To some, becoming a student with remarkable and excellent academic achievements takes an intervention from the supernatural or rather, only possible within the cycle of a particular family whose members over the years have shown overwhelming giftedness and adroitness. However, to be a prestigious student requires no special skills. The simple truth is that as students we have latent abilities that we have not shown either because we have not discovered them or because we are girded by toxic-people who believe we cannot do better or be more than what we are presently.
You don’t have to go a shaman, mullah or a bishop to become an illustrious student. But then, this is Africa and one cannot disregard the importance attached to spirituality. Having strong will-power and self-determination is required of a student who wishes to be prestigious and subsequently, excellent in his or her respective career. Other tips are:
STUDY WELL: It may sound rather cliché to say this. But to be a prestigious student, you have to study vigorously and rigorously—not the conventional la cram la pour. As a student, you must demonstrate remarkable traits in studying because it clears the path for you to be prestigious. Or didn’t Francis bacon say, “Reading maketh a full man?” While studying, do not be confined to the theories of your textbooks, course materials, handouts or what have you. You should be able to doubt theories; make propositions, findings, and arrive at your conclusions. Do not be assertive of the phrase “my lecturer says so.” If all students hold to their hearts this phrase, how do you think there would be great innovations and inventions the world has seen?
The great philosopher, Socrates, was a Realist but his student, Plato, was an Idealist. Plato was not necessarily caged by the philosophical proposition of Realism even when he was greatly influenced by Socrates. This pontificates that as much as you learn under you lecturers, do not be confined by their reasoning. Develop and collate your thoughts. Explore! This can only be achieved when you are drowned in the ocean of studying. With that, you’d be able to question why certain phenomena, theories, existence etc., are so, rather than accepting whatever you are told is so.
And as Jim Rohn says, “Reading is essential for those who seek the ordinary.” Even when everyone reads everyday—whether newspapers, inscription on clothes, placards etc.—“extensive reading” is of paramount importance to a prestigious student. So, read voraciously and write extensively.
BROADEN YOUR HORIZON: No doubt, studying broadens a student’s horizon, but then one should also make efforts to explore other fields, even if they are not related to one’s discipline. It would be of high prestige if as an Arts students, you know little (or more) in fields of sciences, social sciences and the like. It’d sure speak a great deal about you. The world will be more interested in an individual who speaks on different disciplines, and interpret them to a particular discipline.
For example, Literature and Medicine are two unrelated disciplines and many would have thought there would never be a point of convergence between these two fields. Professor Babatunde Omobowale is the first Nigerian professor of Literature and Medicine; a field where he used Literature to demystify the world of medicine and made the two seemingly contrasting fields, compatible. As a student of the University of Ibadan, the endeavor has begun. There are general courses where Arts students take Science courses and vice-versa which I believe is in existence in other varsities across the federation.
No amount of knowledge is inimical. The ability to speak on different fields would speak a great deal about you and who knows you can try out something new. Even, there are some fields that require you to have little understanding in some other subjects. “Transformational Generative Grammar” for example, has been nicknamed “Mathematical English” by University of Ibadan students of English because of its undertone in Science-related subjects.
ACQUIRE A SKILL: Much as you would like to be a prestigious student in academics, do not dwell on academics alone just as it is dangerous for a man to live by bread alone. Acquire a skill. The way the world is rapidly developing, especially as employers are looking for what a graduate can offer asides from his paper qualifications. Do not spend your years in the university reading for a Bachelor’s Degree only. There have been bunch of advices from graduates who were not employed because their employers needed them to offer practical skills other than what they have been awarded in the university.
An example of such skill is the computer skill. Be computer literate. It quite painful that there are still some students who are not digitally attuned in this modern age. As a first class graduate, do not be disappointed if you are rejected because you lack practical skills.
Also, volunteer in organisations. It would go a long way in building your experience, curriculum vitae and in the long run, boosting your chances of getting employed with fat salaries. Some students would whinge that they cannot combine academics with extra-curricular activities, but they spend less time studying and most time on irrelevant activities. Haba! As a student you have to be dynamic, and thus you should be able to multi-task, since multi-tasking is the best way to showcase one’s dynamism. Acquiring relevant skills is one-step to become a prestigious student.
THINK BIG: Do you know what the magic of big thinking does to you as a student? It enables you to see yourself from your point of weakness and helps you to build on your weakness so it won’t be your Achilles’ heel. Think incredibly big but feasible. I give an illustration here:
I was fortunate to attend the Hult prize UI campus challenge, and a particular team said they would earn a hundred billion dollars within five years or thereabout with their ideas, but would need a billion machines to fast-track their innovations. Not only did the audience burst into laughter, the judges were also caught within the spasm of their seemingly unrealistic dreams. It’s extraordinary to dream big, but make efforts to make the dreams realizable—not the ones you would later discard because you couldn’t achieve or translate them into reality.
There are many problems the world faces currently that have not been solved. You could coral your dreams towards addressing societal problems. Do not be disturbed by the saying that one is too young to dream big. It is until when one has many obstacles to overcome before one would clearly think on what to do? Absolutely not! To be a prestigious student therefore, dream your big dreams right on your bed or in the classroom when the ideas inchoate in your head, and wake up to see them fulfilled. Or do you want to be reminded at what age Mark invented Facebook?
TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE SELF-RELIANT: To be self-reliant does not necessarily mean you should be a hermit. Self-reliance means you should devise means to fend yourself presently or in the nearest future. As funny as it may sound, Nigerian students need not be told not to rely on the government for certain necessities while still in the university. If they do, they have already foreseen their doom.
As a student, you should think to be your own CEO and quoting William H. Johnson who says, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” You can only make yourself, nobody can make you. They can only channel you towards the path of self-sustenance. Self-reliance is a virtue, especially in this country where the government are sluggish in responding to the travails of the hoi-polloi.
NEVER RUN FROM CHALLENGES: There is no perfect life anywhere. To be a hero, you must defeat your antagonists. As a student, you should not run from challenges. Challenges build humans, it helps to discover oneself, the better. Try to overcome challenges, and when you do, your method of reasoning/thinking will change. You will see yourself in new ways, and you will be driven by the need to achieve, fulfil and become. But if you run from challenges, you are only building a world of inferiority complex for yourself.
Accept challenges whether in academics or in any circumstances you find yourself. The fact that you are able to overcome your challenges creates a sort of self-awareness for yourself. If you can come this far, who says you cannot not wax higher and stronger?
And lastly, ENGAGE IN INTELLECTUAL DISCUSSIONS. It builds your cognitive skills and the way you respond to persisting issues. To build a world of intellectualism on your path to become a prestigious student, you should have friends with the same like-mind as you do. Raising a problem, and solving it with logic goes a long way in building your confidence.
I draw the curtain here. Whatever has been explained above is from the writer’s perspective only, though other sources may attribute to these claims. But one thing for sure is that the readers may not agree totally to these propositions since as humans we see the same subject in different lights; thus, the writer is not forcing his claims on them. If you are feeling particularly generous, disagree to agree with the writer. Isn’t that intellectualism? Sure, it is. And it is one of the roads that leads a student to be PRESTIGIOUS.