Hey there Josh,
I’m here to fret about my GPA (shocking, yes?)
I’m about to begin my third year in college and I’ve maintained a pretty decent GPA. After three semesters, I was carried a 3.9.
Agreed, that is exceedingly decent.
In my fourth semester however, my school work became slightly less of a priority because of my growing interest in extracurriculars. I ended my semester with a 3.11 dropping my cumulative to 3.67. My goal is to graduate with a 3.75. In order to graduate with that, I have to keep up a 3.88 average for the next 4 semesters (roughly).
OK. Time for my standard GPA disclaimer here. Unless you’re going to grad school, there’s little reason to worry about your GPA. It’s going to be a rare occasion that any employer gives a damn about your GPA, or even looks at it, for that matter. GPA tells us how well you take tests and write papers, and little more. It doesn’t shine any great light on how you’ll do at a particular job, and therefore we (employers) don’t care much about it.
(If you look hard enough, you will find articles that contradict this point of view — written almost exclusively by people who have never hired anyone in their lives, and certainly not with their own money. So, here and elsewhere, always consider the source.)
The thing is, I’m interested in taking a risk and exploring new terrain. Currently, I’m a communication major with an emphasis is journalism. I will definitely continue to pursue journalism, but I’m thinking of picking up a studio art minor. Basically, for fun.
Nothing wrong with that at all. More people should do it — that is, using their time in college to learn something that brings them personal satisfaction.
Before college I was actively involved with art. I even took home a few blue ribbons from local art shows. I had always assumed I would never be creative enough to actually study it, though. After much thought, I’ve convinced myself to throw caution to the wind and enroll in a 100 level art class. I’m concerned because, from what I’ve heard, the art professors at my school rarely give out As. Should I risk my GPA for something that will basically reap no benefits?
Well, I wouldn’t say “no benefits” because obviously it’s something that’s meaningful to you, and that’s a very strong benefit. If you mean that it won’t help you get a journalism job, then that may be true; however, taking a hit of like .1 on your overall GPA will not stop you from getting a job in journalism, either. So it’s a wash in that sense, and I vote to do what makes you happy.
Note: Including this class, I will be registered in 17 credit hours. Also, I will have four campus jobs. I will be writing weekly features articles for the newspaper, completing semester long writing assignments for a travel magazine, DJing two hours a week at the radio station, and directing the TV news station. I’m an active member of a co-ed service fraternity and I joined an honors society for Freshman and Sophomores (even though I’m not so sure how prevalent it is on my college’s campus). Finally, I plan on joining the Communication honors organization and the Society of Professional Journalists this coming semester.
So, you’re a slacker then. Kidding, obviously — that’s a whole lotta stuff.
I really want to graduate Cum Laude. Should I Just forget about that and let my extracurriculars do the talking when the time comes?
Well, don’t forget about it — try to make the GPA you want. You might be able to pull it off, so don’t mail it in just yet if it’s something you’d really like to have. But again, your GPA is going to mean almost nothing to anyone except you, so if you don’t make the GPA you’re after, then it’s no big deal professionally. If you can get over it — well, everyone else already is.
Your four jobs are all great resume entries, by the way, and you should come out with a resume that’s better than 90% of your fellow graduates. If you get snowed under, my advice is to drop the service fraternity and honor society stuff to free up time. They’re the least impressive of the things you mentioned (although I’m guessing the honor societies don’t take up much time).
Overall, this isn’t a hard question for me — I definitely say go for it with the art if it’s something you like to do. Besides that, even, you never know — art may end up being your primary career, or at the very least something you do on the side to supplement your career in journalism, which is a tougher gig right now than it’s ever been due to disruptive technology, market conditions, and a host of other reasons that could fill a few separate blog entries.
So yeah, go for it with the art minor and the 17 jobs, and let us know how it goes!!
That’s all for today. Got any advice for Meg? Let us know in the comments below.