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How much do college honors matter after graduation?
Old 07-12-2019, 01:26 PM
  #1

I have a friend in his late 60ís who graduated from college Summa cum laude. He had a successful professional career and has since retired.

In about half the conversations weíve had with him over the past six years he mentions that he graduated Summa cum laude. Somehow it turns up in small groups or individual conversations about half the time. Iím puzzled why he continues to mention a graduation status that happened 40 years ago. Iím impressed that he had significant academic skills but puzzled why it has such importance to him so many decades later.

Iím certain that there a many PT members who graduated with such honors. If so, do you mention it frequently? In what way does it remain significant to you today?


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Yes
Old 07-12-2019, 01:30 PM
  #2

I graduated Summa cum laude. I never mention it. I haven't thought about it in years, until this post.

It's an accomplishment I am proud of, but it never defined my life.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:32 PM
  #3

Quote:
....do you mention it frequently? In what way does it remain significant to you today?
In my heart Iím proud to have graduated with honors, but Iím 68 and this is the first time Iíve ever mentioned it. I do refer to my public school college by name because I loved itóI hope thatís okay.

ETA: I was thinking about this thread and recalled that at graduation my college friend and I were surprised by the honors ropes with our robes and the first pictures show us wearing them incorrectly.

Last edited by amiga13; 07-13-2019 at 05:04 AM..
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:41 PM
  #4

He's impressed with himself and wants everyone to Bo just as impressed. Sadly I know a few people like that.

Great, super, wonderful. Be proud, as you should be, but it really doesn't need to be discussed over & over again.
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Summa cum laude
Old 07-12-2019, 02:01 PM
  #5

I graduated summa cum laude, too. I put it on my resume, but that's all I ever say.

I wonder if he has low self-confidence and/or someone in his life made him feel stupid, incapable, etc. so he says that to boost himself up.


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I never mention it...
Old 07-12-2019, 02:46 PM
  #6

I graduated summa cum laude from my college. I can't remember the last time I mentioned it to anyone. I know at the time, my parents were very proud because they read our names and we got to stand up at the ceremony.

I think there are so many measures of success. While great grades in college are one of them, a designation like that fails to take into account people's hard work to overcome adversity. I helped a woman study who was in my Teaching of Reading class. She was working hard to finish college and become a teacher, and had a poor education in the segregated south. There was no way she would graduate summa cum laude, but she was a hero to me, and I am betting she is a fabulous teacher just on the strength of her personality and work ethic.

I'm not sure why your friend feels a need to bring up his honors status. Maybe he lacks confidence or feels a need to impress others or have others think he is highly intelligent for some reason. I guess you could always ask him.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:04 PM
  #7

I do think that some degrees a summa cum laude would be a much bigger accomplishment than in other fields. I don't say that to offend or downgrade anyone's experiences...but I do believe that some of the science and engineering fields are much harder than many fine arts degrees, for example.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:14 PM
  #8

It is an accomplishment to graduate with honors, but as the old joke says: What do you call the student who graduates last from medical school? Doctor

The designation may open some graduate school opportunities, but field experience probably opens more job opportunities. (Unless you are a law graduate looking to clerk.)
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:57 PM
  #9

It's odd that he brings it up. I feel like I've forgotten about graduating with honors. I graduated with some kind, but now I can't even remember which kind. Plus, he's around 30 years older than me.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:01 PM
  #10

We had three levels:distinction, high distinction, and highest distinction. I just had to go look to see which I received. Obviously I never mention it.


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My sister graduated
Old 07-12-2019, 04:36 PM
  #11

first in her high school, college and graduate degree class. She hasn't mentioned it once, and she is 74.
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:42 PM
  #12

Um. I know I graduated with honors, but I don't remember which level. It's been too long and it's not important in my daily life.

For some people, though, I understand that it's important to them. Like my sister feeling special because of the school she attended. She sees it as an honor. I see it as wasted money.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:35 PM
  #13

I graduated summa cum laude, and I think graduation day was the last time it was mentioned. I think it is weird for him to bring it up, but I don't like bragging in general. I also agree that it is much harder in some fields than others.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:50 PM
  #14

My school didnít do honors, but my GPA wouldíve gotten honors. I donít even think of it, but when I was writing a resume for a government position, someone that works in HR told me to include on my resume. Iíve never mentioned it. This is coming from the girl that drove around with her diplomas on her car floor for almost a year. And just found them on the closet floor a couple months ago while cleaning 😂
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highest honors
Old 07-12-2019, 07:53 PM
  #15

I never mention my honors, and I don't know anyone who has mentioned theirs. I did find out after his death that my dad used to brag about me.

I do know a couple of people who keep telling everyone over and over again that they are Mensa members. In my old building some people would refer to some not-so-bright people as "mensa."
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Old 07-12-2019, 07:55 PM
  #16

I graduated summa cum laude too and had literally forgotten all about it until reading this post. It honestly never even occurred to me to put it on a resume. Maybe I did have it on my resume fresh out of college, but I can't remember at this point. I can't imagine bragging about it in person.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:54 AM
  #17

I graduated with high honors, which at my university was equivalent to summa cum laude. It might be listed on my resume. I don't remember.

The OP's friend may be mentioning this because he feels at loose ends and underappreciated now that he's retired. The job no longer confers status, so he mentions the college thing. Another possibility is that he's beginning to get a little senile. Either way, you're right--it's odd why it's just coming up now.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:03 AM
  #18

Are you sure he's telling the truth?

I'm thinking it helps to build up a person's need to feel important or special if they brag about awards, whether they really got the awards, or are lying about getting them.

Any past awards are truly not significant if one "can't find their way out of a box" in terms of making minor decisions and/or doing simple everyday tasks.

I'm comparing "book learning" to "life learning." A good balance of both probably is more significant to me. Just my opinion.
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Old 07-13-2019, 04:52 AM
  #19

Quote:
I do think that some degrees a summa cum laude would be a much bigger accomplishment than in other fields...but I do believe that some of the science and engineering fields are much harder than many fine arts degrees, for example.
Maybe, but I tend to think that what makes a bigger difference is how selective the college is and how good the degree program is in various areas. For instance, graduating summa cum laude with a fine arts degree from Julliard would certainly be a bigger accomplishment than graduating summa cum laude with an engineering degree from a 4th tier university. In general, even if you want to make an a** of yourself bragging about your academic honors 40 years later, it's kind of pointless to brag about graduating summa cum laude if you can't also brag about what school you attended.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:10 AM
  #20

I graduated summa cum laude also, but I have never mentioned it to anyone in a conversation. That's weird. ��

Last edited by annie_g; 07-13-2019 at 08:56 AM..
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:21 AM
  #21

I don't think it matters, especially so far in the past. A teacher at my school went to a private college and she is VERY proud of that. I'm all, yeah well, we have the same job now.
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Old 07-13-2019, 05:31 AM
  #22

I did graduate with honors but I don't ever feel the need to talk about it. I graduated college at 22 while out on my own, married, and 7 months pregnant with my son. The academics for me weren't very hard, so I dont feel like graduating with honors is a big deal.

Like Zia said, we all have the same job. That is weird that he brings it up. I do feel like it would be a lot harder in some high level science or math field because those aren't my strong points, but we do go toward our strengths usually so math might be just as easy for those people as English and literature was for me....who knows.

I dislike bragging of any kind.
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Old 07-13-2019, 06:06 AM
  #23

I graduated Summa too. It didn't seem to affect anything in my life. The only thing I can think of is that I do put it on my resume and maybe that helps tip the scale in my favor just a tad, but don't know by HOW MUCH in my favor if many/most people graduated with that honor too.

I sure never speak of it.
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Old 07-13-2019, 11:51 AM
  #24

I graduated with some kind of honor- not enough to give a speech or anything, but enough that it on my transcripts. I only know this because I had to get my transcripts to apply for the program I’m currently in and I noticed it marked.


Quote:
A teacher at my school went to a private college and she is VERY proud of that. I'm all, yeah well, we have the same job now.
I worked with one of those teachers. She loved to brag about her private exclusive college and how much she (her parents) paid for her education. I always thought it made her sound like her family was fiscally irresponsible. I paid about a tenth of the price for my education and we both ended up in the same job with the same pay. I feel like I got more bang for my buck.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:42 PM
  #25

Quote:
I worked with one of those teachers. She loved to brag about her private exclusive college and how much she (her parents) paid for her education. I always thought it made her sound like her family was fiscally irresponsible. I paid about a tenth of the price for my education and we both ended up in the same job with the same pay. I feel like I got more bang for my buck.
I guess some people need to feel special and a big name university fills that esteem gap? I dunno, but it does make me laugh. Oh and I'm higher on the pay scale so I make about $12K more than she does with her hoity toity schooling.
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