Does GPA reflect how good an engineer you are or just how good you are at memorising terms?

As the light from my laptop screen illuminated my face, giving it an eerie glow in the dim room, my fingers worked away furiously with vigorous speed and certainty at the keys as I typed out the answers for the questions on my application form for the Thoughtworks Fellowship. It meant a great deal to get chosen, as only a select few are chosen for this fellowship.  

After answering the first few questions easily without thought, I scrolled to the next question which seemed to slap me in my face — “Have you applied any of your subjects in real life? If so, please tell us in less than or in 100 words.”

The laptop seemed to be waiting for me with its unblinking screen, eagerly expecting an answer. My fingers wandered restlessly above the keys. At that moment, I realised the actual reason I had applied for the fellowship — I had absolutely no practical knowledge or hands on experience. I had been taught to define terms with precise keywords, follow the mark scoring pattern of answering to get an outstanding grade, to underline points, to use different coloured inks to present an attractive paper and to never deviate from the prescribed syllabus — all in the pursuit of a superficial GPA. But does this GPA project my application skills or how well I can use my knowledge in real time? No.

It does not say anything about my logical reasoning, intelligence quotient or how good an engineer I am. It merely projects my amazing memory capacity, and how well I can present a neat, well formatted paper and comment on my penmanship. There is no thinking out of the box.

Bottomline: Students are merely a domestic, trained herd, with blinkers on that narrow their vision to the road immediately ahead of them and making them oblivious to their surroundings. 

ROSHNI MURALI, III Year, B.Tech-IT, SSN College of Engineering