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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students who ‘just get by’ will be sorry

    While it certainly feels as though school is all about what it takes to get an A — or even just to pass — life after college will require us to do more than just get by.

    When it comes down to it, employers and other people you’ll try to impress over the course of your life are looking for certain skills and abilities — they aren’t always concerned with your GPA. Forbes reported that employers want to see that you can work in a team setting, problem solve, prioritize and communicate effectively. The best time to be developing those skills is now, while we are still in college and trying to make our own paths in the world. Cramming information into your head for an exam the next day just to dump it later is not a skill.

    In The New York Times article “In Head-Hunting, Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal,” Adam Bryant interviewed Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations at Google. Bock discussed how statistics do not always help companies hire a better work environment full of intelligent, competent people. They have learned that a GPA from college is not an accurate indicator of whether you will succeed at work.

    Academia has a standardized environment in which you can become conditioned to do better, but it’s too predictable. As college students, we should be learning to be adaptable, but if we are in a stagnant environment, that can be difficult.

    Some of the skills employers look for, such as time management, are definitely improved by the college experience, and a great GPA can be beneficial when job hunting; but if you manage to earn a great GPA without developing any problem solving skills, you cannot be expected to do well outside of the academic bubble we currently reside in. While college challenges us in certain ways, the academic bubble can also be comforting. It creates a formula we must follow to do well and allows us to focus on how to get through it with little effort.

    Thomas L. Friedman wrote a pair of articles for The New York Times on “How to Get a Job at Google” that further address this issue. We cannot just blindly walk through college; we need to be present and learn everything there is to learn. The ability to sit in class and absorb just enough to get an “A” should not be admired or praised. The people who work hard and know how to prioritize and work smart should be praised.

    Some students learn these lessons outside of academia. A U.S. Census Bureau report found that 72 percent of undergraduates and 82 percent of graduate students had a job while in school, which is one way to gain extra experience. Our system of grades and working for every last point does not necessarily guarantee a good work ethic, so we either have to treat our learning in a different way or gain those skills elsewhere.

    A college education is important as long as you get out of it not only a great education, but also the important life skills required for the job market. The classroom is not the only way to do that. Recognizing that learning and growth can and need to happen outside of the classroom is the first step. What we do about going further is what will set us apart when it comes time to find a job.

    Maura Higgs is a sophomore studying neuroscience and cognitive science. Follow her @maurahiggs

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