If Life After College were Based on Grades…

…then I’d be a DEA (design and environmental analysis) and history major. Ideally the courses that are most applicable to the career you want to achieve after graduating are the ones in which you do best. Not for me, and that can be very disheartening. I like politics, government, policy, and non-profit. Problem is those are the courses that aren’t my strengths. So I wind up taking many courses from these departments and enjoy them, but almost always get sub standard grades. Then I take courses in DEA and history (4 courses total) and not once have a received a grade below an A-. If only that’s what I wanted to do in my life. Instead the government courses are what attracts me, problem is I can’t write a government paper for my life. I’ve been trying for the past 3+ years and I still haven’t gotten the hang of it. Meanwhile the people around me, my friend who’s taking a political theory/thought course with me this semester a great example, do a couple grades better than me, and alums like Jeremy Schapp and department heads like Isaac Kramnick announce how easy the government major is while I sit there thinking if my brain is missing something that they all have.

I can only be thankful that I’m a PAM (policy analysis and management) major and am not a part of the government department being relentlessly hounded by my inadequacy. Nonetheless, it still feels like a twilight zone episode where no matter how many times you get punched in the gut you keep going back because there’s something that attracts you even though you already know the outcome. It has become almost futile. Senior year and I’m still trying for my first A- in a government course. If I don’t get it this semester, I’ll have another chance next one since I signed up for my final government course of my college career (Politics of Violence in 20th Century Europe). I’m already tightening my gut.

One thought on “If Life After College were Based on Grades…”

  1. As a ’55 alumnus, who ran across your blog on the Alumni Magazine site, I have been around long enough to know that life after college is not dependent on grades, major, or even degree. A fellow Engineering Physics grad enjoyed his career as a curator at the Smithsonian. What I learned in EP paid the bills, but part of the success there was a facility with presentations that grew out of a Public Speaking course taken in the Extension Department of the Ag School, despite the B that I earned. The 6 hours of Arts School foreign language we were required to take grew into a life long interest in German language and culture. And, the Cornell friends with whom I have stayed in closest contact were first encountered in a living unit or a student religious group

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