A recent speaker made me realize a concept that I hadn’t really considered much before PRSSA’s bi-monthly group meeting in December. Sam Plymale, a PR practitioner for the city of Plymouth and recent graduate of EMU, said something that was really surprising and unexpected during a Q&A session after his presentation.
“I’m sure your professors would not like for me to tell you this,” Plymale said, “But, your grades really don’t matter.”
I’ve heard this from classmates before who refer to the classic term “C’s get degrees,” but hearing it from a former E-Board member that had guided me when I first joined PRSSA was a bit shocking.
After countless job interviews and sending out dozens of resumes, only a couple potential employer asked about his grade point average, Plymale said. Most simply didn’t care.
The advice that was offered as a result was, “Students need to do more extracurricular activity and networking,” he said. “I wish I wouldn’t have been so caught up in my grades.”
Plymale had a near perfect GPA, but struggled to make connections after graduation. He said PRSSA was one of his only ways to branch into the professional job market.
With that being said, there is no need to halt studying and become content with mediocrity. On the contrary, I took this as a wake-up call, not only do I need to learn as much as possible from my classes, but my free time needs to be dedicated to the next chapter after college.
For those that don’t have much lined up after college, attending a PRSSA meeting or event is a good way to start making professional contacts and networking. Becoming an E-Board member is an even better way to get involved, and talking with some PRSSA board members or advisers is a good way to find out more information.
Grades are undoubtedly an imperative aspect of student, but, as Sam Plymale made painstakingly clear, they won’t get you hired.