We need to be careful when we say “C’s get degrees”


I’m sure most of us are familiar with the phrase “C’s get degrees”. Sometimes students use this a bit too often to justify not doing well or slacking when we can definitely do better. My main issue though, is when academic advisors and professors hand this advice out without providing any context.

Yes, it is true that a ‘C’ in our education system is technically a passing grade and if you get all Cs in your classes for a majority of fields (assuming you don’t have any academic requirements or any scholarships to maintain to continue your studies) you will earn a degree that you can put on your wall in the same way that someone who got straight A’s can. The thing is, you don’t actually want to graduate with a 2.0 GPA. While there are employers who won’t ask about your GPA and don’t care, a lot of companies have GPA requirements. You should also maintain a high GPA if you’re thinking about going to graduate school. In a world of ever-increasing job requirements, it’s probably in your best interest to strive for as high a grade as you can possibly get while ensuring you maintain a healthy lifestyle — which is the hard part, I know.

The key to maintaining your very best output is discovering what works best for you. We all learn different ways at different rates and we all study differently. What works for the top student in class, won’t necessarily work for you. Personalized exercise strategies help to create that balance that we as students desperately need while enabling us to keep up that healthy lifestyle.

In the defence of the phrase, I think it is applicable when students are beating themselves up over one bad grade or struggling to get an A+ on every assignment in every class. It’s okay if the context of the phrase is that if you don’t have time to do everything. You can prioritize your assignments or tests based on order of importance, including how much the assignment counts toward your final grade, whether the class is for your major, or whether you absolutely need to get a particular grade in that class to increase your GPA or replace a previously-earned grade that was less than desirable. I know it hurts to not get that A+, especially when you know you could’ve earned it. I’ve been there, but you really shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, channel that energy into doing better next time.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn what works for you when you’re trying to learn or study and push to be your very best while you’re in school and after you graduate. Being your best doesn’t have to be defined by a solid 4.0 GPA for every year of your studies, it just has to do with working to your full potential in everything you do — never settle for less. Find good strategies that are effective for you and try not to get hung up over the one or two inevitable B’s or C’s that will come at some point in your journey. Hard work and dedication almost always work out in your favour in the end.


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