Should I feel bad for being average?

  • Thread starter jedjj
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  • #1
jedjj
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Growing up I was usually ahead of most of my class, but when I got into high school my grades began to drop to about average. After starting college, I continued to have consistent "average" grades, usually B's, some A's, and occasionally C's; more C's since transferring from a community college to a university. I study for classes the best I can, but I have never been good at "studying" as I just do some extra homework. I've been in college for four years taking various classes for different majors. It wasn't until recently that I decided I had an interest in engineering (specifically electrical engineering). I have never avoided taking difficult courses, but are my grades going to keep me from getting a decent job after college? Will it make my job search much more difficult? If so, besides an internship what should I be trying to do (I already plan to get an internship when I am within two years from graduating)?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ex1
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No, you should feel good! Physics, engineering and alike are difficult subjects, if you're getting average grades you're doing great! You'll be fine!
 
  • #3
Fearless
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Maybe you got other qualities that will nullify the effect of average grades? Don't you think?
 
  • #4
jedjj
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Yeah, I've never really had a difficulty getting a job. I've BSed with the best of them. I've only had mediocre jobs, but I always seemed to impress the interviewer with my personality. I guess I'm just nervous about being average, even before being in the difficult courses for my major.
 
  • #5
Shackleford
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I'll echo what's already been said. This is difficult subject matter. Learning something is always hardest the first time around. Go back and study over the fuzzy areas.
 
  • #6
Choppy
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Don't fret too much over marks - especially from an employment point of view. From an employer's point of view, they want to know that you have a fundamental skill set that's acquired in school. Naturally, higher marks will give you an advantage over others in an applicant pool. However, marks aren't everything. There's a lot to be said for a good work ethic, a general drive to excell in a field, inginuity, independent and creative thought, organizational skills, etc. - all of which aren't necessarily reflected in marks.
 
  • #7
Benzoate
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Don't fret too much over marks - especially from an employment point of view. From an employer's point of view, they want to know that you have a fundamental skill set that's acquired in school. Naturally, higher marks will give you an advantage over others in an applicant pool. However, marks aren't everything. There's a lot to be said for a good work ethic, a general drive to excell in a field, inginuity, independent and creative thought, organizational skills, etc. - all of which aren't necessarily reflected in marks.

what about from a graduate committee point of view?
 
  • #8
phyzmatix
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I'd only feel guilty/worry if I was getting average grades and I knew it was because I wasn't giving my utmost...
 
  • #9
Asphodel
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There's a significant Feynman quote on this, but I'm having a little trouble finding it at the moment...anyone?

Do the best you can and then make what you can with the result, I suppose. Doing average in physics is probably harder than most jobs you could end up in, so just keep at it and try not to get too stressed out - the stress will only make it worse.
 
  • #10
mathwonk
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should i feel average for being bad?
 
  • #11
lisab
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should i feel average for being bad?

only if you're really, really, really bad :tongue2:
 
  • #12
Asphodel
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should i feel average for being bad?

Which brings us back to 50% of people having an IQ under 100...(well, they would if it wasn't becoming decalibrated).
 
  • #13
mathwonk
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as a kid i heard IQ is intellectual age/actual age. so now that i am 65 years old and less nimble mentally than at 15, is my IQ less than 25?
 
  • #14
will.c
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There's a significant Feynman quote on this, but I'm having a little trouble finding it at the moment...anyone?

Do the best you can and then make what you can with the result, I suppose. Doing average in physics is probably harder than most jobs you could end up in, so just keep at it and try not to get too stressed out - the stress will only make it worse.

Truths.
 
  • #15
Asphodel
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as a kid i heard IQ is intellectual age/actual age. so now that i am 65 years old and less nimble mentally than at 15, is my IQ less than 25?

That was the original algorithm. It works better for young children, with the classical example being reading age. It's supposed to be normalized to average = 100 (or maybe it was median, but I'm pretty sure it's just the arithmetic mean...), but it tends to drift over time and need renormalizing.
 
  • #16
CompuChip
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I also read somewhere (don't recall where, might have been here on PF) that when people are asked to estimate their own IQ, 80% of them thinks they are above average :biggrin:

Anyway, I think it's normal for your grades to drop as you progress. Between the first class of high school and the fourth year of university (where I currently am) my average has dropped considerably, while the amount of effort put into it has increased considerably. Unless you're a natural, you will score less, because the material gets harder (luckily). The further you go, the more you will (I hope) be among like people; you may have been in the upper segment of your class at first, but so were a lot of other people who chose the same hard subject as you did :smile: Your average gets lower, but even a C in your Masters' probably means more than an A in the first grades of high school.
Finally, B's and C's aren't bad; look at what would happen if universities would give exams on which everyone would score an A+. Maybe you'd be happy at first, but after a while, you'd miss the feeling of accomplishing anything, wouldn't you.
 
  • #17
Shackleford
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You cannot pass a graduate program making "C"s. You have to maintain a "B-" in most schools, if I remember correctly.
 
  • #18
CompuChip
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OK, so maybe I am a bit off, as here we get marks from 1 to 10, so I'm not exactly up-to-date about the "letter" system. My apologies.
 
  • #19
maze
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Just don't write your GPA on your resume... Very few employers will care. They will see you have a bachelors in math, which demonstrates that you can reason and solve problems, and they will see that you graduated, which demonstrates that you can set long term goals and work hard to achieve them without giving up.

Obviously this is different for graduate programs, which care more about GPA...
 
  • #20
Darkiekurdo
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One should feel bad about being bad, average about being average and good about being good.
 
  • #21
Dark Fire
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as a kid i heard IQ is intellectual age/actual age. so now that i am 65 years old and less nimble mentally than at 15, is my IQ less than 25?

IQ is commonly/mostly calculated by those between 18-65 without illnesses that should be considered for the measurement.
IQ is not "intellectual age/actual age", IQ is short for Intelligence Quotient: an attempt to measure intelligence, and is being considered as the so far best - however the number you receive is based on mentally age/actual age*100.

I'm assuming that you were just kidding, but they wouldn't consider someone young as your potential mental age, based on the speed~
They take the overall, mostly based on your ability to reason: logic.

One should feel bad about being bad, average about being average and good about being good.

I disagree.
If bad is defined as "not being able to" (not: evil), then whether being bad, average or good, you should feel good for being human, for living, for doing whatever you can.
Enjoy what you're able to enjoy, be proud of what you're able to do, be proud of yourself for trying to do the best; even if you haven't before, if you are now - that's what counts (unless you decided earlier: no, I will not care about anyone until my conscious pokes me).
 
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  • #22
Asphodel
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One should feel bad about being bad, average about being average and good about being good.

My Mandarin is horrible. For that matter, so are my surgical skills.

Oh crap!
 
  • #23
Darkiekurdo
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I disagree.
If bad is defined as "not being able to" (not: evil), then whether being bad, average or good, you should feel good for being human, for living, for doing whatever you can.
Enjoy what you're able to enjoy, be proud of what you're able to do, be proud of yourself for trying to do the best; even if you haven't before, if you are now - that's what counts (unless you decided earlier: no, I will not care about anyone until my conscious pokes me).
Hmm, I hadn't looked at it from that perspective. You're right. :smile:
 
  • #24
MathematicalPhysicist
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One should feel bad about being bad, average about being average and good about being good.
but I feel bad of being good. (not necessarily academically).
 
  • #25
jedjj
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This received a lot more responses than I expected it to receive. I appreciate the input. It makes me less worried about whether to keep going or not. I am curious what else can make me look better on a resume besides internships though.
 
  • #26
Benzoate
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This received a lot more responses than I expected it to receive. I appreciate the input. It makes me less worried about whether to keep going or not. I am curious what else can make me look better on a resume besides internships though.

I know what I'm about to say is going to sound cliche, but if you really love physics, I think you should stick with it and ignore people who discourage you to dropped physics just because of your grades. I think there is room for progress at any age for any subject a person might be interested in.
 
  • #27
CompuChip
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I know what I'm about to say is going to sound cliche, but if you really love physics, I think you should stick with it and ignore people who discourage you to dropped physics just because of your grades. I think there is room for progress at any age for any subject a person might be interested in.

Very cliche indeed.



I sincerely believe it though.
 
  • #28
DavidWhitbeck
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I study for classes the best I can, but I have never been good at "studying" as I just do some extra homework.

You might lack discipline. It's also very common for students to not need to develop good study skills because they didn't faces courses challenging enough that they needed to develop those skills.

I might offer some advice--

(a) read with a purpose, figure out the intent of the chapter and make it your goal to understand it by the end.
(b) write down concrete examples illustrating the principles stated in the book.
(c) work through the examples yourself, and identify what key principles were used to solve it. If there were assumptions stated, make sure you see where they were used and why they were used. If possible figure out how the problem would be different if you relaxed some of the assumptions.
(d) solve additional exercises (which you do).
(e) at the end try to map out the relationship between the principles and equations. Were there are any overarching ones that the rest were derived from?
(f) now reread the entire chapter as a whole.

This is actually what I make my students do that when they study, and they have to turn it in! Haha they hated it, they said that reading shouldn't require so much writing, but then at the end most of them grudgingly admitted that it was helpful. It was simply the method that I use for self study.

Also there is a very insightful book that I think you will find helpful. This is an excellent book that teaches you the different ways to read non-fiction, a very important skill to have in college.

Adler and Doren's How to Read a Book

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0671212095/?tag=pfamazon01-20
 

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