Measuring success beyond grades

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Desiree Diaz/File

“Pain is temporary; GPA is forever.” As much as the Internet has ingrained this idea into our heads as a motivational studying mantra, we at the Clog want you to know that you are more than just a grade point average. The definition of success itself is subjective enough to begin with, and if we continue to measure success with the letters A, B, C, D or F, we’ll be confined to a system that rewards only those with certain test scores. It feels horrible when the amount of work you put into a class doesn’t always translate into the grade that your professor posts on your transcript, but there’s a lot more to each of us than meets the eye. We can’t let ourselves equate our self-worth with our grades.

As UC Berkeley students, it’s almost too easy for us to get caught up in the school grind. Don’t get us wrong, academics are a huge part of why we chose to go to the world’s top public university. We’re primarily here to get a great education, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t achieved a 4.0 GPA or everything that you wanted to do in the short four-five years that you’re here.

Metrics of success don’t all lie within the walls of lecture halls, discussion sections or labs. In fact, setting goals outside of the classroom is extremely important. Did you check some activities off your Berkeley bucket list? Did you get around to shortening your mile time by a whole minute at the RSF? If you accomplished something you’ve been wanting to do or even acknowledged a desire to do better, then you’re creating your own success story.

How about the work you’ve done in the clubs you’ve joined this past semester? Whether you’ve been practicing dances, winning intramural volleyball games or putting on networking events, you’ve contributed something to this university. You might not be graded for it, but spending all this time in activities that you’re passionate about helps you grow as an individual.

Getting that internship, volunteer position or job you applied for is also a huge victory in and of itself, too. No matter if it’s not exactly the dream job you’ve been wanting for years or if that internship is unpaid, you’re still gaining skills and helping others in ways you wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere. Even on paper, you’re bolstering your resume in ways more significant than that single numerical GPA on one line at the bottom of it.

Another way to be successful is in how you handle your personal relationships. Did you spend time with the people that you care about? Did you meet someone new? Being socially successful really isn’t about the number of LinkedIn connections or friends you have on Facebook either. It’s about getting to know these friends and family members better and having fun with the people you love to be around.

At the end of the day, we all just want to be successful. Grades may be one way that we quantify how well we did in our courses, but 20 years from now, we highly doubt you’ll remember the shade of difference between getting that + or – next to that A you’ve been coveting. You’ll remember the effort you put into studying, the friends you met in that one class and what you’ve learned about yourself along the way. The keys to success aren’t as easy to identify as DJ Khaled makes it out to be on Snapchat, but we’re all works in progress. Roll on, you Bears! If you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way on the journey to more success.

Contact Abigail Balingit at [email protected].