How to Be an “A” Grade Student in a “B” Grade University?

Raghuram Sukumar Student Stories 59 Comments

How to be an A Grade Student in B Grade University.

Note – Inspiration behind this post, is completely based on my true story.

This topic will be useful to every student (US or India). But, I’m give examples of situations that you will meet while attending graduate school in US.

  • Fact 1: If you are not attending Top Ranked Universities, then consider yourself in B Grade School.
  • Fact 2: Not attending A Grade university doesn’t mean you cannot be an A Grade student.

There will be drastic difference is same course offering between A and B Grade schools.

To understand, what I’m talking about refer to assignment (Word Game) given to students for Introduction to Computer Science Programming.

Level of difficulty in courses in Graduate School in USA is  high.  You would have to take the courses to really understand what I’m talking about.

Introduction courses is “B grade” is not as tough as the above example.  What can you do to be an A grade student from a B grade university?

B Grade to A Grade

Lets Now, its time to evaluate your current skill and overall feeling about your potential.

Example – Lets assume you are in a class and your friends says “That person in front row, is top-notch, his GPA of 4,0  from all tough courses”.

What do you feel about that person next time?

  • That person  is top student, but I’m not smaller than him
  • Damn! he must be born genius, I’m going to respect him and I can’t reach up to him.

Do you understand what I try to convey here? Do you get that inferiority complex and lower yourself?

I had such feeling, when I used look at those who score way above in test.

My Grad School

Let me say this (true story about myself)

I’m not a great programmer (in Undergrad and even during Masters). I took an Operation Systems class and it has 3 projects each 20% of final grade.

Here I’m in Masters, taking a required core course that has 60% weight for programming projects. That was in my 3rd semester. After 6 Courses, my GPA was 4.0 and I was under pressure to get 4.0 in all 3 courses, but I knew it will be tough with OS course.

  • I have set a negative tone and expectations for the course.

First programming assignment was due in 14 days. I had to learn a new language (VB.Net) and implement the project. Typically programming assignment problem (as you can see in above link) will be 4 to 5 pages long. Just like a mini software requirements document.

I started working on the project on day 1. I hated the course and not so keen on learning new programming language in 14 days to implement  new project.

10 days went by and I had completed 15% of the work.

Assignment was due on a Sunday 11:59 PM.

It was Sunday 4 PM and I was about 30% complete and long way to go.

My roommate, he writes code like taking part in typing competition. Very efficient and powerful programmer. He was on the couch, I was asking him about design and implementation questions (basic questions).

At one point he lost his patience and said  “Go get your undergraduate programming book, learn how to code, then you can think about completing this project.”

It got upset with his comment, but what he said was very true, I’m not a good programmer and haven’t raised myself the expectations of  US Grad School. I couldn’t type or think any more, closed the project and went to bed.

Life Changing Experience

After 30 minutes, my roommate came to me ans asked me to go out for a walk with him. He felt sad for his comment, apologized for his comment.

That’s one of my turning points in my life.

He said how his dad advised him “How can you forget what you learn, if you forget then you have to change the way you learn. Study to understand the concept, not for the sake of memorizing”.

He asked me to struggle and code this project on my own. He’s not going to help me. Thats the only way I’m going to learn.

I came back home, worked till 10 PM and completed 40% of the project. Missed the deadline and didn’t submit the code.

Every day project is submitted late, 10% will be cut. So, Instead of 100, max I can score is 90.

Went to class next day, came back home around 3 PM. I was determined to complete the project that night before 11:59

I started coding from scratch, ditched the code I worked for 14 days.

Started at 3PM and completed the entire project at 11 PM. Missed few features, but core of the project was done. Felt exhausted, submitted the project around 11:30 PM, scored around 80.

After that project, next 2 projects was bit easy (2 new programming language) and finally scored B grade in Operation System course.

When I got the Grades “B” at end of the semester, I was determined to do one thing.

“Next semester, I’m going to take one 100% programming course with new language and get A Grade”

So, I registered to take System Programming in Unix. Course had 8 programming projects and no exams.  Guess what, I scored 790 out of 800.

B Grade to A Grade

The promise I made and goal I set  to be an “A Grade” student after advise my friend gave me, changed my life for good.

Job, life and this blog, I have today is result of that one course, one determination and one friend.

So, if you set your mind to increase your standard, then you got to give everything you got in you.

It’s not easy, but determination with hard work will take you there. So, don’t worry if you are not studying in top ranked university.

Admission to university today is based on your past academic accomplishment. What you can achieve tomorrow, depends on your today’s effort.

So, join the best possible university you can based on your admission, then raise your standard, outlook towards life and skill level from there. This is my story, I would like to hear such a story from you one day.

Comments

  1. Great inspirational blog !!.I will kept it in my heart and will implement it on my life with 100% efforts

  2. wow…………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!what an experience???????
    am feeling like i want to indulge myself in programming…..!!!!!!!!! 
    :):):)

  3. Thanx HSB for this Post….

    Few days back i posted my visa Exp i don’t know whether u remember or not. Regarding the 14backlog post. lets leave that topic.
    i’ve reached US and every thing is set. last week i choosed my 1st three courses for the semester. but was happy while choosing that courses.

    But after few days i got -ve reviews regarding the courses i took. coz all them were tough to score high. since to continue my scholarship i needed to maintain my GPA 3.25. friends and seniors told me that would be difficult for me. 

    I thought what if i loose the scholarship? and right now was going to the advisior to drop the courses and take the easy one and keep one hard course for next semester.

    Just checked the E-mail and read your post.  I think i just determined what i wanted to do after reading the post.

    Thanx HSB

    1. Always take light course on your first semester. My recommended formula – 1 Tough and 2 Easy. Once you get used to courses, exams and projects, then you can go Tough, Tough, Easy. At times you have to play smart.

      I’m glad you are determined, but when scholarship is at stake, you can take the same course later, but if scholarship goes, its hard to get it back.

  4. Thanx HSB for this Post….

    Few days back i posted my visa Exp i don’t know whether u remember or not. Regarding the 14backlog post. lets leave that topic.
    i’ve reached US and every thing is set. last week i choosed my 1st three courses for the semester. but was happy while choosing that courses.

    But after few days i got -ve reviews regarding the courses i took. coz all them were tough to score high. since to continue my scholarship i needed to maintain my GPA 3.25. friends and seniors told me that would be difficult for me. 

    I thought what if i loose the scholarship? and right now was going to the advisior to drop the courses and take the easy one and keep one hard course for next semester.

    Just checked the E-mail and read your post.  I think i just determined what i wanted to do after reading the post.

    Thanx HSB

  5. wow. very inspiring.  But, I would like to ask u one question . U said you hated the course, so do u like the course, the subject and what u do now? I wonder if we can develop the love for the subject when we constantly do what we dont like. I would like to know your opinion on this cuz ones likes and dislikes decide their careers. And im in a fix cuz I hate to sit before computer, but, compelled to search for something in IT field. 

    1. Things by Chance – There are things you have to do, even though you don’t like to do. For instance IS course is Required Core course. Without that I cannot get Masters Degree.

      Things by Choice – You pick what you like to do and get good at it.

      From my experience, if you don’t love something, you are not going to get good at it.

  6. I enjoyed reading your post as I too believe in something similar. It feels great to come across a person who has such beliefs. Your approach towards the things in life will take you a long way and I wish you loads of success all along the path.

    -Divya

  7. For a very long time I was looking for a topic related to this one!!, all chaos about US graduation is how to get into one of the universities but nothing really is so fluently expressed like this post here, great job absolutely. I guess we Indian engineers have one thing in common when it comes to submitting assignments, projects, documents is LAZINESS!!! We can get away with it in India but not in US for sure, surely this post is like a Wake-Up Call

  8. Good experience. This will surely help somebody who may be undertaking courses for his first semester. HSB’s Easy, tough, tough approach is appreciable.

    Mir

  9.  HSB,

    This post inspires us to work hard with determination to face tough challenges in life.
    One thing I learnt from my seniors who are working in core companies is to be enthusiastic in learning and being active in projects.

  10. Truly an inspirational article!!!Thanx a ton for projecting such beautiful thoughts

  11. Brilliant!! No words!

    just felt like saying one thing, in India in my undergrad college i had put in quite some effort for the first 2-2.5 years but the rewards were very bleak and unsatisfactory so i lost interest in the last 1.5 yrs or so which in turn affected my chances of a good grad school. Just hope that the same will be reversed in the USA. And your post has inspired me to be more persistent! Thanks a lot HSB.

  12. JAB  TAK  SAB KUCH  THEEK  NAHI  HOTA TAB  TAK ANTA(END)  NAHI HOTA….:)…

  13. Superb post. I keep reading posts in this blog. You have taken inspiration and achived it Friend.

  14. its motivating and inspiring,even i thought not admitted into top universities implies not a good student,but now i can say confidently that it is the student that makes not the past record,school,thanks  for your valuable post and keep posting

  15. Even i have taken a OS course this semester.. It is a programming core.. I was bit scared after attending the first class today.. But your post made my day.. thank you so much… 🙂  

    All the very Best to you… 🙂

  16. Superb Writing! Truly Inspirational! Must confess my thoughts were echoed in bits throughout and thus I like the post even more.

  17. Superb Writing! Truly Inspirational! Must confess my thoughts were echoed in bits throughout and thus I like the post even more.

  18. Thanks that was very inspirational. I don’t know how long will this last but I will try to work hard and become an A grade student. I was not a sincere student during my B.E. and their were some personal problems as well.  My morale was down and I was mentally and emotionally depressed. But your blog helped me in many ways, writing GRE, TOEFL,  getting admission in university in US,  helped me in boosting up my morale.  My classes will start in fall 2011 and I hope with this inspirational story, I can do well and make you a proud mentor. 

    We all think that someday we will make a difference, we will do good stuff and help others. Many people give up without even trying but you did it. You helped many students in shaping their career, without expecting any monetary gain from them in return. And someday, I will repay your debt by helping someone in need. Thanks for everything.

    Please accept my sincere gratitude.

    Regards,
    Richa

  19. thank u friend..this was a wonderful inspirational little story..what ur frnd has done to u was great and what u made out of it is astonishing..thanks for this..

  20. Thanks For this Post. From your Post I get energy and feel to do Something that make my Life……

  21. Thanks for your post my dear friend…It’s really inspiring….I am planning to take my test on November with in this 3 months i am determined to my exam & i admire u…I will give reply to you after my exam with my scores and all…I am an average student…even though i am determined to give best outcome in exam…so thanks for your inspiration…i need guidelines from you regarding the way of preparation….please help me…i am so much thankful to you…

  22. Thank you so much, I took my own lessen at the very beginning of my first semester at a graduate school. The pay back from me to you for such inspiring post is to do very well on the courses am going to take. Many thanks to you!!!

  23. Hi,
    Your post was very helpful to me, i am planning for spring semister2012 and expecting i20 shortly from universities. you are really right, not getting in to ‘A’ grade university doesn’t mean that one is not a good student. whichever university you might be just aim to be in first place. I’m definitely going to implement it from my side. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  24. Inspiring when we struggle with our courses here at least I think that am I in the wrong course and wrong place?Was I better off in India,but these kind of stories will get me up and running

  25. too good a story ..i will come up with mine too as a doctor when i was a medical student

  26. really inspiring post. I wish there were more posts about students who had not performed excellently during graduation ,doing masters in US,

  27. really there is too much depth in all above lines..one can understand more by imagination about supra.i was inspired on the quote..trying ourselves makes something ..it brings out what we are.

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