Thursday, December 4, 2014

My GPA Does Not Define Me

     One problem with our society is that we determine a persons worth by their level of education and what each of us thinks is a quality education. Peoples characters are judged based on their GPA which is supposed to be a reflection of their work ethic and how smart they are but it really isn't. College kids complain about how tests aren't a good way to evaluate what they've learned or how much they've actually absorbed and been able to use from a class, yet they continue to judge each other based off them. We all complain about how society places our worth next to our GPA or how prestigious our college is, yet we all judge the people who go to schools we think are below ours and we judge people who's GPA's are lower than ours. We all complain about society yet we are one of the main contributing sources.

     None of us want to be judged solely off of our grades or how well we can do math problems or regurgitate random facts, yet we think it's a good way to judge other people. No one who goes to a community college is below anyone who goes to a big university and we can't possibly know what valuable things people are learning from schools we don't go to. Some of the most uninformed, close minded people I've met go to high ranking colleges along with some of the most open and intelligent people I've met. At the same time, some of the most innovative, open minded people I know go to community colleges or lesser known schools. It's impossible to know a person or how intelligent they actually are just from looking at their school and their grades.

     Most of the time, going to a big, fancy school actually doesn't say anything about you. Saying I go to Syracuse University says that I tolerate cold weather and I probably like the color orange. It doesn't tell you that I'm creative and open and passionate. It doesn't tell you all the work I put in to get here and the work I put in to be able to stay here. I could tell you my GPA tends to float around a 3.5 and that I've taken anthropology and that I don't do well in math classes but that doesn't tell you anything I've learned in my three semesters here. It tells you I'm probably not very good with numbers and that I know a thing or two about culture. That's not much to go off. You could never possibly know how good I am at photography or how smart I actually am when applying things to the real world if all you're looking at is my GPA or my test scores.

     Test grades can't tell you what I learned from a class, they can only tell how much fact I retained. They don't tell you what I learned about the world or myself or how that course connected with other subjects or parts of my life, which are much more valuable than how well I can memorize names and numbers. You don't get credit for understanding concepts or ideas if you don't get the facts perfectly right and you don't get credit for understanding a process or reasoning if you don't do the calculations perfectly every single time. You don't receive any recognition for the things you understand beyond the facts or actually applying things you've learned to your life. Meanwhile, you get punished for not being able to memorize specific data. Instead of getting the chance to actually demonstrate what you took away from a class and the value of what you learned, you get judged based on how many bubbles you filled in correctly. Then, instead of getting a chance to show your skills and how valuable you can be, you become the number that is your GPA.

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