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#1 Featherfy  Icon User is offline

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My grades suck

Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:49 PM

I am becoming extremely frustrated right now...because I'm going through that "WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE PHASE"

I'm about to finish my freshman year, but not with grades I should have. Especially if I'm a CS major.

I took Calc 2 my first semester here, and I got a C. Long story short, I should have waited until this semester to take it, but I had nothing else to take.

And now, I'm in an Intro to C++ class, and I'm pretty much looking at a B+ or a B if I'm lucky.

I'm pretty sure those grades won't help me with anything in the future if I start looking for internships starting the middle of next year. I don't want to give this up, because I honestly don't know what else to do that will ensure I have a job and a future.

No, I'm not saying I hate this, I really like it. A LOT actually, though those grades don't show it. And a part of me sees me getting Bs and B+s in future CS classes in the future. I currently have a 2.82 GPA (because of Calc) and should I get lucky with finals, my gpa at the end of the year should range from a 3.29-3.33 (IF I'M LUCKY) which pretty much means I'm going to get kicked out of the honors program until I (hopefully) raise my GPA up to a 3.4. I'm furious with myself, and I think this is more of a rant post than anything.

I was on a roll earlier, and then the harder part of C++ caught up to me, and somehow the harder parts of all other classes sort of coincidentally occurred at the same time. I feel like I can't do anything because of this stupid C and B+ grades. I mean, what CS major can't even get an A in an intro to C++ class? I know I won't be getting an A on this final, and a B is still pushing it. And if anything, I've been working way harder at the end of the semester than the beginning...I don't even know what happened. Everything was looking great. :(( And I'm having such a hard time not giving up, because even if I spend hours studying my grade will barely improve.

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Replies To: My grades suck

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: My grades suck

Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:11 PM

I came out of freshman year with not so good grades. I ended up looking at things, much as you are, and decided math was more up my alley to complement my interests in theoretical CS. I worked harder and smarter my second year and my grades came up. My GPA isn't where I want it to be for graduate school right now, but it's above a 3.0, so I'm not in dangerous territory.

In terms of internships, frankly you're not ready to start applying if you're struggling with Intro to C++. Your focus next year, in my opinion, should be a few things:
-Improving your grades
-Refocusing your study habits
-Developing your abilities as a programmer

The other thing you can do to help complement your GPA is to work on a project. I have friends in CS who have gotten internships with 2.8-3.0 range GPAs because they've had awesome projects. One friend was rejected on the hiring process by a company. He walked by their booth at a career fair, showed them a project, and they told him to reapply. He was hired. This all goes towards developing your abilities as a programmer.

I don't know how you study, but you should meet with your student success center to learn how to study better. I would also suggest making sure you're not biting off 16-18 hours if you can't handle it. Take 13-15 hours if that's more manageable, until you can get yourself in a position to do better.
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#3 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: My grades suck

Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:35 PM

I've never been asked about my GPA on any job interview in my life. I wouldn't be too worried about that. However, as mac says, if you're really getting the material, you shouldn't be struggling for grades, so something is going wrong here. Failure analysis is a useful skill for a programmer, so try applying it here: look at your recent homework and tests. Where are you losing points? What can you learn from this?
If you're losing points to "stupid mistakes", that's a bad place to lose points. Programmers really need to be good at double-checking their work and spotting small errors. "Stupid mistakes" that slip past code review and get into the repo can take anything from hours to weeks to find, depending on how stupid and how subtle they are. In that case, you want to think about slowing down and being more present in your work. Don't rush, it wastes a lot of time.
If you find there are deeper concepts you're not grasping, you should go and talk to your TA or professor about this. The teaching staff is there to make sure you learn, and if you didn't get it the first time, you can discuss it with them. They will probably be able to make some suggestions, either in terms of ways to think about the problem or in terms of further reading that might help. Another useful approach is to talk to your fellow students and find someone who wants to form a study group. Three or four people reading through the questions on a test will usually find that for any problem that any one of them had trouble with, there is someone who understood it and can explain it. And in a group that small, you'll find you can't hide - you'll have to do a lot of explaining, which will be very good for your understanding of the concepts.
If you find that you're running out of time on programming problems - write more code. A professor writing an exam is going to give you problems that they expect you to get through in the allotted time. If you're not finishing, you need to write more programs. You want to know the language so well that you don't have to think about the syntax when you're writing a program. (If you use an IDE that does syntax highlighting or autocompletion, turn them off. Learn to see the code for yourself, with your own eyes!)
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#4 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

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Re: My grades suck

Posted Yesterday, 07:54 AM

One thing to keep in mind, they don't put "Dr. D-" on your diploma. Grades don't matter that much overall. It is more your GPA that employers care about, and that is really just for internships and the first 1 or 2 jobs out of college. After that you should have the requisite 3-5 years of industry experience and that should be good enough for most jobs.

I got a C in a few classes and a D in another during college and still graduated with over a 3.5 GPA, so having a bad semester or two won't kill you. I even got B's in some CS classes. All of that and I was still able to find a job. I also had a higher GPA than many of my friends who found jobs.

Moral: Grades are important, yes, but just because some of them aren't optimal doesn't mean your life is ruined.
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: My grades suck

Posted Yesterday, 08:25 AM

I just want to pause and recognize the insertion of "Dr. D" into the conversation.

Carry on.
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