The GPA Test

Does your GPA really matter?

I’ve been told “D for degree” is an acceptable way of approaching college- all you need is to pass, you can get D’s if it gets you through. No employers ask for GPA because they only care if you got the degree or not. Your grade in Business Administration 101 (is that a class? I’m a MCOM major, I have no idea) doesn’t necessarily affect how well you will be able to perform your job. That’s one way of looking at it.

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Exception: if Tim Gunn is your sewing teacher, you should probably care.

Teachers, however, do care if you get an A in their class. Why? We all know the answer. “Because we’re trying to teach you, so you should try to learn it.” The same general concept as “we don’t text while you’re talking, so don’t text while we’re talking.” (As if we would care if they texted while we’re talking. But whatever!) You’re a physics major, but your sewing teacher wants you to spend 4 hours on a Saturday at a sewing conference downtown, then work your butt off to get an A on the final. You will never use sewing as a physics major, (speaking generally, of course, you never know) but your sewing instructor thinks it’s the most important class at Towson. Therefore, they want you to get an A. Because they care about it.

lazy-elementary-school-student
Just do the work.. It won’t kill you.

I think that college students generally fall into 3 categories on thoughts about GPA. Of course some people will vary between extremes and opinions, and some people probably have whacky ideas that I’d never think of. But here are my 3 generalizations.

Some students think that GPA couldn’t be any less important. They’re focusing on working full time, having an engaging social life, and a lot of times even raising a family. Some students don’t care because they’re just plain lazy- but we won’t get into that. Passing, skating by, and just getting a degree are the only priorities for certain students (some for better reasons than others).

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Good work, I’m proud of ya.

Others might say that yes, GPA matters more than anything else. It matters more than making friends, or having a job, or gaining “the college experience,” whatever that means. GPA may be the be all end all for some students, and that’s okay. Maybe they have parents to impress, goals to meet, or extreme OCD/Type A personality. You never know. My point is, none of these viewpoints are wrong.

The last category is the lukewarm category: someone who says, eh, GPA kind of matters. They don’t want to not give a crap about their grades and they want to try, but they also want to balance other things in their life as well. Getting A’s doesn’t mean everything, but it’s worth at least trying for.

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Dude. Just give it up and go to sleep.

Personally, I fall into the third category. My GPA is important to me: GPA=$$$. If I don’t keep a certain grade average, I lose scholarships, and I could also lose my on-campus jobs. (They have minimum GPA requirements.) Then I’ll have to take out a loan, and 40 years from now I’ll be 60 years old and still paying back my debt to Towson University. Hopefully, I’ll have moved on to bigger and better things that include enough parking for more than 10% of people that need to park there. But when it comes down to it, if I’m studying and it’s past 1 am, sleep is my priority. I will not pull an all-nighter for any reason. It’s a favor to the world, I promise.

So does GPA matter? That’s a question only you can answer. I would urge you, though, if you’re on either extreme of the spectrum, to re-evaluate. Is drinking beer and playing video games on a friend’s couch really better than just writing 3 paragraphs for your class? No. It’s probably not. Is getting a 100% on that paper really so important to you that you can’t take the time to go to the bathroom and eat dinner? No. It’s probably not.

Again, I’m not trying to say that anyone is wrong in these situations. I just don’t think that extremes are good for anyone, so it’s good to try to balance everything well.

Paige Whipple

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