Friday, April 17, 2009

Why I'm Glad I Got B's in College

One of the great things about blogging is that you can read something interesting online, share it with your friends, then they can share something they found interesting from that same site. This is one of those times. When I graduated from Clemson University (the first time) I had slightly above a 3.0 GPA, but I also had 4 years of very valuable experiences. The Brazen Careerist has a great post on 5 reasons why A's in college are overrated:

1. No one has ever asked about my GPA.
2. I didn't sleep.
3. I've forgotten 95% of it.
4. I didn't have time for people.
5. Work experience is more valuable.
During my undergraduate years at Clemson I went football games, actively participated in FCA then RUF, got into economics/politics, joined an improv group, wrote for and then ran a fake news website, joined a local church, met with academically at risk freshmen, taught football and basketball players study skills, met amazing people, asked the most amazing of those people to marry me, and did just well enough in school to to keep my scholarships, get into graduate school, and get an assistanceship to pay for it. Like I said, I'm glad I made B's in college.


  1. Ah, the classic touchy feely have fun in college talk. All such great advice . . . unless you're trying to get into a competitive grad school.

    Ignore Harrison. Get A's in college. Then get a high-powered high paying job and relax when you are retired at 40.

  2. Ha ha but isn't free time better when you're young enough to enjoy it? Plus you can make real friends and learn new skills for the rest of the your life. Is it really that great to learn something new when you're 60? Plus, if you retire early, you die early:

  3. Profile:

    Men's Glee club, community life council, 2 simultaneous IM sports year round + club hockey + club soccer, "Off the Record articles" for student run parody newspaper, girlfriend 3 years, local church, tutored chemistry, played poker minimum twice/week, made great friends that are still current, played enough table tennis to consistently go deep in college tournament 3 years and win 1 year.

    3.7 GPA, 148 hours taken.

    Conclusion: Get A's.

  4. Yes but how much TV did you watch? Ha ha.

  5. Only 2 seasons of 24, 2 of ER, 2 of the OC, all of Lost, The Office and Scrubs, all UNC sports, Bears games and scattered Cubs.

    Curses! My life is empty!

    Come to think of it, I didn't sleep much.

    And I never said that was me.

  6. That's a great point about grad school, but if you're going into the work force I highly recommend a co-op or extended internship in the field you want to pursue. In my experience that has been worth much much more than a high GPA.

    Besides Paul, I would note your argument went from "making a's is more important than having fun" to "you can make a's and have fun." Plus, if you're gonna retire at 40, I would recommend skipping grad school and starting your own business (ie Page/Brin, Gates, etc). I don't know too many PHD's who retired at 40. I would venture that a PHD almost guarantees you a very long career...

  7. Alyssa12:25 AM

    I got As in college and still had a great time.

    I mean, I went to parties, watched too much reality tv, did the student organization thing and found the most hilarious man in Clemson to marry. It can happen.

  8. I feel what you guys are saying, there are surely people who can do everything they want and still get A's. My point was that if I wanted to get A's, I would missed out on a lot of more valuable things.

  9. I still think your point was well made, Harrison. I think my fellow commenters would do well to read the article - he has a caveat for grad school as well as some other great points.

    I think it's important to realize here that the argument is not that it's impossible to make A's and have a good time in college. The argument is it might not be worth your time to sacrifice other activities for better grades if the tradeoff exists - and for some of us it does/did. Whether or not that tradeoff exists is a product of other factors.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.