By A Graduating PLA
I get really good grades in university. I don’t say this to brag, but to share my story in the hopes that it helps you realize this: a high GPA isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of your university experience – not even the academic component. So, here’s my story.
In first year, I got 100% in PSYC 100. In second year, I was awarded the highest overall average in my program. In third year, I repeated this honour, received the honour for the highest overall GPA of any girl in a social science field and, to my complete shock, the award for the highest overall GPA of any student entering their final year in a Bachelor of Arts program.
Only my closest friends have any idea that I hold such titles. While I do consider myself intelligent, obtaining these grades was by no means a breeze. Although I began at Queen’s in a true spread of liberal arts courses, I decided at the beginning of second year that never again would I take another writing elective. I loved writing courses, and I got great feedback on my essays; however, I found it nearly impossible to crack 90% on a paper. Grades in the 80s simply weren’t acceptable to the impossible standards I had imposed upon myself.
So, I spent my 2nd and 3rd years sitting through boring electives, where my ability to quickly memorize a textbook enabled me to score perfect (or near perfect) grades. Even at the beginning of this year, when I was offered the chance to take 4th year seminars in my program – the small, discussion-based classes that I had been craving my entire university career – I turned it down to take 300-level, 200-student, textbook-memorizing courses that did not interest me at all. Not only was I spending hours poring over boring textbooks in the library, but I also gave up the valuable opportunity to get to know profs one-on-one.
Now, here I am, in the 2nd semester of my 4th year, asking “why did I care so much?” After living for 4 years in a self-created academic environment I couldn’t stand, I have no intention of going on in school. While I do have several job interviews lined up, not a single company has asked to see a copy of my transcript.
The message of this post is simple: learn from my mistakes. Take the electives you want to take, take the smaller classes in your program, love your time spent in Stauffer. If you don’t, you’ll end up so burned out that you won’t want to do anything that needs a good GPA anyways.