Stop worrying about your GPA

Let’s face it, we spend a lot of our time worrying about numbers. We fret over due dates, meeting times, and salaries, but one number we need to stop worrying so much about is our Grade Point Average.

Throughout college, I spent countless hours editing B worthy papers into A status. I spent my free time on extra credit. I turned down dinner invitations to catch up on my reading. In fact, I spent more waking hours in the library during college than literally anywhere else, and I did it so that I could maintain my grades and have an impressive GPA to slap onto my resume.

But if I could do it all over again, I’d know better. Although grades are important, they alone won’t land you a dream job. You need to supplement your academic endeavors with tangible work experience, and doing so means you’ll need to leave the library once in awhile.

Although grades certainly play a factor when employers consider potential job candidates, there are many items that can increase your likelihood of being hired. Your work experience, volunteerism, and mindset are all important factors, and shouldn’t suffer at the expense of your grades. It’s wise to aim for a 3.0 GPA, but you shouldn’t let your grades alone determine how you spend your time while in college. Be proactive (and realistic) about planning for the future, and work hard to score relevant opportunities early on.

Instead of focusing so intently on your grades, here are a few other things to spend your time doing:

Seek Out Relevant Experiences.
College is about more than class. There are countless opportunities to get experience in your field, if you’re willing to take advantage of them. Many student run organizations offer valuable work experiences. An aspiring magazine editor could work for the school newspaper or edit newsletters for the English department. Someone interested in broadcasting could take a weekly shift at the university radio station.

Even local organizations can offer great experiences that will help to build your resume. You can gain experience in everything from grant writing to tree trimming simply by seeking out local opportunities. Although these opportunities rarely have monetary benefits, they can work as critical stepping stones on your future career path.

Begin Thinking About the Future.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have “plenty of time” to find a job. You should begin formulating your career goals as soon as you sign your major. You’ll need to start searching for employment opportunities long before you graduate, and the application process can be daunting. Research the types of companies you might want to work for, familiarize yourself with positions in your field, and apply for relevant internships. 
Create a LinkedIn account and begin networking with professionals.

The more prepared you are for the job hunt, the less overwhelming it will be when the time to send out your resume inevitably comes, and seeking out relevant opportunities might lead to contacts you can utilize in the future. Not to mention, employers are seeking self-motivated, forward thinking individuals. Being strategic in your job search will allow you to practice these skills and grab the attention of employers.

Have Fun.
Yes, college is full of seemingly unbearable stress, botched relationships, psychotic roommates, grimy apartments, and moments of debilitating loneliness (or is that just me?), but it’s also likely one of the most unique and life changing experiences you’ll have. Enjoy it. Once college is over, you probably won’t have the luxury of sleeping in every Tuesday, of walking across campus in the sunshine, or spending breaks napping in the courtyard next to Brown Hall. Enjoy these things while you can, even if it means you don’t get all your reading done today.

If you ever find yourself wondering if the C you got in your Early Childhood Development course is truly going to have a profound negative impact on your career as an accountant, it isn’t. Employers seem to understand this. It’s okay if your grades slip in some areas, as long as you make up for it by bulking up your resume with work experiences, extracurricular involvement, and internship credit. Remember to stay motivated, practice a positive attitude, and formulate specific goals for the future.

Like with all aspects of life, the key is to find a healthy balance. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed from the pressure of maintaining a 4.0. Just remember to work hard, have fun, and be happy.