In the depths of textbooks – a thought emerges

13 May


It’s finals week here at UT Austin.  The study rooms are packed, the air is filled with the ambient noise of pages turning, keyboard taps, and frequent groans from restless students.  I am currently taking a break from studying for my Diff Eq final to write this post.  I was sitting here methodically working through the types of problems our TA told us might be on the test.  My rational mind tells me that if I know how to do every possible problem that could show up on the exam, I will do well.

That’s the way school works, unfortunately.  I am sitting here, not really learning the material, but force feeding my brain information in order to well on an exam so that I will have a good GPA.

Why do I want a good GPA? It’s a way of measuring my academic performance relative to my peers.  It’s a way others can measure my academic performance relative to my peers.  BUT, it is not a measure of what I know, how smart I am, or my future success.

Ideally, we should be motivated by our thirst for knowledge, our desire to use our education to make the world a better place.  But instead we care about our GPA’s.  Why? Because it’s what we are judged on.

When we apply to graduate schools and search for jobs,  internships or other interesting opportunities – we will be judged partly by our GPA.  Jobs and graduate education are worth a lot in today’s society.  They either help us make a living or give us the potential to improve our lifestyle.  This makes students believe there is a strong correlation between GPA and future financial success.

When it all comes down to it, I don’t believe your GPA is important.  I believe you should focus on building your skills in areas that interest you, making personal connections in a variety of areas, and learning all that you can from your classes, peers, and mentors.

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One Response to “In the depths of textbooks – a thought emerges”

  1. "Dan The Movie Man" May 13, 2010 at 1:47 PM #

    Something that I’ve definitely pondered before.

    good writing Mike.

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