If working for the Daily Nexus has taught me anything, it’s how to use my time in the most efficient manner possible. The constant call of the bell tower tolling my life away and the unstoppable flow of work to be done may have been painful, but in applying these lessons in efficient time management to my classes I’ve found that it all paid off.
Obviously, everyone knows that there is a correlation between the amount of work one puts into his or her schoolwork and the grades one receives. What many people fail to realize, however, is that this correlation is in no way linear.
There is indeed a golden GPA at which the work one puts into school is minimized while the return is far beyond expectations. Yes, I speak of the B+ average, the 3.3 GPA.
Let’s take a moment to be realistic. We’d all love to have a 4.0, but the amount of time required for such perfection is ridiculous. The average unit load seems to be around 16, which more or less amounts to four classes. The university claims that each unit should mean about an hour of homework per week – 16 hours per week doesn’t sound that bad.
But then, one must add the time spent in class, which is about four hours per week per class (for both lecture and section). Add about three hours to that if any of the classes have labs. And really, if one were to do all the reading and paper-writing and silly homework assignments and studying with getting straight A’s in mind, there’s generally a hell of a lot more than 16 hours per week.
While I must admit that I have never performed this ‘Straight-A Experiment’ myself, I have seen many friends become gaunt and pale under the heavy burden of the workload involved in such madness. They stay in their rooms for hours on end, sitting at their desks and wondering if the horrifying consequences – including a gruesome end to one’s social life, significantly shortened life span and endless boring conversations about how much work there is to be done – are really worth it.
It’s really a matter of the work required to jump from one grade level to the next. Getting an F requires almost no work. Let’s set that at a one on the work scale, one being the tiniest amount of work and 10 being the point where it’s hurting pretty bad. Jumping from an F to a D probably requires moving to a two on the work scale. Going for that C would mean maybe going for a three, and hitting the magical B-spot would step it up to a five. The B+ would bring it up a notch to six and the jump to an A from a B+? You gotta like it rough for this, because this requires the big 10.
If that little scale doesn’t help, try remembering the last research paper assignment a professor has tossed at you. Getting an F requires from no work to very little work. Getting a D brings it up to knowing what the paper topic is, exactly. To get a C, one must know a little about the topic itself, not just what the topic is, and sit down and make a bit of an honest effort. Snagging a B+ requires that one scan a source or three and have at least six intelligent things to say about the topic and that one can rephrase each of those ways at least four times. Achieving an A on this paper would mean in-depth readings of a plethora of sources, actually having 24 intelligent things to say rather than slightly varied repetition of six things and proofreading after proofreading.
That difference just doesn’t seem worth it.
Cory Anthony is the Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor. He spends more time thinking about doing his homework than actually doing it.