You’re GPA is Just a Number

You’re GPA is Just a Number

     There are two conflicting stories everyone always hear. One, is that grades matter. Good grades and test scores are what impress colleges and employers and anything less than the best is not good enough. And then the second is that grades aren’t everything, happiness and satisfaction with your work is the main priority. However, the latter is much harder to believe, especially in a university culture where there always seems to be competition to be the best, to be the most involved in extracurriculars, and to have everything figured out. But in Joyce’s presentation and the panel of graduate students, it was shocking to hear that the majority of them had failed or almost failed a class, retaken the class, and still did poorly in it, but they still had success in their post-undergraduate pursuits. The personal stories they shared on their failures were incredibly reassuring, in my opinion, because it showed that it is okay to fall short of success sometimes and it what you do after the failure that has the biggest influence on your life.

     I believe that this lesson is incredibly important to hold onto throughout college and into our careers. Nobody plans to fail, but when it happens, there are two things you can do: let it consume you, or let the failure teach you perseverance. In order to accept failure, I am going to have to let myself trust that things will work out, even if they are not what I had planned.

     The experiences the panel shared really emphasized the truth that grades, test scores, and GPAs are just letters and numbers, they are not indicative of the work ethic, personality, or character of the person, which is what schools and employers are interested in. While I do think good grades still do matter and should be strived for, I’ve learned that grades do not have to control your life and that failure should not be something to be ashamed of, but rather learned from.

How have your thoughts on failure changed after this panel discussion, and how do you think it is going to influence your perspective throughout college/your career? Do you think the consequences of failure are the same for everyone, or was it just pure luck that all the graduate students had everything work out, despite their failures?

6 thoughts on “You’re GPA is Just a Number

  1. When I was checking admission details of UofM med school online, I found out that the average GPA of admitted student was 3.84. That gave me a lot of stress because I’m currently getting Bs in a couple classes. I also found it hard to believe you can actually have some great achievements even though some of them got Cs and have retaken classes. It also surprised that almost all of them took a gap year. It never occurred to me that there are so much opportunities out there for undergrad students. I think their experience during the gap year really did affect the graduate school’s decision on admission.

  2. Grades have always been a part of my life. That number is what I thought determined everything in high school and this stress started in my freshman year. This stress carried over into college and I remember how distraught I was after my first college test where I did not do that well. This seems to be a common theme at universities. The straight A students come to college and then they don’t do so well anymore. This pattern is normal because of the rigor of college courses and the independence needed from the student to adjust to college life. Now I see that I don’t have to have perfect grades but It is about so much more than grades. The panel really calmed me down about my ability to get into medical school and encouraged me that a fall is not always a bad thing but an opportunity to learn.

  3. Up until the panel, I held a very biased opinion against taking gap years. I used to think gap years were a waste of time, especially for those who aspire to go into medical school. I figured, “why take a gap year(s) when I ca get my medical school done and over with.” After hearing so many panelists discuss there experience with gap years, I began to reevaluate the practice. I even began to consider the legitimacy and the possibility of me taking one myself. I have always bee an astute and focused student. I cannot remember the last time I got a break away from my studies and school work. I think a gap year may be a goo thing for me. It may be good for me to go explore or enter into a work force before medical school. The panelist were right when they state medical school will always be around. Why should I rush straight into school? I have been doing that for years and I will be doing it until I graduate with my undergraduate degree. Maybe I will take a gap year and create an develop an amazing experience outside of the classroom; one that I can take into my profession with me.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree that this panel was incredibly reassuring. We as individuals are so much more than just our GPA. In fact, our GPA is a very narrow look at who each and one of us truly are. So it is very comforting to know that schools are becoming more and more interested in who you are outside of the classroom. I agree with Lydia also in the fact that good grades should still be strived for. Holistic review is not an excuse to not put as much effort into your classes, but rather an opportunity to explore enriching opportunities that complement your academic journey.

  5. I do agree with most of what you have said. However, I do think that GPA and test scores aren’t negligible entirely.

    Yes, test scores and GPA’s are numbers, but they also are a piece of you. Also, I do think that they are valued to a certain extent. Since a lot more medical schools are accepting a review I think it makes more students more hopeful of acceptance. At some point the numbers to matter and I think it is very important to do the very best that you can regardless. Medical school his hard and though you may have work ethic it does not mean that the work ethic you have leads to excelling performance. I think even though our generation is scared of failure and Holistic review should give hope, I don’t think it will give much. At the end of the day I will still try to achieve the best I can with grades and make sure I do activities that give more insight to the person I am. Though it is nice to hear people are doing well despite a few characteristics in numbers that myths tell us would not be acceptable before.

  6. Before coming to this panel, I had always heard the advice “learn from your failures”, but hearing the panelists’ stories about their failures really impacted me on a deeper level. Many of us were straight A students in high school, and it may come as a huge shock to the system when we inevitably receive a less than pleasing grade. Failure is a real thing that can and will happen, and learning from it and using it to grow truly is the best approach. With this being said, the consequences for failure are different for every person. Sometimes the ramifications for a particular failure may force one to change course. The panelists’ testimony on this showed me that its okay to change your mind about where you want to go in life, and as long as you learn from your failures and keep going, everything will work out in the end.

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