Editoral: College is about the experience and not the grade

As students, we have a lot on our minds at the start of a new semester, much of which has nothing to do with actually learning anything. There are books to be bought, workloads to be evaluated and schedules to be made. Many of us change our schedules significantly or drop classes during the first two weeks of the semester, and we are wary of classes and teachers that might present too much of a challenge. Admittance to UC and CSU campuses is growing increasingly competitive, and we know that our grades are important to further our education and graduate.

With all of these things on our minds, the actual value of education is sometimes overlooked and under-valued. The question on most students’ minds at the start of the semester is “what can I do to get an A in this class?” rather than, “what can I do to maximize my experience in this class and learn as much as possible?” The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, and getting a good grade in a class will certainly prove and ensure that you’ve learned some things, but the fact remains that learning isn’t necessarily the focus.

It seems that what most students are looking for in a class is a charismatic, enthusiastic, (extremely) understanding teacher who will present a clear path to getting an A in his or her class. All of these traits are valuable for teachers to have, and their work inspires students left and right. But they’re often taken advantage of by students who don’t actually care about the subject at hand and only care about their grades. These teachers want to excite you, inspire you and awaken your curiosity. They have much more to offer than an easy A and their hard work is wasted on people who care about nothing else. It should also be noted that these exceptional teachers are going above and beyond the call of duty. You can’t expect every instructor you meet to have the same style. Ultimately, college instructors are hired for their educational and professional qualifications, not how much students like them. Every teacher on this campus is a treasure trove of information, but it’s not their duty to entertain you.

Education was once considered a luxury, particularly higher education, and it’s easy to take it for granted when we’re overwhelmed by school work. But our experience can be maximized by appreciating the fact that we have access to education and making the most of it. It’s easy to put yourself on autopilot and fulfill all of the requirements for a class without actually retaining or processing the information presented, and that is a huge waste.

Instead of focusing on getting an A, focus on thinking critically about what you’re learning and applying it to real life. Keep your eyes and ears open in every class for information that interests you on a personal level and explore it. Your hard work will pay off much more if you expand your horizons and focus beyond your G.P.A.