Sophomore sentiments: GPAs don’t tell academic effort

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Grade point average, GP…. Who? For many of us, since high school, GPA has played a major role in which classes we are put in for the following year. Whether it was academic, honors or AP classes, this was also a huge part of our college applications and acceptances. But does this define us as students?

From my experience, I never even knew what my GPA was until I started applying to colleges. I knew I worked hard and I knew I got good grades. In college, I seem to pay more and more attention to my GPA as there seems to be a GPA requirement for most scholarships, clubs, sports, leadership roles and honor societies. Something about that had always rubbed me the wrong way.

The drive to have a “great GPA” ends up creating an incredible amount of pressure because of the frequency of talk that students engage in and the amount of competition there is. Some may be embarrassed about it and others proud to show it off. We spend much of our lives in intense studying during hours in the library to maintain the numbers we need to feel accepted.

This high expectation that we set for ourselves to maintain the highest GPA possible can also discourage students from taking harder classes because of the risk of getting a lower grade. We should want to challenge ourselves without that worry in the back of our heads of a possible lower GPA.

Hard-working students may not be as academically gifted; they may not have as high a GPA as others who can give the textbook a quick glance and are ready to ace the exam. Of course, when looking at a great, average or low GPA, assumptions are automatically going to be made, but there is always a backstory.

A number should never define a student. Hidden within that number could either be struggle, hard work and dedication, or it could reflect cheating, laziness and ignorance. Either way, this number can be deceiving to teachers, parents, admissions staff and future employers.

A student’s GPA definitely does not expose a person’s work ethic. Of course, grades and getting that degree in your hands on graduation day for a successful future is what we’re all here for. But what matters is what you can do with what you have learned.

There is so much more to a person than a couple of numbers, whether you are joining an extracurricular activity or getting that job of your dreams. Personal drive, your passions, projects, experience and extracurricular activities involved with school say much more about who you are. If we chose everything based on a person’s GPA, the world would be much different.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really make all the difference if you get a B in a class instead of an A? 2.7, 3.4 or even 4.0, these numbers do not define you.

 

—Hayley Fahey

Sophomore journalism major

 

Printed in the 02/24/16 issue.

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