Losing Sight Of The Goal: Why It's Important To Let Academics Come First

College. A major transition, a new chapter, a fresh beginning. We all entered UCLA as wide-eyed freshmen/transfers, with smiles on our lips and dreams bigger than our suitcases. As the days passed, we learned to navigate the campus, we began to see more familiar faces and we began to take advantage of the opportunities given to us.

At UCLA, there are so many opportunities and chances for involvement. If you have a hobby you want to explore, a passion you want to pursue - you can find an on-campus student organization, a person to network with. Since coming to UCLA, I truly realized how endless some opportunities are. Plunging into a variety of clubs and organizations, looking into internships, finding part-time jobs - these are all amazing opportunities that can give us the valuable experience we’ll need in the future. But as you struggle between splitting your time among different organizations, and spend more time working on internship applications than your homework, you might find your grades slipping. Getting involved and getting experience can be invaluable; these opportunities can help us further define our career goals and aspirations, can help us land that dream job in the future. But it’s important not to lose sight of the main goal: academics. Whether you are a student-athlete, a student worker or otherwise involved somehow, you are first and foremost a student. We all chose to pursue higher education at a renowned institution because we understand the value of obtaining knowledge and being educated.

Sitting at a desk with an open textbook in front of you, staring into a blank computer screen, attending lectures, these can all feel boring in comparison to running after your internship coordinator and getting hands-on experience. But these aspects of your education are all valuable components that will contribute to your future. Learning from professors can help you refocus your career goals and also help you narrow or sharpen your aspirations. Professors have lots of experience and stories that they are willing to share with you; going to class and office hours, and taking advantage of your education can benefit you as you learn things you might not otherwise have known.

While experience may look good on paper and applications, difficult coursework can often benefit you similarly. By describing to employers what you got out of taking a difficult class, or how what you learned can apply to real-world contexts, you can still appear impressive and well-rounded. Your grades shouldn't define you, but the education that you gain and the things you learn from your classes will always benefit you. Gaining experience is appealing, but when too many involvements make your grades slip, it’s time to re-evaluate. While we can get caught up with all the opportunities that are available to us, we should also keep in mind the value of education. You may be jumping into different organizations and gaining internship experience, but all of these experiences are serving as supplements to the education you are gaining.

Keep your eye on the goal and make sure to always keep academics a priority. So study hard and go ace those exams! The knowledge you learn and the education you gain will never fail you.