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Easy and Realistic Steps/Ways for Any Nigerian University Student to Make A First Class
Oh yes, you heard me right. I said any student which means making a first class is nothing but just a choice, your choice actually. That is to say that you can, if you want. That is the first way to make a first class – you have to decide what you want to get from the onset.
But before we digress into the other ways of how to achieve this glorious feat, let’s look into the major reasons why you should strive to make a first class especially if you are a university student in Nigeria.
Number one is the pride, the glory and the honor. You know how much we cherish those things in Nigeria? You know it is not easy to be ranked amongst the best of the best. Imagine being recognized as the best in your class. Imagine being recognized as an authority in a particular field of study. Is that not something worthwhile that you can always hope for to tell your kids later in life, huh?
And it doesn’t even end there because by making a first class, you are also positioning yourself to become a sort of an inspiration to many people too who will most like want to copy your style so as to achieve or even surpass your academic achievements.
Ok, now imagine that proud look on your parents' face when they welcome you with open arms with that type of full and warm embrace because you have succeeded in making them proud.
Ok, enough of all that vanity!
But then, there are many other factors that should spur you into aiming to get a first class in the university especially in Nigeria.
There is no gainsaying that unemployment is the greatest danger that is facing the Nigerian youth nowadays. It is becoming a terrible nightmare, almost like a bad dream that has refused to go away. The government is overwhelmed and everyone is confused. If there’s one problem that has defied every known solution and has refused to go away in Nigeria, it is unemployment.
But all hope is not lost.
One surprising statement you are bound to always hear from the employers of labor is that there is the problem in Nigerian labor market is not that of availability of jobs; it is the availability of skilled labor. So true, if you look at it closely.
Luckily for the first class student, that is exactly where you shine. Getting a first class honors is financially rewarding, believe me! I have seen many first class students get immediate employment right from the graduation ceremony! I have seen many first class students receiving enough cash awards with which they can even start their own businesses immediately while others are still struggling to make way. It doesn’t matter if you read a relevant/irrelevant course in the university, immediately you show your certificate which identifies you as a first class student, everybody sits up at once.
This is because they know that it takes such a great self-discipline for one to make a first class. It is one hell of a grade that cannot be bought with bribes, it cannot be achieved by cheating in the examinations neither can it be achieved using any un/known underhand method. In Nigeria, first class is first class, simple. Like we say in Nigeria, it is not beans!
You are automatically considered an authority and even if your skill/s level is not that adequate, you still stand a better chance to be hired by these employers amongst the greater number of many other graduates who will have to wait in the line much longer because it is often assumed that you will be better and easily trained than the rest.
If not for anything else, that is one very good reason why you should strive to make a first class.
So how can one make it?
You have to make the important decision from the onset…
First and foremost, remember like I have earlier said, it is a question of choice. The person who is about to enter the university is the best person positioned to make this important decision. That is not to say that if you are no longer in your first year, you can’t make it but like in many things in life, it’s best to make this decision when you are about to start.
Unfortunately, many freshmen in the universities are not aware of this very important factor. Either they are not forewarned by their seniors who are supposed to be in the know or they just allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the situation of things in the university. For many of them, it is the first real opportunity they are having to ‘explore’ the wonderful new world that lies ahead of them and explore it they must!
Take my advice, Mr/s. Fresh(wo)man, as you play along, don’t forget why you are there in the university.
Granted, you might be carried away because they are so many fun things to do and many temptations that can distract you but you stand a better chance to resist such things and succeed if and only if you have already made the decision to get a first class right from the very beginning. That decision will surely serve as your silent guidance and reminder that will always bring you back in line assuming you ever ‘derail’.
You have to be prepared and ready…
One thing many students don’t know is that success; in this case, getting a first class is a function of preparedness and readiness. You have to be ready to face the tough battle ahead. I won’t lie to you, it is a hard battle but one that you can easily win if you are prepared.
Ask yourself, what else are you supposed to be doing in the school? You are not taking care of somebody else or even someone’s baby rather someone (which could be your parents) somewhere is looking after you, paying your school fees and feeding you in the process too. Now you tell me, what else is your ‘job’ and major preoccupation as well as your duty in the school if not ‘smashing’ through all your courses with flying colors and A-grades?
I know you may start arguing that we all are not A-students but have you even given it a trial? Have you ever taken the pains to challenge yourself? Most likely, you haven’t. You just decided to settle for less and that is too bad.
How do you know you are ready and prepared?
Good question. Ask yourself; if there is an examination on any of the papers you are supposed to take comes up today, what will your result look like?
My advice is for you to be prepared today as if the exam is coming up the next day.
Even as I am writing this, one part of me is already fighting me by telling me that you know it is not possible but I know that voice and what it can do. It is the voice of laziness and comfort zone seeking spirit within which can easily bring down the whole house once I start to listen to it.
How can I prepare very well? Don’t you think it is going to require so much work and denial on my part?
Fine. Now listen to the hard truth please. I won’t lie to you. It is going to be exactly like that. It is going to require so much work and denial on your part together with some discipline too…
But there is an easy way out for you. It’s not like you don’t know you are going to be writing that paper. Once the semester starts, the battle starts. But there’s one thing you must be ready to do. You should never allow your school work to compile. Make sure you assimilate the study materials on the daily basis. Make a habit of learning the materials immediately they are presented.
The human brain is such a wonderful tool. It can accommodate such a stunning wide range and variety of information but it can never be forced to do that under such a short notice. You have to give it time to relax to accommodate the new sets of information coming in. That is why many students suffer mental blocks just before or immediately after the exam because they have failed to prepare well and they have bombarded and over labored the brain with such a great load of information at once causing it to react in such an irresponsive manner. And in the end, are you surprised these students, they fail woefully?!
But if you prepare well by reading everyday, you will find out that when the exams are approaching, you will have enough time to do enough revision (and even teach others) while others who are not so ‘lucky’ will still be trying to go over the study materials for the first time without much luck.
What a leverage you have already!
You have to see everything as fun…
All work and no play make you a foolish (not forgetting useless) geek. You don’t have good socializing skills. You don’t know anything else except your books. One thing I know, you and I, we are not going to be friends for sure.
You have to find a remarkable way of making everything fun. The sweetest way to make your school work enjoyable is if you see it as fun rather than a drudgery that must be endured because with that mindset, you will suddenly discover that your only preoccupation will be do whatever you are doing and get the hell out with the little bits of disinformation you must have acquired in a haste.
So how can you make learning fun?
Well, it depends on you and what you call fun. In my own view, you should be ready to dedicate some part of your time strictly to academics. You should then work out a plan towards creating time for other extra-curricular activities. You should be ready to create time for physical exercises which can make you stronger and more alert by increasing your concentration. Try to see if you can actually make fun out of those boring plus hard differential equations you might come across.
You should be ready to join groups (not cults) and discussion classes that can enlighten you and make you seek for more knowledge, widen your horizon and world view. You should be ready to meet people who can improve your life in and after school. There are some students who know and understand things easier more than the rest. There are also some lecturers who really want to help you. Seek them out and get them to help you. That is why they are there! If there’s any perplexing thing you want to be clarified for you, don’t hesitate to meet them. Don’t be shy or afraid in doing this because you will be doing yourself a lot of disservice, presently and in the long run, if you don’t do that.
Bottom line: You should be ready to recognize that time is a very important resource that should never be wasted.
If you do everything right, before you know it, you have already mastered the act of making good use of your time and surprisingly, that is one sure way of creating time for leisure or fun because you can now plan ahead of time.
You may even become so ‘free’ to have the time to learn other things, like learning a new language, and acquire more knowledge and necessary skills, like ICT skills, in fields that are not directly related to your field of study. All these will even go a long way in making you become a complete student much more than you had earlier bargained for.
In everything you do, remember the goal is to make first class.
You should be ready to work on your memory…
Oh yes, since almost every business you have in the school will finally come down to writing some examinations one day, you have no choice but to seriously do something about your poor memory.
Memory is such a funny and tricky aspect to handle. Some people think there is a limit to what they can memorize but that’s a very big lie. Your memory is capable of expanding just like your muscles with constant practice but unlike the muscles, there is no limit to the level of elasticity which your memory can be subjected to. The problem is just where your interest lies.
You may not believe it but there are people who are capable of memorizing their whole textbooks together with the page numbers. Remember I said memorize not cram!
Remember when we said something about overloading the brain; it is actually the cramming process that we are referring to. But when you allow the information getting in to build up on each other on a gradual basis, you are talking about memorizing.
Everybody has the ability to grab a good memory for themselves and once you do that by training your memory, you will surely find out that there are even many necessary and ‘unnecessary’ things that will consciously or unconsciously start becoming part of you.
With a good memory, you will magically start seeing the pages of your whole textbook or handout as if you just entered the exam hall with it. Once any question comes, you will easily remember the area where that very question is coming from and as such give the type of ruthless tackles it deserves at once!
Besides making a good grade as a result of possessing a very good memory, there are many other areas where properly trained memory will aid you in your life but that will be another subject for another hub some other time but you can start using any these wonderful Memory Training books by Harry Lorayne today to train your memory muscles to perfection.
And the last but not the least…
You have to learn how to prioritize…
Oh yes, that is why all courses are not allocated equal work loads/credits. Those unit loads should serve as guidance to you to tell you how much dedication or time you are willing to devote to those courses.
But then don’t be carried away because a one-unit load course can still give you that deplorable ‘carry over’ or even ‘extra year’ no serious student wants.
But if you get everything right, you should be able to know that certain courses demand some more attention than the others and you should work towards giving them the type of attention as well as seriousness they deserve!
There you have it! Remember the goal is to make a first class.
One last thing, I know it’s possible that you may even start to regret and even think that it is too late for you to make it. Depending on where you stand and where are right now as regards to your Grade Point Average, it could be true and it could be a lie but one thing I must tell you is that it is never too late to start making amends. If you started poorly, is that enough reason why you shouldn’t finish very well?
So my advice is that you should start making amends today because you never know you might still get a shot to nick it just in time. But if in the end you didn’t make a first class, don’t worry because you will still be near the mark and better still, you now know what you should do to push you into the rank of the bests assuming you get a second chance.