WHAT COUNTS MORE? GRADES OR FRIENDSHIPS?
(P1) There is one factor in education that I feel is too seldom discussed, and which serves as a CONSTANT throughout PRECARIOUS times. That constant is friendship. In a world where busyness earns BRAGGING RIGHTS and where hyperconnectivity is the NORM, relationships can feel short-lived, INSTRUMENTAL, or SUPERFICIAL. And yet, there are few things more powerful in life than a genuine friendship. Indeed, for young people completing their studies, entering the working world, growing startups, and travelling to new cities, there are few things more VALUABLE in one’s life than true friendship.
(P2) Students, graduates and young professionals are wise to focus their attention on grades, career PROSPECT, and CASH FLOWS, respectively, for these factors can have short or even long-term influences on individuals’ lives. These early years are without question PARAMOUNT in building impressive CVs, gathering the experiences and achievements required to PROPEL us forward.
(P3) However, friendship is deeper and more ENDURING. I earned a strong GPA and a scholarship to the University of Cambridge, and now I employ other young people, but I can assure undergraduates that in time grades do not really matter. Salaries, cash flows, and clients will come and go. You will forget about 95 per cent of the content you’re memorizing for tomorrow’s exam. Your investors and employers will only glance at your transcripts before slipping them into the shredder.
(P4) Friendships are the ESSENCE of a university experience and the working world, at least in the early stages. As a young person, you owe it to yourself to surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, and whose perspectives and experiences both COMPLEMENT and challenge your own. These individuals will eventually reflect who you are as a person, and VICE-VERSA.
(P5) Sometimes, the UNLIKELIEST of friendships will endure and grow into relationships that shape others’ lives. In my HOME-TOWN of Edmonton, for example, Mayor Don Iveson and his Campaign Manager Chris Henderson met in high school – a COLLISION that would one day change the LANDSCAPE of Edmonton politics. I am no longer surprised to learn how COUNTLESS relationships in business and politics begin in university lecture rooms, fraternity and sorority houses, and student association council chambers. Young people should never STRIVE to make everyone their friend – conflict matters and will INEVITABLY lead to disputes and unique challenges. In some cases, you will learn that friendships aren’t worth continuing, and that’s OK.
(P6) We can seldom GO WRONG by putting ourselves in the company of curious, imaginative, courageous, and energetic PEERS, however. In short, those who inspire us with their words and actions. The energy and positive spirit that others display contributes significantly to one’s own character, where a friend becomes a REFLECTION of one’s self. These experiences cannot be measured by a grade or line on a CV. As we enter the New Year, there is little better that one can do than to enjoy the time spent with friends and the experiences that will outlive what is learned in a lecture hall.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Are you still friends with many people you knew in university or high school?
- Do you agree that these friendships are ULTIMATELY more important than the grades you earned or the content you learned?
- Do you think there is a strong difference between personal friends and professional friends?
- Are you very active in social networking? Have you made new friends that way?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Bragging rights
- Cash flow
- Go wrong