Africa · Ghana · Opinion



What does a 4.0 GPA mean to you? Not a 4.0 out of a 5.0 or 6.0 but a 4.0 out of a possible 4.0. While you wrap your head around that, you should know that the best graduating student at the most recent University of Ghana Convocation ceremony was Dennis Danso Kumi, a medical student who graduated with a 4.0 GPA. I am well aware of the reputation that the University of Ghana has among mainstream Ghanaians. It is seen as the ultimate playground, an unserious university or a “fashion school” as a friend aptly put it. I don’t intend to make a case for the defense of the University – recent African and world rankings do that much better than I can – but all you need to know about how difficult it is to even make a first class, let alone graduate with a 4.0 GPA, can be found in the reactions among students about Dr Dennis Kumi’s feat.

Reactions have varied among students. A few are doubting Thomases, refusing to believe anyone could graduate with a 4.0 and may need video evidence to actually come to accept that such excellence was attained. A small number of people also believe the GPA was bought, though the holes in that argument are quickly picked apart when you consider the number of people who could pay for a 4.0 GPA and the relative rarity of that occurrence.

Which brings us to the more generally accepted school of thought: that Dr Kumi did get a 4.0 but he must have had no social life, spent all day at his books and must have been really obsessed with reading, all these in fairly accusatory tones. Of course, subscribers to this school of thought recognize the excellence of a 4.0 GPA but they can not comprehend how anybody could achieve that.

This almost innate need to justify, with derogatory means, an achievement of excellence by a colleague is in stark contrast to what Dr Kumi’s achievement actually means.
A 4.0 GPA, a Best Graduating Student Award, or a First Class Honors, have become an almost utopian aspiration and so when a few people do manage it, they are outliers, weird, antisocial people who had to resort to desperate and often negative means to achieve extraordinary feats.


But maybe we need to reflect and realize that Dr Kumi’s feat is one of excellence; a young person striving to be the best at what he does and finally getting his due reward after all his hard work. This should be cause not only for celebration but also worth inculcating in our everyday lives because striving for excellence not only improves us personally but helps us to improve our environment, our nation and humanity at large. Excellence also has that wonderful ability to come hand in hand with success.

The reality is that not everyone will make a 4.0, be a world class footballer or found a million-dollar business venture but when one doesn’t, it shouldn’t be because of one not absolutely doing their very best because when you don’t do your very best in your academics or in any other venture, you’re shortchanging yourself, your community, your country and humanity.

More importantly, we need to appreciate and praise acts of excellence in our community because recognizing such achievements serves to inspire others to do even better.
Finally, the very next time someone does something extraordinary, we could instead use words like “genius”, “hardworking”, “studious”, “excellent”. Soon enough, maybe those words would be said at us too.

~ Senam

“Strive for excellence and success will come chasing you pants down” ~ Ranchodan Shamaldas Chanchad (3 idiots)


7 thoughts on “WHAT DOES A 4.0 GPA MEAN TO YOU?

  1. I graduated with a 2.0 and that took every bit of energy and brains and two extra semesters of make up classes. But I do tell people I graduated 12th in my class which seems impressive on the surface, right ? It was a small summer school graduation not part of normal end of year extravaganza. There were 12 of us. Ironically I was a high school history teacher for 33 years. Served in inner city, minority, low income, ever present violence , drugs and dysfunctional families environment. Don’t think a 4.0 dude would have survived as most wonder student grads did not last through the first year. I had to know some history but needed to know the street more than the library. Thanks visit my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    Thank you for visiting my site today. I am glad you liked my article about Quora. By the way, I know Carl.
    Like you, I am a social media enthusiast and often blog about social media. I found your article interesting. In high school, my daughters did their very best, but a 4.0 was never good enough because of honors classes. That is the kind of pressure put on young people today.
    Thank you again for your visit to my site and for liking my article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks for taking the time to read the post and also for your comment. And what I was trying to say with this article is,when we do our best, we’re 4.0 people. Or at least, that’s what I hope people get from the article

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this puts things in a whole new perspective.

    But it’s funny how majority of us beam with confidence during the first year, saying we WILL graduate with First Class Honors. Then 70-90% of us laze about and have an abysmal First Year, try to catch up(some faster than others), then relegate ourselves to 2nd Class levels.

    As if that’s not enough, we then hypocritically bash anybody who ends up achieving what we couldn’t. Finding fault and assuming they used foul means.

    Insightful piece. Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know why I didn’t see this earlier. You’re right. At the end of it all tho, we have to account to ourselves and if we’re being honest with ourselves, a lot of us know we could do better


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