Thursday, June 23, 2011

Done!

Hey! Wow! I just finished all my exams, I'm finally done with the spring quarter, which means that my first year at Berkeley College is over! I can't believe it went by so fast, it's ridiculous. It seems like it was yesterday when I was doing my Accuplacer test in the computer lab at school to figure out my class schedule, and here I am now. Even though I must admit I'm having a blast in new york and this whole experience is incredible, I'm very excited to go back home! This year I could only go back for a few days during the Christmas holidays, but it was so short that I didn't even have time to recover from the jet lag thing! Moreover, that was six months ago, so obviously I'm really excited about going back home for summer vacation.

How did everyone do in the exams? I hope you all got what you expected! Do you ever think about the importance of the GPA? (Grade Point Average). In my previous academic experiences in Europe, the GPA wasn't as important as it is here. In fact, I still have no idea what my GPA was over there. The grades in Barcelona are very different, not only the grading system (we don't use letter grades), but also the value of it. I would say that the important thing there was to "pass". Good grades are only for outstanding students. However, I came here and the system is very different.

In the letter grading system, failing means having an F (one of my biggest fears!). However, I would say getting a E or even a D is not so satisfactory. Because the studying system is also very different, I feel like an A is much more achievable here. I would say it's way fairer. In Barcelona, to get the equivalent of an A I had to struggle to get everything beyond perfect. However, I think an A means achieving all the academic objectives that each course had. Of course, you need to put a lot more effort to get an A than a B, but still, if you do all the work, extra credit, attend lessons, do well in the exams... the A is possible most of the times (there are always exceptions).

However, it is not always so easy to get an A or a B. Some subjects are more difficult than others, depending on your abilities. Here's when I start worrying about the GPA figure. As I said, in Barcelona we don't really use it that much, we don't even put in the résumé. However, in a class I had where we had to prepare our own résumés here, we were told to put it, because employers do look at it. Now, I don't think it is very important to employers, as long as it's not so bad. Of course, it is not the only thing they will look, and a good GPA won't get you a job by itself. Then why should we take the GPA so seriously?

A GPA can be a great tool, specially in a country like the US, to get accepted in schools. It is going to be a big issue if you are trying to access to a master degree, for example. Not only it can give you access to a certain school, but it can also make you eligible for financial aid. Moreover, there are many scholarships out there for grad students to continue their education. Guess what? The most important quality to get them is to have a good GPA. 

I found an interesting article that speaks about the importance of the GPA nowadays:

"The bottom line is a GPA matters but other things in combination with an average to above average GPA do as well. It is one's own choice how much his or her GPA matters. For people who let it defeat them, it matters a lot."
Download the article here:
http://msdadmin.scican.net/mhs/mhs_area_artesian%20herald/Artesian%20Herald%20Volumes/20092010/issue_4/MHSA13-BW-1111.pdf


I personally see the grades a teacher give as the salary for a student. I do my work and I want to get paid what I deserve. I take the results very seriously because, firs of all, I want to continue my education and I know a good GPA will provide better opportunities, and then because it's the minimum I can do for the people who are supporting me in this huge investment. Having said that, I wouldn't recommend to obsess much about the GPA thing. There are many other things you need to focus on to have a successful career, but this is definitely something to keep in mind!

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