“Our greatest glory is not in falling but in rising up every time we fall” -Ralph Waldo Emerson (Oprah Winfrey)

Many a Nigerian recites the above verse of the national anthem at every opportunity that presents itself either as rehearsal or for a formal occasion. It just bores down to paying respect for the motherland. This verse speaks volume especially to those who care to reminisce on the lyrics. Who are the heroes and what was their labour?

Travelling into the prints of history, the heroes can be regarded as those that fought for the freedom you and I enjoy till today; independence. They are those, who through thick and thin, endured the hard-ship paddled by the whites who shipped their ideologies as far as the seas to reshape the era of our kingship. These heroes saw beyond the thorns, grabbed its roses and arouse our civilization; education. But this result of freedom did not come at once. It took years of planning, planting and building the seeds whose germination the masters abhorred. Truly, that was hell of a labour.

To our newly admitted brethrens, the first and the best Ivory tower is one of the legacies of the heroes. And for it not to be in vain, it starts from the work of your hands right from the day you step into this institution. Therefore, settle down with your new girlfriend/boyfriend; your books. Romance them in your second room; the library. Attend classes regularly, take notes and read extensively, for this is not that school where a mark as large as 0.1 is spared for you to beat the excellent mark. The University is a different ball game.

In the spirit of motivation, let us recall the incidence that led to a medical school dropout bagging a first class degree in the University of Lagos as reported by the Punching.com. The recipient of this award of excellence, Monsur Ismaila, had revealed his pains and gains which led to his current feat. It took him an investment of 10 years in medical school, an equivalent of two University degrees for the course he later studied. It took him boldness and resilience to go for a course of his heart desire. So, to every freshman who has satisfied the requirements of the University’s admission, your overall result will depend on your overall investment. Now you have a clean slate of 7.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). Failure to maintain a clean sheet may Cause Great Problems Academically (CGPA).

Ergo, pile of books does it, but not all the time. There are numerous extra and co-curricular activities that are also of great benefit. Student clubs and associations such as Sigma, Junior Chamber International (JCI), Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ), All-Nigeria United Nations Students’ and Youth Association (ANUNSA) to mention but a few are avenues for practical experience. Inaugural lectures, workshops and symposium are not left out. They broaden the intellectual horizon and take one through other educational fields that are related and unrelated to one’s course of study. Beware! A lot of pitfalls stand in the way of achieving the former (CGPA), which gives way to the latter CGPA.

The University campus gives so much freedom that it takes a matured mind to allocate his/her time rationally. There are a lot of side activities and frivolous festivities waiting to distract even Jesus Christ. These distractions are enough to be studied as a course on its own, so be self disciplined or risk to be “tsunamied”.

Even as we run the race of our life journey, we stumble upon obstacles that sometimes cause our fall.

To the returning students, last session may have caused you to stumble or fall. And it might have been another stepping stone to rising against all odds. Well, this session presents another chance to prove your worth and exhibit the hero that you are. If you had fallen once or multiple times, the sun is still shinning and it is just enough to dry your clothes. Rise up from that CGPA knock out, shake off the dust of failure, take a chilled water of rejuvenation and prove to the who’s who that you are worth more than what your transcript contains.

For those who fall into the CGPA rising category, it is time to neither relax nor take a break. To whom 6.0 is given, much more than the even figure is expected. So, buckle down, keep your head straight and do not lose focus. Because for every Usain Bolt leading, there are countless others who are waiting to catch up. So, for our heroes past not to be in vain, our future leaders should not take education with levity or disdain.

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