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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Is it OK to just get through college with passing grades?

“”C’s”” get degrees, ma!

Disclaimer to previous professors of mine: Don’t read this. Whether or not you like my classroom persona, the following paragraphs will lower your opinion of me. In the end, though, you’re not my mother, the woman who is stuck with me and my crazy ideas for life.

I’m in my final year of undergraduate studies, and I’ve never in my life been more excited to finish something. Come May 15, 2010, I’ll be done with school forever. Because I am 98 percent sure that I’ll never attend graduate school, I can theoretically get whatever (passing) grades I want.

Of course I need “”C’s”” in all my courses, but I don’t need to worry about acing my current college classes. I’ve never been an “”A”” student, and trust me, I don’t spend my free time perfecting homework assignments or stressing out over exams. I’ve spent the past 16 years of my life studying for tests and exams that I have no recollection of, and quite frankly, I’m exhausted from working myself up over dull subjects that haven’t shaped my identity in any way.

Thankfully, I’ve chosen the journalism/writing career path. I have no desire to be a lawyer, doctor or professor. With no intention of getting anything higher than a bachelor’s degree, I intend to have responsible fun in my last year of college, excel in my areas of interest,and focus on my future career more than my current courses.

I appreciate my college education, which will increase my job opportunities, but I see no real reason to get straight “”A’s”” in college. I worked extremely hard in high school to get accepted into college. Now that I’ve accomplished that, I want to find a job, so I go the extra mile outside the classroom. It makes sense that college-age students would focus on experiences instead of academics.

I’ll never be able to thank my mother and grandparents enough for funding my education. I hope they’ll understand my reasoning when I create a career for myself after college, and this success will be thanks to my focus on doing well in things besides final exams, midterms and papers. If I can learn more about life through a job or club, I’ll throw myself into that before pushing myself for a mediocre, over-sized class.

Instead of graduating summa cum laude, I hope to repay my mother in career success, which will hopefully take me further than a seemingly impressive transcript.

— Laura Donovan is the opinions editor and proud daughter of Linda Donovan. Laura can be reached at


I applaud your desire to focus on experience, because that is what is going to help you in the working world. However, don’t underestimate the importance of always striving for excellence in terms of academics. Just because you have no desire now to go to graduate school, getting a few extra “”C’s”” on your report card limits your options in the future. I regret that you didn’t at least consider the upsides of earning exceptional marks in school.

In a few years, you may change your career objectives and decide it would be useful to get a master’s degree. That’s where a high grade point average will make a difference. What if you one day decide to get a master’s degree or juris doctor? The “”C’s get degrees”” mentality won’t leave you with an impressive academic transcript to fall back on, and your work experience will only take you so far.

When I graduated college, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I had no desire to go to graduate school. After a few years in the workforce, I knew that an advanced degree would provide me with more career opportunities and a higher salary, and my master’s degree has opened so many doors for me in the working field.

Nearly everyone I work with in the software industry has an advanced degree. The job market now is more competitive than ever. Why limit your opportunities? In order to land a job in this society, you must have some sort of edge, and good grades can definitely lead you to do so much more with your life.

As someone who has helped pay for your education, think of me as an investor. If I’m going to make a huge investment in your education, don’t you owe it to me, and your grandparents who also contributed to your education, to give 100 percent?

Throughout my career I’ve managed employees and contractors. I would never hire anyone who only wanted to work at the level of a “”C”” student. I’m not expecting you to get “”A’s”” in every class, but I do expect you to strive to do your best.

It’s possible to get good grades, obtain real work experience and have fun during your senior year. So, before the semester ends I hope you change your perspective from “”C’s”” get degrees”” to “”Each “”A”” will pave the way.””

— Linda Donovan is a senior marketing manager in the Bay Area and proud mother of three grown children. She can be reached at


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