This article isn’t to say that academic success isn’t important. It is important, since learning as much as you possibly can during your undergraduate years of college is why you’re probably in college in the first place. Plus, despite what your slacker friends have tried to convince, graduate schools definitely care about how well you did in your classes.
Almost every student on campus frets about their GPA, either wanting to maintain their average score or improve it, which can lead to unhealthy amounts of stress and lower self-esteem. Still, your grade point average isn’t the most important thing in the world, so you shouldn’t treat it as such.
Eventually, whether it’s the moment you graduate or five years down the road, your GPA will inevitably become less important. Here are five things that are more important than your GPA.
Your General Well Being
Whether it’s physical, mental or spiritual, your general health matters a lot more than your GPA. Allowing classes to stress you out to the point of being sick most likely won’t improve your grades, and even if it somehow does, the extra burden is not worth the hassle. If you are struggling in general, a higher GPA is unlikely to make you feel better, even in the long run.
Once on social media, I saw a post that said something along the lines of “Pain is temporary, GPA is forever,” which couldn’t be further from the truth.
While pushing yourself in school is important, equal attention should be given to taking care of your health. Your well-being matters more than society wants you to believe and in order to make this your truth, you have to be willing to place yourself higher up on your list of priorities than your GPA.
The People You Care About
If school is getting in the way of spending time with family and friends, it may be taking too much of your time. If there’s anything that I have truly learned in college, it’s that relationships matter.
Having a support system of people who care about you is vital to your well-being and happiness in life. Being successful and not having anyone to share that success with is lonely and not worth the isolation.
So take time out for the people that you care about the most. Don’t be afraid to go get coffee with a friend. Don’t be afraid to take the time to go out with your significant other or someone that you may be interested in romantically.
Also, if you feel inclined, don’t be afraid to call one of your family members. It just might make their day, and yours! If you aren’t able to spend time with the people you care about, taking a minute on social media to reach out to them can be helpful.
Connections and Skills
When it comes to searching for a job, GPA is rarely (if ever) taken into consideration. Something that matters much more are the connections that you develop along the way since most companies look for potential employees that have an extensive professional network. Reasons such as this one is why networking is so critical.
If you aren’t sure about how to network or if the very idea makes you nervous, just think of it as getting to know other people in your field. It’s always best to build real connections instead of getting into the mindset of wanting something from others.
Who knows, maybe that person will have something to learn or gain from knowing you as well. Networking is something that can be done in classes, during extracurricular activities, at conferences or even on LinkedIn.
Along with connections, skills are a vital deciding factor for employers. It’s important that you are competent in work areas relevant to your company. Taking time outside of classes to nurture valuable skill sets will help you in the long run, and finding things that you enjoy doing will help you become a more well-rounded candidate.
For example, taking on writing positions doesn’t necessarily affect my GPA, but it helps me develop my skills as a writer, which will be beneficial as I apply for full-time careers.
Remember to live life outside of academia, whether it be by hanging out with friends, studying abroad, trying out new recipes, listening to music, finding new movies and TV shows — basically anything that you enjoy doing.
Having memorable experiences in your life that you can be proud of and fondly look back on will help you feel fulfilled. Overall, applying the material you’ve learned in class to the real world will help you build a more diverse perspective in both your professional and personal life.
Learning is essentially your job as a college student and striving to do your best is important, but it’s also important that you maintain healthy relationships, prepare yourself for your future career(s) and make the most out of your life. Don’t be ashamed to take time off for things other than school, and don’t let anyone else convince you otherwise.