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Should I feel bad for being average?

  1. May 22, 2008 #1
    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)?
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  3. May 23, 2008 #2


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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!
  4. May 23, 2008 #3
    Maybe you got other qualities that will nullify the effect of average grades? Don't you think?
  5. May 23, 2008 #4
    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.
  6. May 23, 2008 #5
    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.
  7. May 23, 2008 #6


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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.
  8. May 23, 2008 #7
    what about from a graduate committee point of view?
  9. May 23, 2008 #8
    I'd only feel guilty/worry if I was getting average grades and I knew it was because I wasn't giving my utmost...
  10. May 23, 2008 #9
    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.
  11. May 23, 2008 #10


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    should i feel average for being bad?
  12. May 23, 2008 #11


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    only if you're really, really, really bad :tongue2:
  13. May 23, 2008 #12
    Which brings us back to 50% of people having an IQ under 100...(well, they would if it wasn't becoming decalibrated).
  14. May 23, 2008 #13


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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?
  15. May 23, 2008 #14
  16. May 23, 2008 #15
    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.
  17. May 24, 2008 #16


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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.
  18. May 24, 2008 #17
    You cannot pass a graduate program making "C"s. You have to maintain a "B-" in most schools, if I remember correctly.
  19. May 24, 2008 #18


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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.
  20. May 24, 2008 #19
    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...
  21. May 24, 2008 #20
    One should feel bad about being bad, average about being average and good about being good.
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