind of gave me chills! Thank you for making this an assignment not only because it's not another essay but also because the end of a college semester deals with a lot of perceptions of grade-based worth. It's such a great reminder to have the perspective that we are not defined by any numbers in what really truly matters. It's easy to look at a test score average and feel of less worth because there are people who were better or smarter but comparison really is the thief of joy. For me, there is a lot of joy available in the feeling of accomplishment. I am happy for the end of this class because it was hard at times but I did it! Thank you Professor Pack!
Emily Hynst said…
Professor Pack, thank you so much. I love this lesson about our individual worth, and I think it is amazing that you have helped me see that through a "Communications in Organizational Settings" class. I came to find so much confidence in myself and my abilities, instead of the numbers they produced. Don't get me wrong, I like an A as much as the next person. However, at the beginning of the semester, my husband gave me a blessing and told me I would "find I had organizational skills I didn't know I had." I not only found I had skills that literally applied in an organization, but that I finally learned how to balance my schedule and feel successful in ways that actually matter. I am still struggling to let go of all the numbers. I often stress about weights and timelines and other things that I know my Heavenly Father inevitably won't care about. Regardless, I have gotten much better at understanding my worth, and I am so grateful for the role you played in helping me see that. Thank you for the confidence you placed in me and helped me learn to place in myself.
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Quentin Hynst said…
Thanks for this, Professor Pack! I just watched a lecture by a homebuilder and owner of his company, and the advice he gave was the same as yours. Think quality of life, not numbers. Speak learning in college and working with uplifting people in your career. It's not about the grades or the number of figures in your salary. Life's about becoming, and it's about being happy.
Joshua Beacham said…
This was a really inspiring message, Professor Pack. Thank you for sharing it and thank you for being such a wonderful instructor this semester. -- Joshua Beacham
I love that even at the end, you didn't list out what your worth was in WORDS, either. You did it in pictures — which are worth 1,000 words. What a beautiful way to drive in the point that we are worth more than numbers and words can ever outline! Thank you, Professor Pack!
Taylor Child said…
Professor Pack,

This is the perfect way to end a pretty tough semester! I fall into the pit of misunderstanding my own worth, especially as a student. It is comforting to read your experience with very real feelings that I feel so often. As I approach my own undergrad graduation, feeling unsure what I have actually learned at my time at BYU I know for certain that I will remember your class not only for the skills, but for this experience that you shared.

Thank you so much for ending the semester strong Professor Pack.

Kindly,
Your Student – Taylor Child
Anonymous said…
I'm definitely glad I chose this for the assignment, and not just because it's shorter. I'd like to think I have an easy time understanding other people have immeasurable worth and that God loves them, but it seems so much harder to believe about myself. Others' mistakes seem so pardonable while mine seem so inexcusable, but every so often I get a reminder from someone like you that those I care most to please don't place value based on performance; they openly and freely cherish everyone, including me, regardless of who I am or am not.
Especially not being a business mind (to be honest I kind of despise the business stuff), I felt numerous times this semester that I was in way over my head with this class, but I appreciate the encouragement that you so readily and sincerely offered. I doubt I did anything to be memorable as a student, but I hope my thanks can at least be remembered as part of a much larger whole of lives you have been willing to touch. Thank you for putting up with me, and thank you for teaching how to gather light and not just numbers and facts.
Anonymous said…
Professor Pack,
I could not think of a better way to end the semester than with this short "assignment." With finals coming up and final projects due soon, taking a second to read this article you wrote about how numbers not defining you allowed me to take a deep breath and remember what is important in life. We are more than just our grades, our gpa, our weight, etc. We are complex and unique individuals that all have something so great to offer. God gave each and every one of us talents that make us who we are, not what grades we get on our transcript.
Matthew said…
This article reminds me of my individual worth. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with us. I feel like life can be filled with positives rather than negatives that occur when I compare myself to others. I love to know that Heavenly Father sees us with our divine potential in mind, and that's something we should be doing for ourselves.
Gabrielle Fuller said…
Professor Pack,
Thank you so much for this reminder. With all the stress of grades and tests that are coming up as the semester ends, I tend to forget that my grades don't define who I am. I am reassured knowing that before I am a student, I am a person, a sister, a daughter, and a friend whose worth is not defined by points, scores, or scales.
This post reminds me of the story of Punchinello. The story takes place in a city of puppets who are defined by the number of dots or stars they are given by each other. Our grades, heights, and records can be these dots or stars that we allow ourselves or others to label us with. Eventually, in the story, the puppet Punchinello learns how to remove these labels; he must remember his maker and forget the judgments and comparisons made by others and himself. And that is some great advice.
Alma Schoenfeld said…
I really appreciate this message! I wish that I was able to participate live and in person to feel the whole effect fo the experience. Nonetheless, it is a great message, thank you for sharing it. I, unfortunately, fall into the trap of comparison deeply. I am a highly competitive person so in reality I am thinking about my grades, my weight, my financial status, my workouts, anything I can compare. I will tell you, it is quite exhausting. I needed this, especially around this time of finals. Thank you again for the message of worth, reality, and hope!
Jared Brockbank said…
Thank you for this beautifully concise yet profound message. To be honest, I often become so worried about assignments and grades that I forget why I am attending school. The purpose of education, in my opinion, is to learn, grow, and become better people. As you powerfully wrote, our worth is not determined by numbers. Our Heavenly Parents love us for who we are as individuals. They care about our hopes, worries, and desires--not our course grades. Thank you again for this uplifting message.
Caroline Reeser said…
Thank you for your message! I, like many other BYU students, often find myself measuring my individual success through my grades, and when I don't do as well as other students, I start to compare myself to them. Your post was a great reminder to me (especially as we approach finals) that I am more than my grades. Your post also reminded me that our timelines don't have to match everyone else's. We can still take up opportunities to branch out and stretch ourselves no matter how old we are. Thank you!
Tanner Overstreet said…
I don't have any kind of profound response to this post, but your words really do mean a lot. It is also a great reminder that is very prevalent right now.
Tayson Meanea said…
This post helped me understand something about myself. I don't necessarily base my self worth on the numbers that relate to me, but I do sometimes base it on how other people will think of me based on my numbers. I worry if they'll think I'm smart, a hard worker, or worthy of praise. I sometimes let that go so far as to reach for a number just to prove to others that I'm worth something. That I matter. But it's nice to remember that I never have to prove my worth to anyone. I can always feel loved and like I belong.
Unknown said…
Professor Pack, you inspire me. I will never forget the challenge you gave me in our first meeting over Zoom. You told me to fail on at least one assignment. Failure has never been an option for me. As a result, I have a lot of anxiety and a somewhat-pretty GPA. Reading this put my life back into perspective. Besides my GPA, what makes me, me? I hope I can one day look back at my college experience and have more memories than just stressing out about grades. Thanks for giving me more perspective and putting the pep back into my step this semester. I would've never guessed that you once felt like the dumbest person in the room. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us to make us better communicators and students. Again, you inspire me.
Katja Johnson said…
I really loved this perspective. I think it is so easy to get tangled up in all these seemingly important measurements. These things can be great motivators at times. However, their worth is not long-term. When people talk about an eternal perspective, they often mean that we should just remember that things will be better in the long run. This is not a definition that I love. When I understand an eternal perspective, it includes all of eternity. This means that eternity includes right now. I do not want to waste my eternity on things that do not matter. Life is full of true meaning, not just numbers that we can calculate to "define" ourselves. These numbers don't determine our worth. "The worth of souls is great in the sight of God." Thankfully, He is the one who determines our worth.
Ben Hayden said…
Thank you for this wonderful message Sister Pack. There is so much comparison in this world that I see and feel myself, and it can have so many negative effects. Thank you for reminding us how The Lord sees us, because that is the only thing that will matter in the eternities. Thanks for the great semester!
-Ben Hayden
Chris Isaac said…

Thank you for your inspiring message and the reminder to us all that our GPA, or any number for that matter, doesn't determine our worth. When this message comes from a BYU professor, the meaning and impact are so much more profound. Thank you for all your support and help this semester. You have made MCOMM an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Katie Callister said…
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Professor Pack. I have always loved end of the semester thoughts from the professors that I have had. I love the moment of connection that it gives us. The pursuit of knowledge is such a wonderful gift that we've been given by our Heavenly Father, I have often easily lost sight of what matters most, while reaching for numerical achievements. I am grateful for a knowledge that although those numbers are important, our worth is ultimately more valuable than we can estimate. Our ability to become is so much greater than the numbers that we achieve. Thank you once again for your stories, help and class. I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays.
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Dallin McDougal said…
I love this a lot!
I really appreciate the reminder to focus on the way the Savior values me. Focusing on how the savior sees me helps me to better see my own value and my own potential. Thank you so much for this Professor Pack!
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Suzannah Ibarra said…
Thank you! I needed this :)
Lauryn Ohai said…
Thanks for sharing, Professor Pack. This is such a great reminder of our worth and what's most important in life!
Thank you for this simple, powerful message! It is so easy to get caught up in the numbers and think that is where we find value. But the truth is that God sees us as his children. This week I have been finalizing my portfolio for advertising and I have thought a lot about comparison. This post reminded me that comparison is the thief of joy and God sees us as something far greater than we could ever see ourselves. Thanks for making this class enjoyable and teaching us useful skills!
Unknown said…
Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I am guilty of getting way too caught up in numbers and comparing myself to others, especially as finals week rolls around. I love that you ended the semester on this note, because to me, that is truly what makes BYU the university that it is. I appreciate that you were able to effectively teach us the curriculum and help us develop important skills, but also were able to share your testimony of the Savior and His love. Being able to receive all of that in one class is why BYU is the best university in the country, and thank you for a great class and semester!
Ethan Hymas said…
I really liked what you wrote. I have had those very same feelings of inadequacy here at BYU. Sometimes it seems like everyone is so much smarter, attractive, and talented than I am or will ever be. It is comforting to know that I do not need to compare myself to others and that Heavenly Father loves me despite my shortcomings. Thank you professor! This was a wonderful class and a great semester.
Heidi Boyer said…
The first thing that came to my mind while reading this was that more people need to see this. I struggle so much with comparing myself to others. This message was simple, yet profound. I am grateful for your example, not just in this blog post, but throughout the whole semester. I have felt that you truly inspire students to help them realize they can be amazing and spread light. Thank you for your example and the light you spread.
Darcy Zacchilli said…
This is totally a hard lesson for people to learn! Its hard to not think about numbers when our society revolves around them. We are constantly being measured and evaluated. There are so many other things that are better measures of our worth and value. We need to be reminded that accomplishments and grades don't give us value, but our eternal identity gives us infinite worth not because what we've done but because of who we are. Thank you for this reminder!
Rebekkah Good said…
Thank you so much for this reminder. I feel like in the competitive environment we live in, it is very easy to forget that numbers do not matter and that we have more worth than what the numbers say. God loves all of us and everyone has their own talents and it is important to remember this daily.
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Ellie Hughes said…
I appreciate the concept that people are not defined by their numbers. There is no way to explain the scope of a person with a statistic. Something that a friend of mine once said when I was feeling particularly sad was, “your body is the least interesting thing about you.” There is so much more value to a person beyond the basic numbers that identify them, especially when we see ourselves through the Savior’s eyes.

Ellie Hughes
Mary Maycock said…
Thanks for this, Professor Pack. Life really does seem to be reduced to numbers most of the time. It's difficult to rework your brain into remembering that divine worth isn't measured by man.
Abby Carn said…
I love this! I think especially while in school it's so easy to look at the influx of grades and numbers that are used to determine your "value" to the school and get sucked up in that. Sometimes it's hard to remember to take a second and reflect on the experiences I'm having, not just the grades I'm getting. If I wanted to feel like the smartest person in school I would've gone to a college that gave me a full ride scholarship and had a 100% acceptance rate. I chose to be here because I believe in the environment and the learning experiences I can get inside and outside of class, and this was a great reminder of just that.
I definitely feel bogged down by all of the comparisons and statistics that students are asked to live up to sometimes and it is good to have a reminder that my GPA won't determine my happiness or success in life. Experiences and character and potential are important too and that's what God really cares about. It's so crazy that we read that today because I was discussing this topic earlier in a similar context and said, "God doesn't number his sheep, he calls them by name. I am not spirit child 147, I am just his daughter, Abbey." I don't think that was a coincidence. That you for the reminder Professor Pack and thanks for teaching such a great class.
Kyle Bowman said…
Honestly, it's really hard to realize that almost all the numbers in our lives are basically meaningless in the overall scheme of things. Heavenly Father is not going to care what my height or weight was my senior year. Heavenly Father is not going to care about my GPA in college. Heavenly Father is not going to care how much I make a year or how many promotions I get. All that Heavenly Father cares about is that I am His son, and that he loves me. And while that may take a while to digest, it is the most true statement there is.
Thank you for this class and for this final lesson.
Finn-Christian Sigurd Baker said…
I really appreciate the way that you look at life. I really wish that we had the opportunity to cover something like this at length. It is crazy to think about how important the numbers are in our lives, but they do not always seem to give an accurate depiction of who we are and what our abilities might be. I know plenty of people who had extremely poor grades throughout high school and college but would later outperform most people who got perfect grades when it came to dealing with real-world situations and life in general. No matter what your own numbers might be and how they stack up to whatever they are being compared to, you are almost always going to be far better than any statistic that might be placed over your head. It is obvious that these statistics can be good markers of what your strengths and weaknesses are, but it does not truly describe who you are and what your abilities are. Personally, I have only ever received only one B throughout all 2.5 years in college. This year is different, as I have been dealing with living and working over 600 miles from the BYU campus all semester long. I will also be in the same position next semester as well. It has been tough, but I have been able to manage. It has taken a great toll on my overall performance here at BYU, but I am learning to adapt to everything from poor internet, wildfires, power outages, stay-at-home orders, and so on. I know that there are plenty of people out there in the same position me, as well as many more who are facing even tougher challenges, but we all manage to find our ways of getting things done. We might fail along the way and seem to be lagging far behind... more so than usual, but we always seem to find a way to come out on top again. Overall, I loved the class and I think that this blog post of yours is fantastic and that we can all learn from it, especially when we are facing issues in our lives.
Unknown said…
This is surprisingly reassuring. I feel that I’m going into a profession that exists on the basis of comparison. “He’s a better singer than you.” “He dances better.” “I believed his performance more.” And with hundreds of people competing for each role, it can be discouraging to experience rejection after rejection. I’ve been a pretty average student in college, and this semester I most decidedly proved to be less-than-the-best. I’m working through that, and though not every professor has been as understanding, I take comfort in your belief in the value of a soul over the value of a grade. Thanks for a meaningful semester, Professor!
Anonymous said…
As someone who frequently uses numbers to assess my own success or worth, this was a very refreshing read. I especially loved how you mentioned that our Heavenly Father's love for us is not contingent on numbers.

After failing an accounting exam last semester, I called my sister in tears. She immediately changed the subject and asked me if there was a pre-requisite GPA cutoff to get into Heaven. Ever since that conversation, that idea has stayed with me. After any numerical "failure", I check in with myself to see if I'm living my values to a degree that I'm content with. This has helped me claim more joy than seeing a 4.0 on my transcript.


Thank you for a great semester!
Liza Smith said…
I love this reminder that we are worth so much more than a grade or a number. Throughout my time at Brigham Young University I have felt like there is constant competition. The first two years I got caught up in competing however, the last year I really have just focused on building myself. There has been such a change in my education. I feel like I might not be the smartest book-wise but I have become such a better version of myself. Thanks for the incredible semester. The future is bright for all of us!
Anonymous said…
This is such a powerful message. Using numbers to assess my worth and success is something I have struggled with throughout my life. Schools, employers, and others use these numbers because they are considered fairly objective and measurable. However, these measures can't possibly capture the complexity, value, and true beauty of a person. We are all children of a loving Father, and He loves us just as we are. No numbers or strings attached. Professor Pack, thank you for this important reminder and great semester!
Maddy Rencher said…
Thank you for this message Professor Pack! As you reminded us throughout the semester and in this post, I have come to find that there are more important aspects of life than the numbers used to define us. I have tried to embrace that teaching throughout the semester and find myself living a more balanced and happier lifestyle. We are worth more than numbers and the quality of our lives can be so much greater once we realize that. Thank you for a wonderful semester!
Jordyn said…
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Jordyn Sommerfeldt said…
I used to be afraid of sharing what I got on the ACT or SAT in high school. My friend group in high school was so smart and I never felt I could relate. They were all part of NHS (National Honor Society), indicating a high GPA, but I missed the mark by a few percentage points. I spent most of my life thinking I was dumb, thinking I couldn't measure up. An amazing teacher in my senior year of high school changed that for me. She made me realize I had so much to bring to the table.

While I still struggle every once in a while with this mindset of thinking I lack intelligence, I've worked so hard to retrain myself. It has transformed me. Today, when people ask what I got on the ACT, I ask them why it matters. My intelligence cannot be fully measured by a standardized test. It grows and evolves with me each day. I love what you had to share Professor Pack because I can relate to it so closely. Thank you for being such an incredible teacher with so many life lessons to share. I will remember this class and the lessons you shared.
Anonymous said…
The world can cause people to loose eternal perspective. I remember growing up being taught everything you mentioned, it was all about the numbers. If I didn't do well, I felt that number was a reflected of who I was as a person.

At times I struggle to maintain an eternal perspective of who I am. Numbers or letter grades don't define you, you define yourself through your character.

I will continue to endeavor in seeing myself through God's eyes and not as a number. Thank you.
Unknown said…
It's definitely hard to remember this sometimes. Someone very close to me is always comparing themselves to other people and they get discouraged and just wish they could be better. I always tell them not to compare themselves to much and that they have so much to offer, but this really is a difficult thing to deal with. I don't feel like I compare myself to others, but especially in the business world it sometimes feels like it's all about the numbers. Numbers mean success, numbers mean that you're helping more people or making more money. Numbers and comparisons don't stop after we walk away with our diplomas; they're all around us for our entire lives, so I'm grateful that you share this with us at the end of the semester. This is especially true considering how difficult the class was! It's comforting knowing that there are very successful professionals who have gone through the same things we have. It gives me hope knowing that I'm not alone and even though I have my own, individual struggles, so does everyone, and we should help to build each other up, not tear each other down. Thank you for this parting message.
Anonymous said…
I lament that the stress on numbers is always present. I feel like all education does is number us, and it is not until after you get out of its sphere of influence that you have the potential to see yourself for what is actually important. It is always so refreshing to read posts like this that allow us to refocus on a broader perspective.
Anonymous said…
Comparison is truly the thief of joy and I really appreciate the reminder that Heavenly Father doesn't compare us to others! I think there is such a profound truth in that He sees us without any bias and loves us regardless of what those around us look like. Thank you for helping me see things differently!
Professor Pack,
Thank you so much for the invitation not to see ourselves and others as merely numbers. I find that I have a much easier time working with numbers than people, which means I have a great tendency to compare. I will now work harder to see myself differently from that.
Anonymous said…
What a great way to end the semester. I think it's so easy to get caught up in the numbers and this was a great reminder to focus on the good in ourselves and others instead of the bad.
Derek Howe said…
I love the idea that when you look at numbers with no context, they don't mean anything. Society is all about comparisons, especially on social media. How many likes did your last post get? How many do you usually get? How many did your friend get on their last post?

This message is very important to remember that there is more to life than numbers, money, and GPA. What matters most is the relationships we have and the life we can build if we believe in ourselves the way God believes in us.
Marissah Hannig said…
Thank you Sister Pack.
I think this message has helped me to realize that there is more to me and more to everyone than their grades, or any other quantitative personal statistic. I do rather well in school, which is something I am proud of. Yet, when I see others with their great athletic, charismatic, or artistic abilities, sometimes my good grades seem a little underwhelming. Sometimes I think my good grades are nothing more than me being good at memorizing things. I say all that because some of the most important things about us can't be quantified. And what is most beautiful is we are all different and we all can benefit from the strengths of other people. It doesn't have to be a competition. What a wonderful world it would be if we enjoyed the strengths of other people and strived to use our strengths to help other people!
Thanks again for the great semester. Best wishes!
Zach Parrish said…
Professor Pack, thank you for you sharing this message. Comparing myself to others is something that I've always struggled with. No matter how much "success" I achieve, I always feel like I'm not good enough. I find ways to diminish my accomplishments as I compare my small accomplishments to the big accomplishments of others. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about this negative cycle. In the past, I've compared myself to others on the basis of test scores and grades. Now that I'm graduating, I realize that comparison doesn't end with school. I'm constantly comparing myself to others in every facet of my life. I'm trying my best to stop comparing myself to others -- I know I will be much happier if I do this.

Thanks for a wonderful semester. You've been an incredible teacher and I'm grateful for the lessons you've taught me.
Unknown said…
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Jake Gochnour said…
Professor Pack,
Thank you for your message. Recently, I have found it so easy to compare myself to others. I find myself comparing grades, salary, occupation, GPA, friends, looks, vacations, talents, and almost everything else. I noticed that when I perform poorly at something, the feeling of inadequacy I get is much more potent than the feeling of competence when I do something well. The adversary tempts us to compare, compete, and measure our lives against others, eventually leading us all to feel bad. Your message is so much more hopeful and insightful. Some of the happiest people I have ever met in my life might not be considered "cool", "successful", or "popular" because they care more about what God thinks about them than what others do. I want to practice this in my own life.

Thanks for being such a great teacher. Your class was so beneficial to me!
Riley Gilliland said…
Thanks for this, Professor Pack! I also tend to get way too wrapped up in my GPA. Before college, my parents always stressed the importance of getting good grades so I could study at BYU. When I first started at BYU, I struggled academically. My GPA was much lower than it ever had been, and I, like you, felt dumb. I've worked hard all the way through this last semester to significantly improve my GPA. The improvement has been great, but I still put too much stock in grades. I derive a lot of my self-worth from being a good student. I liked reading your undergraduate experience with grades, and I appreciate the reminder that God and Jesus Christ love and value us now matter how well we do in school. Thank you for an amazing semester.
Parker Nokes said…
Professor Pack, I agree with you 100%. I imagine you felt "imposter syndrome" at some point (or frequently!) during your various degrees. My major is Information Systems and I have generally been good at all things technology-related. I am planning on starting a Ph.D. program in fall 2022 which will be a whole different world than what I am used to. I am afraid that I won't be good at writing or research like I have been with coding. I am worried about having imposter syndrome and if I will fit in. However, I feel spiritually that this is the path that I need to take. As such, I know my Heavenly Parents will be watching over and guiding me along the way. I recognize that it won't be easy and I may still have imposter syndrome, but I can always fall back on the knowledge that I am loved by God and Jesus Christ. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of what is truly important in life. Thank you for being a great professor as well; I have really enjoyed this class.
Jackson Newman said…
Professor Pack,

Thank you for sharing this article with me! I tended to look at myself as a number (or rather, a compilation of numbers), and it was really damaging to my confidence and self-esteem when I would compare myself to others. But as long as I rely on what my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ think of me, I can feel their love for me and see myself as a Child of God with infinite potential. Potential immeasurable by numbers and rulers and worldly metrics or standards.

Also, thank you for being such an amazing professor! I've truly enjoyed taking your class.

Jackson Newman :)
Parker Ellis said…
Loved this blog post. Our whole lives we are accustomed to numbers that rate our progress, our abilities, and how we stack up against others. It's always helpful to be reminded that numbers are worldly. God doesn't care about our test scores, our GPA, or our IQ. He really cares about how we treat other people.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this post. This reminded me that everyone in the world has a flaw or insecurity. However, we can be reassured by the fact that we are surrounded by people with those flaws and insecurities that have still managed to make it. I also loved your reminder that God doesn't look at the numbers. All He cares about is effort. Thank you for this semester!
Unknown said…
I really related to this post. I have often found myself comparing my qualitative achievements to those of my peers. It is easy to fall into the mindset of, "My GPA determines my future achievements". But just as you said, it truly is not that way. Some things, in the moment, can seem overly daunting and of paramount importance. But when you are able to zoom out and look at the bigger picture, there are many other things that are much larger determinants in who you are as a person.

Thank you for the great semester!
Anonymous said…
It was a good, hard semester. I have always struggled with grammar and this class helped me learn a lot. It was hard but worth the work. Thank you for taking the time to let us know what is truly important. Sometimes we lose sight of what is important.
Anonymous said…
I absolutely loved this article. I often find myself comparing my worth to others in terms of GPA, physical goals, and money. Whenever I do so, I tend to feel that I am not good enough or that everyone else is just so much better than me. I must stop to think and realize that it really doesn't matter in the long run what my college GPA but rather apply myself to the best of my abilities. God loves me for who I am and wants me to succeed. We must find a time to take a step back and realize our worth and how much we truly can accomplish.
Thank you so much for the amazing semester!
Holly said…
Professor Pack, I love this analogy you posted. I wish we were able to attend class so that I was able to receive this lecture in person. I think that we often forget that our worth is based on who we are, not our net worth, GPA, or IQ. This article served as a great reminder for me and I plan to take some time to reevaluate who I believe I am and what my worth is.
Daniela Sweeten said…
Professor Pack,
Thank you so much for these thoughts. I think it is a great reminder. I feel like so many applications and screenings feel like the "quiz" you gave at the beginning. I feel like I'm just rattling off numbers. I am always so thankful when organizations and people look at others for who they are, not for the numbers that they feel describes them. I loved this class. I feel like this is one of the most applicable classes I have ever taken. Thank you!
Brie Reed said…
Professor Pack! This is amazing. I wish I could have experienced that pop quiz in class. I'm sure it was so impactful. I got chills just reading it. It can be so easy to get caught up in the numbers. For example, I recently had my first baby, and I've been caught up with the numbers on my scale. I'm certainly not in the same shape I was in before baby was born, but I need to remember that this body created life. I created my sweet, perfect baby boy, and yes, it did take a toll on my body, but that doesn't minimize the amazing things it does. Thank you for this reminder and for all you did this semester!
Unknown said…
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Amelia Ward said…
This is such a beautiful post and a quiz that I would definitely need to take because I fall into this same trap of comparing myself to others by these same numbers. While getting a high score on a test or maintaining a high GPA is a great accomplishment, it doesn't define our worth. We all have so much to offer the world because we are all so unique! Since starting at BYU, I've really tried to not compare myself to others. I'm certainly not perfect, but I found that I'm so much happier and able to appreciate my accomplishments when I don't compare myself because my accomplishments reflect my own work and my best efforts.
Thank you so much for a wonderful semester! I loved having your class this semester!
Natalie Twede said…
Professor Pack, I love that you take the time to share this message. I'm not sure if it's the online learning from COVID or the difficulty of my classes increasing, but my GPA has seen better days. My whole life I've placed a lot of my value in being a "smart kid." Everyone always told me I was bright and caught on to everything quickly. I freaked out when I got a B on a test. Fast forward to the past few semesters. My class performance, according to my grades, has been a lot worse than before. My midterm grades have been coming back at multiple letter grades below what I would prefer. My self-confidence has taken a big hit because it's like my identity was stripped from me. I struggle daily with feeling like I don't belong in my program and I'm going to graduate and be so behind. This post gave me a lot of perspective on not only how my Heavenly Father sees me, but also that my college GPA does not determine the rest of my life. I cannot thank you enough. Cheers to one of my favorite classes this semester.
Marcus Larson said…
Reading this made me reflect on a book by Clayton Christensen called "How Will You Measure Your Life?" which talks about a few similar things. In reality, nobody REALLY cares about numbers (and if they do, they got their priorities mixed up). All people care about is if you got what it takes. I imagine all of us upon death turning in our "life report cards" and rather than displaying certain accomplishments, quantifiable deeds/misdeeds, and success benchmarks, there will only be a few things. One of which will be "who we became." In life, I really hope that I can live this principle of being someone who focused on being the best I could be and any other achievements were natural consequences of that effort.
Alisyn Wright said…
I love this post! I often find myself looking comparing my numbers with what society deems "good enough". It is great to have a reminder that number don't matter. What matters is what you do with your life and who you become.
Trevor Jensen said…
I needed this post! I am grateful for your words and for helping me realize that I am worth more than a number. In recent semesters, I have felt like the better the GPA the easier it will be to get a job. This mindset has stressed me out. This post helped me realize that there are so many things that are more important than a GPA or even a number. I am grateful for the knowledge that I am a Child of God and he loves me unconditionally. Thank you for a fantastic semester!
Anonymous said…
What a fantastic post. I needed to read this because it allowed me to take a step back to understand how God sees me. Of course he doesn't rank me against other people. Of course he isn't comparing me to others. Even knowing these things, I sometimes still fall into the bad habit of valuing myself primarily through comparison. Once again, this was a great reminder that God loves me, that he cares about me, and that I should care about other people in the same way he does. I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who loves me, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to learn so much this semester. Thank you for a great semester!
Anonymous said…
What a sweet message to end the semester! I feel like I have been measured by a number my entire life (through GPA, my height, my weight, etc.). At the end of the day, a number does not mean much. My true intentions with how I went about things like school, friendships, jobs, and other things is what really matters. This life is about learning and growing; my undergraduate years do not determine my final form. I still have a lot more to gain academically, personally, and spiritually. This MCOM course did stress me out but I put all the energy and effort into it. I am by far not the "smartest", but I was able to learn so much about how to be professional within the business world. Thank you so much for your guidance and teachings Professor Pack!
Lizzie Ferguson said…
I really love this post! Often times we get caught up in the unimportant aspects of life. We are stuck in a rut, constantly comparing ourselves to others and always falling short. This is a great reminder that we are more than a number. We all have worth. We are all priceless. Don't compare yourself to others. Be proud of who you are. We are enough.
Izzy Ober said…
Thank you so much for your wonderful insight and perspective. It is so difficult to try and think like our Heavenly Father and Jesus... without numbers, without comparisons. I am so grateful for your example and for your willingness to motivate others to be more than what they think they are compared to the average. So inspiring. THANKS
Cole Batten said…
This post was very comforting, thank you for sharing it. I often find myself using numbers to measure my self-worth instead of seeing what really matters. As students we are too hard on ourselves for slipping up and getting a poor grade, or worrying about characteristics we can't control. It's so important that we refrain from comparing ourselves to others or focusing on what we don't have because more often than not we will miss the valuable characteristics we do have. Thank you for all you did for us throughout this semester!
Unknown said…
Derek Poulson said -

In a world where we like to see numbers visualized, I love how you show that numbers cannot illustrate us! Something that I have to constantly remind myself is that life is just "you v. you." If I am able to improve myself rather than be better than those around me, I now have meaning and I can accomplish so much more in life. It is like when running a race, if you look to see how you are running compared to those surrounding you, you take your eyes off the prize and run slower than if you just kept your eyes straight ahead, your gaze never leaving the finish line. Thanks Professor Pack for showing how to not to measure ourselves and for a great semester!
Alexis Jackman said…
Reading about this exercise really made me rethink how I view myself. I find myself comparing these numbers of mine to those of other people, and I don't always realize the detrimental effect that it can have on my self-esteem. It is so important to get out of that worldly mindset and step in to an eternal one. Thank you!
Benjamin Smith said…
This is such a great blog post. There are so many measuring sticks in life. The biggest measurement I have ever weighed myself against is the amount of time in which I complete something. When it was time for a mission, I measured how fast I left after highschool compared to my friends of the same age. When I got home, I measured how fast I would graduate compared to them. Often I even measure how much money I make compared to others. These are all implicit, natural man tendencies that come and go. But sometimes it is just hard to shake them. I believe that we see our true potential when we stop comparing ourselves to others and start giving the very best that we have. Not only will we come to better understand our earthly potential, but also our divine potential.
Rachel said…
Thank you for this! I feel like I have felt the same thing recently with my GPA and grad school, but I felt like this was very helpful. It helped me to see that if I really want to go to grad school and I do my best it will work out! Thank you for all you have done for us this semester!
Unknown said…
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Brian Groberg said…
I thought this was a great article. Thanks for being vulnerable and genuine with us! Reading about the class exercise with the quiz was beautiful. The question "if I gave a random persons answers, could you return it to the right person?" really made the point clear to me. I hope that I can remember to value myself as a disciple of Jesus Christ more. I do not want to lose my way as I enter the more competitive job market.
Thanks again.
Anonymous said…
This is awesome! I really appreciate you sharing your personal story with us. I think most of us tend to undervalue ourselves. I know that for me personally, I struggle with seeing my worth and fully appreciating myself. I feel that this problem is especially prevalent at BYU.

My perception is that most students here are strong, active members of the church. They are all RMs, all have incredibly high GPAs, and all have their lives put together. Although I am an RM myself, married in the temple to a wonderful wife, and have a decently high GPA, it feels as though everybody else is smarter than me, more spiritual than me, more social than me, and generally more competent than me. I know these perceptions are wrong, but sometimes it can still be difficult to see my individual worth and value.

I will try harder to appreciate myself and see what Heavenly Father sees in me. Thank you for a wonderful semester.
Tyler Allred said…
Thanks so much for this. I am one who compares himself to everyone under the sun. It is hard not to, but a good refresher to know that God doesn't want us to do that.
Elaine McBride said…
This was the greatest thing I have ever heard. I have never felt the smartest in a classroom. I have held myself back from wanting to pursue certain careers because I felt like others would be better at it. But this is all from me comparing myself to other students. I have never compare myself to my previous self. I can learn any skill I want, but I can bring personality that no one else has and I need to see this as a success. Thank you again for this!
Unknown said…
I love hearing about this! A lot of the time it is hard to see others progressing faster than me but you are totally right! God has a plan for us no matter what we do or how long it takes us. He doesn't care about the numbers in our life but rather who we become. This is a great reminder especially before finals :) Thank you for sharing this with us!
Adam Lau said…
It was a great story to read. I really enjoyed how much you were still able to learn and grow after what you considered a failure. I love to compare myself to others and sometimes it has been very destructive to my growth and this is a good reminder to not.
Carolyn said…
Thank you for this post! I relate to it a lot. I graduated high school with a low GPA and didn't get into BYU the first couple of times I applied. It became really difficult for me to not care about numbers when I felt that not only was everyone else better than me if we compared GPA, ACT scores, the number of friends we had, etc. but it became especially hard to not compare when my GPA and other academic numbers were holding me back from getting into BYU, my dream school.

Fast forward to now, I'm now in the BYU strategy program and recently got into the product management emphasis. I did improve my GPA quite a bit while attending BYU-Idaho, but since getting into BYU and experiencing some health issues, I've had a difficult time maintaining my high GPA and again find it easy to compare myself to others. My GPA isn't as high, right now I can't take as many credits as most do, etc. It's again easy for me to compare myself in every way. But even though I haven't maintained a high GPA or take as many credits, I have other strengths that enabled me to be admitted to the competitive programs I'm in.

With all of that said, I don't even want it to seem like my acceptance to these programs or my strengths determine my worth. They don't. I know that my Heavenly Parents don't value me based on what school I go to, my GPA, or what programs I am or am not accepted to. I believe They expect effort from me to keep their commandments and progress in life, but even speed of progression in life doesn't equal worth. We all progress in different ways and at different paces. Although I don't really understand it, I appreciate my Heavenly Parents' love amidst the journey——no matter what my GPA, number of friends, or any other number is.

Thank you for this reminder, Professor Pack!
Talmage Lamb said…
Thank you so much for a great semester. In parting, I consider myself lucky to be able to attend a university surrounded by amazing students and teachers. I think life is more enjoyable when we stop keeping score.
Ryan Nord said…
Professor Pack,

I love this article. I think one of the hardest things for me is realizing that I'm not a number. I know that God doesn't see me as a number, but at times I have felt like teachers, friends, students, and employers see me as a number. When completing that pop quiz I did not realize that it was not a quiz until you said it was not. I think we as humans make a lot of assumptions. Assumptions lead to comparisons. And comparisons are the death of our self-worth. I think almost every time I have felt down it was because of some sort of comparison I had made. The only judgement I should care about is God's. Thanks for the advice. I have loved this class and incorporating spirituality into our education.
Ryan Nord said…
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Emilie Christensen said…
Professor Pack,

Thank you for an inspiring semester. This article is just the exclamation point to finish it off! I've had a hard semester and often everyone seems to have it all together while I'm drowning. Thank you for the reminder that's often not the case.

As I think about the people I admire most, their GPA, appearance, test scores, etc have nothing to do with it. Thankfully, our worth is inherent as children of God.

Thank you for an incredible semester! You'll definitely be a professor I remember from my college experience.

Kindly,

Emilie
Lauren Zenger said…
Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us, Professor Pack! This is a very powerful message as I’m sure we can all relate to these feelings of being compared or lesser than because of a number. I really appreciated hearing your story and personal struggles with this because it reminded me that people of all backgrounds, ages, professions deal with this natural tendency to compare ourselves. It is important that we do our best to look past the numbers that “define” us and try and see ourselves how our Heavenly Father does. Our individual worth is not determined by numbers, grades, or outcomes and it is great in the sight of God. I really appreciated this assignment to end the semester as it helped me gain a better perspective of myself and my education.
Unknown said…
Thank you for sharing this meaningful message with us. I think it's something super important to remember, especially during finals week. It can be too easy to get caught up in our scores that we stress ourselves out more than it's worth.

I really liked your example of having to shuffle the papers and guess which score belongs to each person because as much as we may think we know how someone else is doing, we really don't.
Carver Rindlisbacher said…
I really liked this message. This past year I have struggled with grades and my own expectations. I have always been considered a good student, but the classes that I have been taking have been kicking my butt. I had anxiety when I was in elementary school, and I started to feel it again. I've been constantly checking my grades and trying to figure out what I need to get in order to get a certain grade, then if I get that grade what will my GPA be...etc.

I remember in my first year at BYU a lot of my professors would tell us the quote "Don't let your grades get in the way of your education." I never really got it until this semester. Grades don't mean everything, will I be asked about my final grade in Philosophy 201 or any other class? Probably not.

I think we always assume that people are better than us at everything. But, I'm sure some of my professors had to retake a class in college. Even Michael Jordan didn't make his high school basketball team his sophomore year.

Anonymous said…
Thanks for this post. I really needed to hear this. When applying to jobs and trying to figure out what to do in life it is very easy to feel like a number and no one cares about your name or who you are. I think it is important for us to remember who we are and what we are worth in the eyes of God. That is why I love Sundays because it is a time for me to recenter and remember that all the stress of my normal life doesn't matter and that I am important to God.
Mason said…
I absolutely love this! This is something I see and feel in people around me and myself all the time. We are not numbers or indicators. We are people. We should not compare ourselves to those around us, ahead of us, or behind us. The only person we should compare ourselves to is our old selves compared to what we are now. Our own personal progress is the only real indicator of our personal growth and development.
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thank you for your post, I love this.

I'm getting married in about a week, so suffice it to say, this semester has been pretty stressful. For me, it's been very easy to get caught up on the numbers, dates, grades, money, and who knows what else as I try to keep juggling all of the different balls that I have in the air. But in the end, it's not the numbers that matter, the most important thing is our relationship with our Heavenly Father, and our relationships with the people with whom we've made covenants.

I love that you mentioned that a scale and a ruler only have the power of comparison that we give them; that our height or weight by itself doesn't mean anything. I feel like that's the way that God sees us; He doesn't see me as being taller than other people, or rounder than other people, because He doesn't compare me to other people. Rather, He loves me just as I am. The only person who my Heavenly Father compares me to is my past self, and as long as I'm moving upwards and forwards, I'm doing okay.

Thank you for your message!
Ethan Cash said…
I for one, am grateful this class is online so my classmates don't have to watch me weep. It's easy to compare myself to others who are so much younger and seemingly more successful than me. I have to remind myself constantly that we are all on different paths in life. We also have no idea the struggles that others are going through. Thank you for the reminder. I've bookmarked this page so I read these comments and remind myself throughout the semester.
Cole Benson said…
I really enjoyed this lesson you gave. I can attest to feeling the same way. When I arrived to BYU my freshman year I remember talking to my friends and finding out that almost all of them were in the top of their class in high school or valedictorians. Their ACT's were way above mine and I seriously felt like I was not near as smart as any of them. Most of the time, at least for me, I feel like I compare myself to others academically. Which is a really bad practice because it makes me doubt myself. However there are many that do compare themselves physically, emotionally, etc. The takeaway I got and I hope anyone else that feels insignificant compared to others, is that just as you said Professor Pack, we aren't numbers in the Savior's eyes. The point of this life and the next is to progress eternally, so that means we can only get better and better as time goes on. Thanks so much for this message and thank you for this semester!
This article was just what I needed to hear after a long and, at times, frustrating finals week. I feel like I am in this constant battle of comparisons and worrying about how I am stacking up against everyone else, however, reading this article opened me up to a fresh perspective that I needed to be reminded of. Thank you Professor Pack! This has been one of my, if not the, favorite class I have taken at the Y. I've learned so many life lessons and will go forward with a fresh outlook of my college experience.
Unknown said…
I think the last semester I have realized that the numbers mean less and less. I have personally been one who has strived to achieve the highest numbers I can, but I have realized numbers don't correlate to happiness. The best times are with friends and family because when you are with good friends, you never talk about the numbers. You enjoy the person for who they are. I am working on finding friends who can appreciate and accept me regardless of the numbers I have attached to me.
Veronica Lyons said…
What a great post! I love hearing about your life experiences.

Ten years ago, I would have never thought that I would be 31 and still at school. I sometimes compare myself with others (usually my weaknesses to their strengths), but then remember that I have felt stronger than ever in this journey. I'm a daughter of God, a mother, a wife, a marketing student -in a foreign country, and I don't have a very high GPA. My GPA is a reminder that I am human and that besides all the obstacles, I am working towards my goal.

Thank you for being an inspiration and for a wonderful semester!
Alec Norman said…
This is great. It's so refreshing to take a step back and take a break from things used to measure our performance. While it's something that's important, it's not the most important. While it's good to strive to be the best we can be, and get the best results we can, we can't reach our highest potential without first seeing how God measures us. Thank you for a great semester.
Alec Perez said…
Thank you Professor Pack for creating this assignment. As I read this blog, a phrase from the scriptures came to my mind, the admonition repeated many times to "remember". I think that this post teaches a lesson that everyone in today's world needs to remember. Throughout my college career I've often reflected on the principles shared in this blog. Before remembering these principles I usually am feeling pretty down about a bad grade, a failed exam, a lost game, etc.... but then the spirit always brings back to my remembrance the truth of my self worth. I am not valuable because of anything I have done or ever will do. I am valuable beucase I simply exist. It is our existence that gives us innate worth. Our Father in Heaven, like any loving parent, loves us regardless of the failures or successes that we achieve. He loves us because we are His. This assignment has once again reminded me of this beautiful gospel principle. Thank you.
Kyler DeWildt said…
This is such an amazing post! I have felt much of the same way and sometimes it's very hard to see ourselves in the perspective of Heavenly Father. I am very hard on myself and tend to blame many things (which aren't my fault) on myself and tend to fall into a depression. I have found that through prayer I can feel loved and that God is there and He truly IS my father. Thank you for the wonderful semester Professor Pack! I wish you nothing but the best! :)
Matthew Ogden said…
Great thoughts...

It's difficult to strive for a certain level of accomplishment in your life and then fall short. We are so quick to define ourselves by what we have accomplished rather than who we have become.

Thanks for sharing!
Unknown said…
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Riley Neal said…
First, I love what you said. Second, I love how you said it. This was a unique way to communicate something that I've been told so many times in school, but I really felt it through this medium. I guess this is just a testament of the power of text. Thank you.
Chase T said…
Oddly, validation comes mind as I think of my value. In this world, we are constantly craving the approval of the men and women around us. We hope that they like our outfits, personalities, and choices. But in reality the only opinions that matter in our life are the ones we give priority to. I hope that we place ourselves high on that list of opinions that we value. This way, we won't need a number or a place in a curve to tell us we have worth. In other words, we should seek validation from true sources. Only then and through the hep of the Lord, will we see our true worth. We absolutely are worth more than a number. Thank you for a wonderful semester.
Unknown said…
Thank you for this post! I often struggle with equating numbers with my happiness. I always want to check how I did compared to everyone else and tie my self-esteem to the result. Since I took on a much heavier course load this semester, I did not get the scores I wanted to in all my classes. Your post was a clear reminder to reevaluate my own gauges of success and happiness. Thanks for a great semester and the spiritual boost!
Nick Cude said…
God doesn't have "favorites" because having a "favorite" requires you to compare. I love the idea that God doesn't compare us to others; he just loves us. I think we should do the same! While some comparison is productive, when it comes down to it, each person is so incomparable. Thank you for this message!
Zachary Arnold said…
An inspiring message. Thank you!
Ryan Morley said…
This article touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I am writing this comment on the last day of finals, and I didn't do nearly as well as I wanted to on one of my finals today. The timing made your words particularly potent, and I truly feel loved by you and by Heavenly Father.
I have appreciated the approach you have taken for this class, and for your life! I am inspired to love and live better because of this class and because of you.
Thank you!
Reigen Jensen said…
Thank you for those thoughts! I tend to be a perfectionist, so I am always seeking ways to rate my performance and, at times, myself. I appreciate your reminder to consider a broader perspective. Thank you for a great semester!
Daniel Luke said…
A common phrase I hear is "comparison is the thief of joy." All too often, we get caught believing that happiness is dependent on our position and status in relation to others. Comparison can turn moments that SHOULD be joyous (like graduation) into misery. I loved the message of this article. Numbers can drive us to become better, but numbers certainly don't guarantee happiness.
Thanks for a great semester Professor Pack!
Unknown said…
This is great advice and I loved learning in this class with Professor Pack. I always struggle with self worth and comparing myslef to others so this is a great reminder for me. Professor Pack made this class so much more enjoyable than I have heard it is. Thank you for making this semester fantastic!
Abe Ogles said…
Thank you for a fabulous semester Professor Pack. I think your message is appropriately timed and a great way to remember that our worth is not determined by our grades. I hope to retain the skills this class taught me as I proceed to graduate school and for throughout my professional career. But at the end of the day, my earthly accomplishments are nothing compared to feeling of happiness that we will feel when we return to live with Heavenly Parents.
Jacob Lawrence said…
Thank you for the reminder that numbers don't define us. I enjoyed the article; it's nice to read something for once that isn't 4A structure.
Rachel Gill said…
Thank you for these comments, Professor Pack! I love the reminder that we are more than a collection of numbers. Even though we might not always see it this way, our Heavenly parents always have and always will look at us as Their children. Thank you for a wonderful semester.
Nate Nabrotzky said…
Thank you professor Pack! I have struggled with this as I tend to define my worth with the grades I get in my class. This has been a great reminder that grades don't matter on an eternal scale. Thanks for a great term!
Anonymous said…
Thank you Professor Pack! I appreciated your insights on numbers. The greatest worth of numbers lies in comparing our own progress. How are we doing compared to our previous selves? And whatever the answer may be, we should treat each other and ourselves with compassion and resolve to do better and be better. Sometimes, we can even just be grateful for where we are at in life.
Rylan Gordon said…
You make a great point here, Professor Pack. People often don't know our ACT score, or IQ, or GPA. Only we do. If others don't know that information about us, they can't judge us by it. If they can't judge our worth by that, why should we? Anyone who does ask for those metrics to get an idea of who you are is greatly mistaken. It's inspiring to hear that you were admitted to Graduate School long after the fact. It's never too late to pursue your dreams. Thank you for this parting reminder that our character and abilities matter more than our appearance or scores. Our worth doesn't change in the eyes of God.
Madelyn Russell said…
I loved the thoughts in this post. I think that especially at BYU we can get caught up in all of these numbers that we think define us. I took the ACT 7 years ago and it is a number that will still come up in conversation! There is always a fear that people will judge you on this or that number, but I love the reminder that those numbers mean very little without context, and our souls are so much more than a collections of numbers and scores. The numbers of our lives should not define or limit us, it is something I need to remember more often. Thank you so much for a fantastic term!
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your thoughts on this. It's really critical to be reminded that no one really knows about the things we spend so much time stressing. We are so worried about our GPA, for example, and yet it isn't an accurate representation of who we are. This is a great reminder as we go into finals week.... Besides, no one even knows or cares what our GPA is. It's not going to come up on our deathbed. It's not how our colleagues, family or friends will remember us.
Kezia Dearden said…
Thank you for writing this post! Your thoughts hit home for me. Comparison is such a thief of joy and can blur the true understanding of what is really in front of us. I feel like our society, in trying to make sense of what's around us, tries to quantify and compare everything so we know where everything stands, so there is order. But, by putting something in a box we restrict the object from growth opportunities and vision. I definitely needed this reminder before starting my last semester of college. I would love to use this activity with my future students. Thank you for a wonderful term and for being a great example!
Sarah Thompson said…
This was a beautiful lesson, thank you. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I think the adversary wants us to measure our life off of numbers because it is easier. People think "If I get this grade, this is how much I am worth." Yet life is so much more than numbers and grades. It is easy to look at a number and use that as a measurement of worth, but it is so much more difficult to take the time to reflect on who you are and how our Heavenly Father views us. Numbers are simple, reflection is not; however, when you stop giving so much thought to these numbers and try to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you, then life begins to be so much more meaningful. All of sudden these numbers that society weighs so heavily don't really bother you. "Yeah I didn't get a great grade in that class but I learned a lot." When you stop weighing your life with numbers, the things that really matter stand out and you can see true personal growth.
Benjamin Lau said…
Thank you Professor Pack for this great message. I often fall into the habit of using numbers to evaluate myself. My initial thought when college life began was the higher the GPA, the higher the self-worth. I have been chasing for perfect scores for my whole college life. Not until this spring term, I realized I should be chasing for knowledge and wisdom, not GPA. GPA doesn't define us. I like what my finance professor said last semester: you can do well on tests but still not be educated. I have learned so much from this MCOM course and I have seen my growth throughout these 8 weeks. I hope I can continue to be educated and not too stressed about my score. Thanks Professor Pack.
Jill Fairholm said…
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and testimony with us. In today's society, it is difficult to remember that we are not defined by numbers. I am more than my IQ, GPA, and years of experience. Numbers allow for easy comparison. The simplicity makes comparison common and devalues individual worth. When I compare myself to others, I forget my value and their individuality and significance. You cannot boil the human soul down to a series of numbers. Thank you for a great semester, Professor Pack.
Unknown said…
Thank you, Professor Pack for a great last "lecture". Being in the world of finance (especially private equity), my world sometimes feels like just numbers. Numbers can tend to lead to competition and comparison; within myself and against other people. Comparison and competition are not (always) from a divine source. These numbers don't (always) lead to the best of feelings. Thank you for a great reminder that life is more than just numbers, and more importantly, I am worth more than numbers. Thank you for a great semester.
Jacob Jensen said…
Professor Pack, thank you for sharing these thoughts. Our world is so focused on comparisons, and numbers are a great tool for measuring things against each other. However, we have been taught by the scriptures and church leaders that comparing ourselves to others is useless and harmful. I loved how you wrote about focusing on the way our Heavenly Parents and Savior see us. I often get caught up in test scores and GPA, but I think the only that matters is that we give our best effort. That is all we can do, and no matter the result, our worth is unchanged.
Emily Cluff said…
I love these thoughts. I particularly love the picture, In Their Image, that you included. I think this embodies what you are talking about so well. The individuals that make up our universe are not quantifiable or measurable. The people are individual and perfect in their differences. I think in a world based off of efficiency and therefore numbers, it is easy to get lost in defining ourselves based on such numbers. This article is a great reminder that we are oh, so much more than a number!
Cindi Teasley said…
This was so powerful. Thank you for sharing your testimony of self-worth with us. Your message about your GPA was so inspiring to me, because I, of course, have come to recognize you as a very intelligent, powerful woman. The fact that a number made you feel like you were "stupid" just goes to show that the way the world categorizes us doesn't accurately reflect our true value. Thanks for teaching me so much this semester.
Matthew Halterman said…
Heather, thank you for opening and telling your story. In high school and college I have had 4.0 GPA semesters and 2.5 semesters. When I had a 2.5 I saw the world through "2.5/4.0 goggles." I never wanted to feel that way again so I worked really hard and achieved a 4.0. Not so surprisingly, I didn't feel much happier. I prayed and prayed and told my Heavenly Father all about what I was going to do to improve my grades and mercifully he helped me but he also taught me a much more important lesson—a similar lesson that you told here. My grades are not my worth. I imagine that when I start my job it could be just as easy to substitute my new salary as a pseudo yard stick to measure my worth. I wonder, what if we all redirected a tiny piece of the mental energy we spend on our weight, GPA, and bank account towards love, compassion, and gratitude.

Thank you for sharing your story and teaching us this semester!
Hannah Higgins said…
Thanks for all you've taught us this semester Professor Pack. You're one of the most down-to-earth teachers I've ever had and I really loved learning from you. This post is a great reminder that "comparison is the thief of joy" and the only opinions of us that truly matter are our Heavenly parents'. We shouldn't ever question our worth or base it off of how we compare to others. Thanks for everything!
Jeremy Rawlings said…
Thank you so much for this semester. This article reminds me of my first failed midterm at BYU as a freshman with hopes of studying Applied Math. That failed midterm really haunted me because as everyone says "only really smart people study math". Just how this article says, the grade does not define your worth or possibilities. I am now a senior in the applied math program with a not nearly perfect GPA, but I am happy with my classes and myself. That is more important to me. Thank you for teaching us this semester!
Ryan Mata said…
Thanks for sharing that story with us students. I wish I was able to hear it in person. I catch myself judging myself based on what my future salary might be. There are many times when I categorize myself as unsuccessful or average because I haven't done something incredible that has brought a significant sum of money into my life. When I take a step back to see myself how God sees me, I know that I am worth more than any of the money I could ever make. Thanks for reminding me to take that step back!
Skylar Zimmerman said…
Thank you for such a great semester and for sharing this story! Everyone seems to get so caught up in numbers, grades, and scales. While these can be important, it is more important to remember that we are all daughters and sons of our Heavenly parents who love us so much no matter what. Thank you for your thoughts and this reminder!
Anonymous said…
Prof. Pack

Thank you so much for this message, and this whole semester. Although I wasn't particularly involved this semester I really respect and admire you. You have been one of my favorite professors at BYU.

I really enjoyed the story you shared, but I especially loved the two pieces of artwork. I have never seen either and liked how our Heavenly Parents were portrayed, along with us as part of their family.

Once on my mission I was teaching some young kids about the Plan of Salvation and had them draw each step. They ran out of space along the paper linearly, and when we got to the end I told them that normally we would draw the three kingdoms on the right side of the paper but that we had ran out of space. One of them said "well that's no problem, we already drew heaven!" and drew an arrow right back to the left of the page where we started.

Taking in the two paintings you put in this article represented a similar paradigm shifts for me. Thank you for your testimony that both of our Heavenly Parent's love us and want the best for us.
I love this and needed to hear this. I have always been a perfectionist and spend so much time focusing on the numbers in my life. I need to work better to increase my GPA, work harder to lower my scale weight, work more hours to get more money. I am constantly stressing about trying to be the perfect version of myself, which is not possible. I need to take more time to take a step back and realize that those numbers don’t matter. It matters that I am trying my best and serving others. My goals need to be more focused on improving myself spiritually.

Thank you for sharing. I plan on sharing this with my friends and family because it is a message all need to hear most likely once more