Being “average” is often conveyed as a something negative. However, as a foreign student in a German program with no other foreigners, being “average” is something I strive for.
I had a difficult time during the final exam period of my first semester of grad school in Germany. And although my current GPA is (so far) lower than my undergraduate GPA, I am happy. Why? Because my GPA is average.
My school’s online platform allows students to see a table of grades from each class. This table shows the number of students that got each of the possible grades. In Germany, grades are on a scale of 1-4, in which 1 is the best and 4 is the worst.
Here are the results from the final exam from hell:
The only possible grades are 1, 1.3, 1.7, 2, 2.3, 2.7, etc. So, according to this table, one person got a perfect score (1.0), two people got a very good score (1.3), four people got a good score (1.7), two people — me included — got a 2.0, two people got a 2.3, three people received a 2.7, and one person had a 3.0.
At the bottom, you can see that there were 15 students in total, and the average grade was a 2.0. That’s right, the average grade was a 2.0. I got a 2.0. This means I am average!
Growing up, I was an above-average student. This continued to college, when I graduated with honors. But by getting my degree in a foreign country and in a foreign language, this has changed.
Studying in a foreign country is hard. German universities are different from American universities. Classes are formatted differently. Professors have different expectations of their students.
Studying in a foreign language is especially hard. The texts you have to read each week aren’t in English. The lectures are not in English. Final exams are not in English.
This exam was particularly terrifying since it was my first exam in German. Since it was timed (and I couldn’t use a computer), I knew my exam would be riddled with grammatical errors. Also, the subject material was straight up hard (old German philosophers, anyone?).
So, being average is just fine with me, and it is something I will continue to strive for in the coming semesters. Hooray for being average!