College stresses are never too few. Around every corner there’s another paper, another assignment and another potential all-nighter. Whether it’s your music major roommate up until 3 a.m. crunching out a paper or the other roommate trying to throw together a presentation, these things surround us. On top of all this, we’re also supposed to juggle the grade point average that seemed so much more within our grasp at the high school level. Or are we? What importance do grades play in our college lives?
As it turns out, it’s different from student to student and from school to school, and even from class to class
“Grades inside my major are important,” said junior music education major Stephanie Niewohner. “If I don’t do well in an AOI, I don’t worry because I know it’s not what career path I’m taking.”
But that isn’t the ultimatum. Even within her major, Niewohner said she found it more important to be “comfortable with (her)self and (her) teaching than grades…for music history.”
For some students, the difference between areas of inquiry and major-related courses varies. Sophomore Erin Hassanzadeh, a broadcast news and sociology double major, said it’s not that certain classes are more important than others. She said she “just enjoys journalism and sociology classes the most, so it doesn’t seem like work.”
She also said that for her, in general, grades are seeming less and less important.
“I won’t put it on a resume, even if it’s a 4.0,” Hassanzadeh said. “It’s important for grad school or if employers ask, so I maintain a GPA, there’s just less stress about it…In journalism, it’s all about hands-on experience and what you can do…an emphasis on internships.”
This isn’t the case for all Drake students. Sophomore Allison Tenhouse and other pre-pharmacy majors face an entirely different battle.
“My grades in my first two years at Drake are a major factor in whether or not I get into the pharmacy program,” Tenhouse said. “For all pre-pharmacy majors…the requirement is at least a 3.0 math and science.”
Even the other classes can make or break it for students looking at pharmacy.
“If my math and science GPA falls right around a 3.0, I want to make sure my overall GPA is as high as it can be,” Tenhouse added.
In the education school, Niewohner said that education seems pretty lenient as evidenced by an easier workload than her music courses.
But there are other pressures and excuses to get good grades for her, too.
“It’s important for me and for my parents,” Niewohner said. “I worked so hard to get here and they worked so hard to get me here…College is also expensive, and I want to make sure that I am doing my best in any class I take because I am paying to take it, so why wouldn’t I want to learn as much as I can from it?”
Niewohner also mentioned her parents as a drive to maintain a high GPA in college, but even so, both she and Tenhouse recognize the importance of other aspects when it comes to the job market.
“There are going to be other people from all over that got the same grades as me in college,” Tenhouse said. “I think what will end up setting me apart are the experiences I have in college and what I take from them that can be useful in my career.”
Tenhouse also said that grades “get your foot in the door.”
For Niewohner, this same aspect comes into play trying to get a job as a teacher.
“I think in the long run, getting the job matters more on your personality than your grades, and I feel that I have a caring personality, and I’m not afraid to work with kids,” Niewohner said.
Regardless of what field someone is going into, there’s more to life than A’s and B’s. Everybody in college has grades, so whether it’s charisma or internships, students need that extra kick to really set themselves apart. Perhaps it’s time to put the all-nighters to rest — literally.