Hey there. It’s been an extremely long time since I’ve sat down and written on the blog and the truth is: I miss it, dearly. This semester has been rough. My classes were dang hard, my social life was semi-dry, and the sophomore slump has never been more real. What’s the sophomore slump, you ask? Well then, my friend, you are very lucky because you have never experienced it before. The sophomore slump usually hits you before a round of finals: your palms are sweaty; you’ve ingested way more than your threshold of caffeine allows; and it’s probably a Friday night when your friends are out partying but you’re cramming for that organic chemistry final on Monday.
You’ve questioned your major, your life goals, and maybe even attending the school that you love. The sophomore slump is also more than your grades, it’s about your entire life. A lot of people turn 20 during sophomore year and feel pressured to improve their”adulting” skills. You’re looking for apartments, getting credit card applications in the mail, and starting to set yourself up for a little bit more independence. Sophomore year has always been the year for discovering who you are beyond the classroom, even in high school.
You enter your first, second-year level major classes and they finally challenge you. Something that you loved suddenly becomes a challenge for you. Persistence, determination, and hard work are what need to propel you to the finish line. So, it’s really hard for me to wrap all the challenges, lessons learned, and good times into a GPA. Are those four numbers supposed to tell me how much I learned this semester, are they supposed to give me insight on how to improve next semester, or are they supposed to guide me to deciding whether I’m supposed to stay where I am?
To that, I say no. Every time I see the phrase, “What a great semester I had, Here’s my (4-3).blah blah blah GPA.”; I literally want to shake that person. It’s not irritating because of what their GPA is, but because it promotes the idea that your GPA is an indicator of what kind of person you are or what kind of worker you’ll be. Yes, you have every right to be proud of the accomplishments that you made. Shoot, I’m proud of you for getting it done. I’m proud of me for getting it done. But, at the same time, I really don’t find it necessary to tell my massive amount of Facebook friends (some of which I’ve probably met once) about my A in Robot History *sarcasm*.
I go to UNC Chapel Hill where the students are some of the smartest, most creative, and inspiring people I have ever met. We were all “the best” or close to it at our respective high schools. This makes for a highly competitive and sometimes unhealthy environment. Most of which stems from GPA. I’m a chemistry major and that requires me to take a boat load of STEM courses every semester. I put myself through it because it’s a challenge and as nerdy as it sounds, I actually really love it. Sure, I skip a party or two; or spend a few Sundays in the library from open to close, but in the long run, I know it’s preparing me to kick a** later down the line.
My GPA is important to me and I share it with my family and my friends (when they ask); but generally it makes me really uncomfortable even when it’s good. I’d much rather tell you how I didn’t hit all my goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year and how I think I’ll fix that next semester. Or how I tried something new (restaurant, workout class, hobby) and really loved it.
I’ll tell you all the crazy stories from late night cook out runs after a long week of stressful obligations. I’ll tell you about the day we dropped everything and went on a “Build-My-Christmas-List Imaginary Shopping Spree” on some random Saturday in the middle of November. Ask me how much I hated sitting through Physics Studio and how much I enjoyed organic chemistry (even if it makes you hate me). At the end of the day, It will always make more sense to me to know more about you then four numbers that a computer spits out.
Our generation likes to overshare. GPA is in the opposite category; it tells me absolutely nothing. We get too caught up in four little numbers, that in the scope of things don’t mean as much as you think. They open you up for critique about your major, your university, and the rigor of your courses. If you had a wonderful semester and feel like you absolutely need to post about it, tell us about how much you learned and how much you overcame. Not for a certain letter grade, but because you knew that you could do better. That’s what motivates me.
Like I said on twitter, Leave your GPAs on your transcripts, and off of Facebook, and tell me about how life is, I’d much rather hear about that.
P.S. For complete transparency (our generation likes to overshare remember), I may have posted that I got a 4.0 after Summer Bridge the summer before freshman year on Twitter. But, I feel like this just further proves the point about how much you grow and mature as you progress through college.
I definitely got a little more real in this blog post, sound off in the comments if you disagree or have a different opinion on PDGPA. I love hearing from you, even if we disagree! Love y’all.