Having good grades only shows you're capable of getting good grades. It isn't an indicator of future success. The successful people don't learn what they are required to learn, and instead, they put the things that they want to learn in front. These people aren't the best, their grades may not be as shiny as the students that take five AP classes. They may may not be doing so well in school, but they're definitely that's considered shiny material. They're still holding on with that 3.1 GPA, but grades no longer matter in the real world. Employers only care about whether you can get the job done or not. Experience is the new currency.
I'll admit that I'm not the best when it comes to school, but that hasn't stopped me yet. I've hung in there, passed classes like Chemistry and Math by small margins. I have taken zero AP classes so far. I've only started to dip my toes into extracurricular activities last year. I'm not what you would consider an "active" high school student. But I have very good reasons to back me up.
You don't need to be good at academics, if you can make up for it elsewhere. That GPA does indeed make you look shiny when applying for college, but as you move on after graduating, that will tarnish.
I'm not saying that academics is useless. It does open a lot of doors. Going to college and getting a good (decent at best) job is very nice on its own already. But it's always the same, there are no deviations. Most people at this age still don't have a clue of what they're going to be in a decade. So when they are faced with a decision that will shape their future career, they take the one that is the most frequently taken, and let others influence them. In most cases, they don't truly like the subject they are planning to major in.
You can be very successful if you don't go to college. Don't feel pressured that you need to go for a "better future". If you really like something, go for it. College is optional, and if you're sure you can do something, you can skip college altogether.
Steve Jobs, founder of the billion dollar company Apple, never went. His GPA average was 2.65. He usually got Bs and Cs in school. He did, however, have a vision. He believed in computers for the rest of us. He did fail many times, but in the end, things worked out.
Sean Parker didn't go to college also. His net worth is around $2 billion right now. He founded Napster, online music-sharing service. This was during his high-school years. He had started several companies by the time he graduated high school, and was making over $80,000 a year. This was enough to convince his parents to let him skip college and pursue a career as an entrepreneur. Did I mention that he was the founding president for Facebook back when it first started?
It really isn't that hard to be successful, but it is also far from easy. It only takes determination, cunning, strategy, and a master plan. Academics isn't the only way to get a golden ticket to a successful future.
(Originally from my Facebook post)