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Do Your Grades Matter in Real Life?


Fahad Cheema - September 12, 2020 - 0 comments

Grades. The unruly entity that haunted me for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure if you’re coming from a strict South-Asian background as well, this issue has always been at the back of your heads. If it wasn’t, your parents certainly took the effort to constantly remind you – and initially, I believed them.

Up until high school, I was obsessed with getting good grades and even lived up to it. I was one of those bright-A students who got a scholarship in high school and after graduation got admission in one of the best universities of Pakistan (LUMS). 

This is where the story actually takes a turn.

In my very first semester, I got placed on probation with a CGPA below 2.0. This meant that if I didn’t bring my CGPA above 2.0 in the next semester, I would be dropped out of the university. Such a drastic turn of events, right? While I did manage to save myself from that, my grades didn’t change that much and I eventually graduated with a final CGPA of 2.57 (Out of 4).

LUMS Graduation Ceremony 2017

My life should have been fucked, right? That’s what I thought as well.

After all, aren’t good grades supposed to be the ticket to a bright future?

Let’s fast forward to the events that took place after graduation

  • Within 3 months of graduation, I started working as a UI/UX Designer earning the same amount of money as most of my classmates with a GPA above 3.0
  • One year after that, I got the opportunity to work on projects with organizations like Mitsubishi (Autism Assisted) and the National Center for Big Data and Cloud Computing (Pakistan’s Official Open Data Portal). At this moment, I was earning more than most of my friends with better academic records.

How did I do it? Did my GPA have anything to do it?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

In fact, none of my employers to date know my GPA. It’s not on my resume and frankly, I have not even been asked about it in any of the interviews.

For my first job, even though I had not taken a single design course throughout my degree, I got it simply based on my experience as the founding member of the design society at my university.

For my second job, I was reached out by one of my professors who I had worked with in the past on setting up a design conference in Pakistan. It was this side project and the relationship I had developed with my professor that got me those big opportunities.

What Truly Matters?

Contrary to popular belief, getting a better GPA in university does not lead to a higher paying job. 

The only thing that matters is how much skills and experiences you’ve acquired in your university.

Instead of being fixated on the GPA, reduce your studying time and only focus on doing enough to get decent grades. Don’t fail of course! 😀

Then invest the rest of the time in doing everything else in your university that will lead to your personal development. These could be running different projects, society experiences or even playing different sports.

“…being in the middle is fine, so long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person [a middle-of-the-road student] has enough free time to learn other skills”

Jack Ma

In the end, I would say that if by the time you graduate, you feel like you’ve actually maximized your time at the university, trust me the market will reward you with the maximum gains as well.

P.S I can already hear some of you want to shout through this read.

“But…..but what about the GPA requirements for further education?”

Well, in our modern education system, it’s an undeniable fact that some institutions have a high GPA requirement. If getting into one of those places is your goal, then you might as well give an adequate amount of attention to your grades to fulfill those requirements.

But stop making these personalized goals into a standard.

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