Grading: Life as a 4.0 student

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

It’s the academic symbol of perfection: a 4.0 GPA.

Annalee Lord, a senior majoring in international studies with two minors in Arabic and theatre, is one of those students who keeps her grades at almost a full point higher than the U’s average GPA (3.16).

She has kept a 4.0 GPA every semester during her time at the U, an average she has also maintained since she began high school.

The Chronicle e-mailed Lord earlier this week to see how she has kept her grades steady and her busy life in line.

The Chronicle: How have you maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school and college?

Lord: Basically, I make sure to do every assignment on time. It kills my social life sometimes, but it really helps. And I do all the reading. I make sure to speak up in classes where there will be essay tests and get involved in the discussions or attend review sessions — they really save me when I just don’t understand the teacher’s lectures or the readings very well, which definitely happens.

The Chronicle: Do most of your friends have the same GPA or do their’s differ? Do you think that has an affect on your own?

Lord: Most of my hang-out friends are C-average students, while my school friends are all good students, and I think they help, because the people I have to study with are also good at the subjects. However, my boyfriend has a 3.8, so we encourage each other and understand the amount of time necessary to study well.

The Chronicle: Were your parents strict about your grades when you were younger?

Lord: Not too much, but they did stay involved in my academics and made sure I learned as much as possible. My mom home-schooled me for two years of my elementary, and my reading levels jumped. This really helped in school.

The Chronicle: What is your day like, including classes and study time?

Lord: Go to class for a few hours, have a few-hour break and just do homework or the dishes and eat. Then, I usually end up napping for an hour. Then either go to class and then work for five hours or just go to work for five hours. Oh, and then I come home and study for an hour. That is a typical weekday.

The Chronicle: How many credit hours are you taking?

Lord: 16.

The Chronicle: What kind of classes are you taking? Would you consider them easy or hard?

Lord: I’m taking three upper-division courses including the third year of Arabic, and that class is super-hard and unbelievably time-consuming. My other two classes are easy lower-division general education credit, which I have tried to spread out to ease up my schedule, and this has been really helpful as well.

The Chronicle: What do you do outside of school?

Lord: I have a lot of hobbies, but I haven’t been able to do many of them during this semester. It’s a bit hectic, but I do it all on my breaks and weekends and summers. I spent a month in Central America this summer and a year in Europe for study abroad two years ago, and it’s nice to have a long travel break that I’m looking forward to for getting me through the school year. I don’t go out during school much, just on weekends or special occasions (on) weekdays. I work at night, so this is difficult.

The Chronicle: How would you describe yourself as a student?

Lord: I am a perfectionist when it comes to getting my homework done.

The Chronicle: What are some tips you would like to offer students who are having a hard time maintaining their grades?

Lord: Just write out a calendar of your major assignments/readings at the beginning of the semester, then keep looking at it, adding when you get new assignments, and complete them all on time! And then do review sessions with other students for tests. If you keep this up, hopefully it should work for most classes (at least in the liberal arts, which is all I study now). But, be prepared to lack a little social life during the semester to reap the rewards come grade time.

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Jarad Reddekopp

Annalee Lord, a Senior in International Studies, works on her Arabic homework Tuesday afternoon in the OSH building.