First Class, 2.1, 3rd Class or Pass: The Choice is Yours ~ Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog: First Class, 2.1, 3rd Class or Pass: The Choice is Yours

Monday, October 20, 2014

First Class, 2.1, 3rd Class or Pass: The Choice is Yours

How to succeed academically (inspirational writeup)
Yes, I have thought of this for a long time now. I think it’s time to interact with my friends in tertiary institutions: universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education, ‘battling’ to get their 1st degree. Life, somebody once said, is warfare. In a war situation, a military contingent has to marshal out the relevant weapons within its armoury to win a battle. Life as a student is similar to the picture being painted here. You need to know what the situation demands and apply the necessary tools in achieving your goals. Continue...

When I gained admission to study Mass Communication at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, I looked forward to the day when I would graduate with flying colours. At the beginning, everything started smoothly: I attended lectures, formulated notes, wrote series of quizzes and ultimately my first semester exams.
The razzmatazz of gaining admission was still fresh, until I was given a reality check when I saw my first two examination results. I got an E and a D in courses I thought I wrote so well. It dawned on me straight away that I was up for a challenge because those letters are the surest path to a 3rd class, pass or even a ‘Thank you for coming' note.

The nature of the challenge was new to me so I had to devise means of overcoming it. The shocking results made me to buckle up. I had to change my study habits and associate more with friends who had something upstairs. The rest, they say, is history. By the grace of God, I managed to finish with a 2.1 in spite of the early setbacks.

There is no gainsaying the fact that life as a student is one of the most memorable moments we all cherish; if you don’t cherish yours, I do mine :) Finding  oneself in a new environment where you are the lord of your household, free from parental controls, can sometimes be quite exhilarating.

Freedom without responsibility can be worse than living in bondage and many had to the lesson the hard way. When I realized that the mode of study I adopted in the first semester wouldn't lead me to anywhere meaningful, I had to make amends.
It’s easy to make a 1st class or 2.1 I must confess and it begins right from the first day you stepped into the lecture hall. To attain success in your academics please take note of the following:

Begin with a plan: “If you fail to plan, you have planned to fail” is a saying that holds water. It’s no longer strange to see people in our society embark on projects without proper planning. Education is a serious project. A student that must succeed must sit down and ask him/herself questions.  You need to devise workable means of turning the four years or thereabout at your disposal as a student into something your family will be proud of. A good time management is needed here to turn your period at school into an invaluable treasure. Each course you signed up for should have an allotted time for a thorough personal or group study. The courses that give you the toughest time should be given extra time and don’t be ashamed to attend tutorials organised by fellow students to bridge your knowledge gap.

Do your ‘homework’. Hardwork doesn’t kill, it is laziness that does. Work hard now and explain later. Did I say explain later? You won’t need to because your results will do the explanation that will silence your critics. Know the period of the day that suits your system and get down digging deep with your books. Mine usually was late at night or early in the morning.

Associate with the right fellows. In life, our associations define a lot of things about us. The kind of company you keep determines whether you will succeed or fail in life. This same rule also applies in your academic pursuit. Many a brilliant student began well, but ended up woefully; derailed by a wrong company. Two things happen with the company we keep, they are either bringing us up or pulling us down. Your friends should call out the best virtues within you instead of unleashing the beast that no one wants to see.  Inspiration is infectious; you can’t interact with an inspired mind without the aura rubbing off on you.

Look for past questions. Apart from reading and preparing very well for your papers, you may also need to know the mindset of the lecturer who sets the questions. And this you can do by taking a cursory look at past question papers. This affords you the opportunity to tackle the questions in a group, where you can also invite your senior colleagues to share their experience. Understanding what the person that sets your exams wants and giving it to him is one of the surest means of passing your papers.

Avoid distractions. No. 1 business for being in school is to acquire knowledge, any other thing is secondary. One of my mentors said that ‘playboys’ don’t amount to much in life. There are a lot of playboys around with misplaced priorities, who are willing and ready to take you on a journey to nowhere. You need loads of focus to stay glued to your major goal. It’s not going to be an easy ride; but if others succeeded, you too can.

Pray…Pray if you must excel, pray, pray and pray. There are a lot of obstacles on the way that only a consistent prayer life can take out. Apostle Paul once said that many doors of opportunities opened up for him but many adversaries contended for them. Challenges are bound to be there. Sometimes you might study very well and revise all you can, yet on the exam day everything goes blank. You need a Power higher than you to tackle such. Draw on the grace of God through prayer and you will see both visible and invisible obstacles being cleared off your road to academic success.

Time will not permit me to go on; for further questions and advice on tackling your academic challenges, you can reach me on or look for books that dwell on success in your studies... See you at the top! 

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