As a college freshman at Indiana University, I lived in a dorm referred to as an “Academic Unit”. Theoretically, all of us who lived in this unit were serious about our studies, and we could anticipate quieter hallways and a more studious atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the Academic Unit I lived in, Bordner 3, was located in the “party dorm”, McNutt Quad. My freshman year was the first year that Playboy didn’t rank IU as the #1 Party School in the Country! — because, “You can’t rank professionals.” Living in an Academic Unit in the party dorm at the party school didn’t mean much.
There were two men on my floor, however, who were very academically oriented. One was Doug, from Elkhart, Indiana, who had been valedictorian of his high school class. Doug, like me, was a freshman. The other was Dave, from Lafayette, Indiana. Dave was a junior and carried a 4.0 GPA.
Each of these men faced an academic crossroads that year. Doug got a “B” on one of his tests in the fall semester. He fell into a strange fit of depression, was nearly suicidal, and ended up dropping out and returning to Elkhart.
Dave, on the other hand, did so well that in one class, he didn’t even need to take the final. He would get an “A-“ in the class, thus ruining his 4.0 GPA for the remainder of his college years. Of course, the hours spent studying for the final exam he didn’t really need to take would siphon study time from his other courses, which could do even more damage to his GPA. Dave’s dilemma was the subject of much conversation on Bordner 3. Primarily because none of the rest of us would ever face such a dilemma, having already missed our chance at a flawless 4.0 GPA in one semester.
The only “A” I got my first semester at IU was in Marching Band. Everything else was a “B” or a “C”.
As Christians, our life does not depend on getting good grades. Good grades might help you get into Graduate school, but the reality is that no one cares about your GPA after college…or even high school for that matter.
Both Doug and Dave established their hope in their grades. Doug—being used to all A’s in high school and the recipient of academic awards—lost hope and couldn’t comprehend a way to continue. Dave worked hard to keep high grades, but ultimately chose to spoil his perfect GPA in order to keep it almost perfect.
Thankfully, God does not grade on a curve!
We were bought and purchased by the blood of Christ shed on the cross. St. Paul writes in Philippians 3:20, Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. As satisfying as it may be to graduate as valedictorian, to maintain a 4.0 GPA in college, to make achievements in the workplace, to raise children and grandchildren, or to check-off experiences on your “bucket list”, the future with Christ as citizens of heaven is better—extraordinarily better!
Whatever you look forward to in this life and wherever you are now investing your hope and energy, there is more to look forward to when the material life concludes and the next gets underway. As St. Paul shares succinctly in Philippians, To live is Christ, and to die is gain (1:21). There is truth in the cliché: The best is yet to come!
This article was written by parishioner Ben Conarroe.