Thanks to the Career Fair last week, GPAs and achievements have become hot topics of student gossip around campus. While concerns and competitions over grades are certainly nothing new to a Tech student, the poor manner through which we express our opinions over others’ qualifications and performances should be reexamined.
Every person has his own thoughts on someone who is doing better or worse than us from a GPA or job qualification perspective. While opinions such as these are natural responses to our own surroundings, they can likewise often be overly judgmental and based on unfounded bias. For example, one of the most common and memorable complaints I often hear during the school year is, “His GPA isn’t that much higher than mine. It’s so unfair!”
Success is a result of nature and nurture. While being “born smart” certainly helps one to obtain higher qualifications, one must also strive to reach for them or nothing can be accomplished. The most successful people I know in life are not the most naturally smart people, but rather those who understand that effort will lead them to their final goals and work for it. If one knows that work will lead to success, is that not commendable knowledge to have on its own? I firmly believe so.
When people talk about being “smart,” they generally associate it with a condition one is born with. So often, people tend to neglect the importance of actually working for a goal. Nothing in life worth having comes easy. If one is truly indignant about being bested, then he can certainly work his way up to achieve their own expectations. Otherwise, complaints such as these simply seem whiny and will garner little sympathy from an audience.
While I understand that genetics is rife with randomness, life is certainly not determined by a flip of a coin. A person’s success, regardless of the perspective taken, is not based solely on luck. One does not do better than another because of chance, so complaints such as the one above hold little merit. People making these remarks rarely understand the amount of effort put by the accused into their work, so statements such as this are often uninformed and assuming.
On the other hand, it is also not uncommon for people who do well to show off their successes in the faces of their peers. While trying to obtain a little acknowledgement is normal, rubbing it in and being overly judgmental of other’s performances shows—simply put—a lack of class and weakness of character.
Modesty is a virtue. Those who flaunt their successes are often doing so to seek attention and approval, and that is usually—unbeknownst to them—very obvious to the people around them. If one is truly confident with one’s own abilities, there’s no need to further build oneself up by bringing others down. It’s a competitive world out there, and a lot of times people take every opportunity to show off their abilities. This is understandable. The key is to make sure it’s done in a tasteful way that does not reflect poorly on one’s character.
At other times it is simply inconsiderate to think ill of others for performing poorly. How can one ever be sure that there are not personal reasons for their low marks? There could have been a death in the family, an accident, a terrible breakup, the birth of a child, etc. The point is that life does not stop for school. As much as it may seem, we do not live in a sort of bubble in college where no regular life events can occur. Be considerate of others. Don’t make judgments until you are fully aware of the circumstances.
So as one can see, problems can easily arise from both sides and it’s often difficult to properly gauge others’ performances. One great way to deal with this is to simply put less focus on them. Spend less time worrying about what other people have accomplished in terms of grades or qualifications and focus more on improving yourself. One should use other’s performances simply as guidelines to set goals for oneself, not as excuses or means through which to bring others down.
Hopefully all of this will serve to bring more awareness and self-reflection on the topic of success. We cannot change what others do when it comes to our own success, so why bother worrying about them? The only person we have absolute and total control over is ourselves. The only thing we can do is to better ourselves and put all of the bitter resentments and biased judgments away.