Header photo by Hamish Grant. Used with permission.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shooting for B's

"Be a B student and an A+ networker."

Really?  Whoa.  You lost me at B student. 

This is the top advice shared by one of my instructors.  I've taken pause.  It's been hard to wrap my head around.  As someone with a history of chronic high expectations, I've struggled with saying "that's good enough" and moving on to something more important.  It's tricky, but I'm realizing the value.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to play more video games in university.  Seriously.  Since graduating, nobody has ever asked my what my GPA was.  Nobody.  Why?  Because nobody cares.  People care about what kind of friend I was.  People care about the ways in which I served the community.  People care  about the time we shared a beer or went for a coffee and had a chat, even if it was not scheduled onto my colour-coded itinerary. Having As isn't going to get me a job in PR - strong relationships, community involvement and soaking up experience is.

If you're a future employer or one of my classmates reading this thinking, "I want nothing to do with this self-confessed slacker," let me reassure you: I'm not about to let you down.  I'm driven to be successful.  This isn't a reflection of my work ethic.  It relates to my priorities.  This paradigm shift allows me to be get creative and take risks.  By worrying less about a grade at the end of the assignment, I can focus on the process and on the lessons the assignment seeks to teach.


  1. I understand this sense of perfectionism, Zack, and I do think there's more success in letting it go. Obviously with a work ethic and natural sway towards getting everything exactly right you will never do a sloppy job of anything. Letting go a little will just allow you to do a very good job and make some great connections with the time you saved. It's a skill I had to learn in my last crazy-bananas-multi-tasking job and I'm thankful that I did. It has already come in super handy at school these last 4 weeks

  2. Zack,

    I have always felt the pressure to achieve outstanding grades and to try and be the best academically.

    Since joining this prpgram I am learning SO much and on top of that the process of learning is a complete 180 from what I have always been accustomed to; going to lecture, writing notes and writing essays.

    Although we do this in our PR program, it is not the only thing that we do. We are learning from hands on experiences.

    We are building relationships.
    This is KEY.

    Relationships that I've built with our teachers is foreign to me.

    I dont know about you, but I went from being just a "number" in university to an actual living and breathing person at Humber. I am so grateful for being in this amazing program!

    Well said Zack!

  3. Zack - I know marks are important to students because marks are a tangible measure of one's success. Marks are also the easiest way to measure someone which is why schools use them.

    But marks are only one dimension. The dimensions of connecting with people, volunteering to help with an event or networking to help a colleague be successful are what counts in the world of work.

    Employers tell me they will hire for attitude and train for aptitude. So, concentrate on having an A attitude.

    The rest will take care of itself. And, life will be multidimensional and more fun.


  4. So so true, Zack!
    I might refer some of my classmates to this post.

    Great blog!

  5. Zack, thanks for this post. I am a chronic grade-obsessed student. But even the format of this program versus that of my undergrad has caused a small shift. I still do care about my grades, because, as Kalene said above, they are an indication of your understanding and ability, but I'm beginning to see the great value in being present and not always alone in the library with my nose in a book.

    Gaining social capital is huge and I think this is one of the things Humber helps us do best.