I’ve Been Missing the Point
Does this sound familiar?
You have to get good grades in high school so you can go to a good college. Then, you have to get good grades in college so you can get a job. Wait, scratch that. Now everybody is going to college, so you have to get good grades to get into a master’s or doctorate program. Then, you can get a career and be successful.
That was my train of thought for a long time. As I was going along with “the plan,” I would often say or think, “I don’t really need to know the how or why; I just need the grade so I can move on to the next level. I’ll worry about learning/understanding it later.” I did this for years. Over time, the whole education/learning portion fell to the wayside and it was all about that sweet GPA. This continuous pattern became preprogrammed. I earned my GPA fair and square and was able to move onto the next level, but the lessons or ideas learned from those classes felt insignificant.
Now, I’m at ICO. I finally made it to one of the highest levels of education, a doctorate. I walked in as a first-year and that preprogramming started kicking in. It worked! …until winter quarter. Ocular Anatomy.
I got destroyed by the first two exams! My tried and true method of studying enough to get the right answers was not working. I needed to change my ways or else I would be in trouble. So, I talked to some upperclassmen and teachers. Their advice was always the same: It was time to learn and understand the material. Gasp! Genuinely learn and understand?! I haven’t done that in a long time.
What happened next was a lot of time spent in office hours asking many questions and making crude drawings of the anterior chamber, iris, cornea, etc. to finally understand what is happening in that eyeball. Then on the third test, a B. Great! …but I still had a lot of ground to cover to pass that final and class.
As I spent more time in office hours and studying, I really understood the material and it made sense. Inconceivable! At the end of the quarter, I aced that final and passed the class! Unfortunately, my end grade in Ocular Anatomy was not stupendous and it did not do wonders for my ICO GPA. So, what was the point of all that hard work? The effort and hours spent would never show up on the transcript.
Then, it hit me. There is no “next level.” This is it. I am studying, training, and getting the skills I need to do the job I want. My motivation to study and learn has changed since I first arrived. It has made such a difference! When I put more effort into the learning and understanding, the GPA works itself out.