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20 Things You Must Do to graduate with First Class

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20 things you should do if you want to graduate with a first class or 2:1
1: Trust no one:
You may ask: including my friends? Yes I will say. Now I don’t mean that you should not cooperate with your friends in your academics, but you need to set a limit. “The heart of man is desperately wicked”. To avoid “over trusting”, ensure you read all you can when preparing for an exam or test. Don’t foolishly hold on to any friends opinion about how and what you should read and what you should not read, and etc.
2. Never try to be the first to finish an exam and leave the hall:
Remember you are in completion with no one in life. No two people’s journey are exactly the same- just like finger prints. After graduation no one will really care about what result you take home. Everybody faces his future. Settle down and write your papers well. Nobody ever remembers who first left the hall. They only remember who had the best grade.
3. Understand who you are:
Do not be a copycat. You have a test tomorrow, but you saw Yinka (the best in your level) playing football around 5pm. You are not prepared for the test, but you decided that well “since Yinka could be playing ball, and we are in the same department, it’s not a bad idea if I join him- I will read overnight”. You and Yinka are two different people; you might be a “day person” and he a “night person”, i.e. he assimilates better at night. He might be a fast reader and you might need a longer time. He might have read before playing, and just needs to play to allow what he has read “sink in” properly. Therefore, know what works best for you.
4. Attend most or all lectures:
I can count the number of lectures I missed throughout when I was in school. I think most ones I missed were as a result of sickness. This is common to all first class students. If you attend all lectures you will never miss impromptu tests and vital information from your lecturers, including “direct” and “indirect” AOC’s.
5. Try to sit in the first five rows of the lecture hall:
Do you know that no matter how many students are in a lecture hall; your lecturers actually take note of those who sit in front. You never know how far this can help you in future. That lecturer might end up being your project supervisor and he will treat you specially because he sees you as a serious student. Also you get to hear clearly whatever is being said by the lecturer and take down good notes. You might fall sick someday and miss his test. when you go to him for a makeup test, he will immediately recognise you and grant your request. He might not do this for others.
6. Set high goals every semester:
Having mediocre thoughts is the beginning of failure. When I was in school, I always set 5.00 as my goal every semester. I started with 4.89 in my 100 level first semester, and I still ended up with first class though I never got 5.00 in any semester. But, I have learnt that it is better you shoot to the sky and if you miss, at least you will fall on a star, than to aim at the roof.
7. Keep friends with like minds:
Have you ever seen an eagle playing with chickens? Eagles fly as high as 10, 000 feet. No chicken can dare dream of that height. Thus eagles can’t be friends with chickens. You can’t be a friend to someone who is not serious with his academics, unless off course to help them come up the academic ladder. A popular quote says “Birds of a feather flock together”.
8. Have a good mentor:
A lot of people have made unnecessary mistakes and fallen into errors due to poor information at their disposal. But, imagine if you had someone who has treaded that path before you, he will be able to tell you exactly what to do, and what not to do, where to pass and where not to pass and save you losses. I am a typical example. On entering university, I had this belief that only the “Albert Einstein’s” could get first class. But thank God for a mentor who changed my orientation and gave me a good foundation.
9. Have a protégé:
Do you know that having people who you teach and mentor could also boost your own performance? You know so well that you must not fail this people, as they are looking up to you for guidance, and therefore you will do all it takes to ensure you are at your best always.
10. Do all your tests and assignments:
Every assignment is very important to you getting 5.00. This is the reason why some people graduate with 4.48 or 4.49, instead of 4.50 and above. They played with one or two assignments or tests. They always said “how many marks is it sef, it can’t affect my CGPA”, but now it has. If you miss a test or assignment due to sickness or anything, ensure you see your lecturer’s to clarify it. Also, always ensure you always do your assignments yourself.
11. Do not misbehave to your lecturers:
Your lecturers can get back at you. Whether as class or as an individual, do not offend your lecturers. If peradventure you do, run after them immediately after the class to apologise- whether you are right or wrong, just apologise, because “power” is in their hands. Your class rep should be a responsible fellow who both lecturers and students love and who will take on the responsibilities of apologising on behalf of the class.
12. Project:
Most projects in universities are either five or six units; though some universities might split theirs into 3 units for each semester. I don’t need to tell you a story to make you understand how very important that is to your CGPA. Even having a B can bring you down from first class. Take your final year project seriously. Begin working on it from the first day of your resumption for final year. I outlined in detailed how to go about this In my bestseller book: How To Graduate First Class.
13. Every course is important:
Some students think that a one unit course can’t affect their CGPA. I will advise you that it is not over, until it is over. Keep doing your best till after your final exams. There is no rest till you get your certificate stating “First Class Honours”.
14. Get the right textbooks:
Do not be a miser. Try as much as possible to have all the important textbooks relevant to your course of study. If you are studying accounting and you don’t have Financial Accounting Made Simple (FAMS) or you don’t know Adeniyi Adeniji (cost accounting, management accounting, performance management, etc.) or Seyi Ojo (Taxation), or you are studying economics and you haven’t heard about M.L. Jhinghan, I doubt if you are in for first class in school. Also buy any recommended books and hand-outs sold by your lecturers- they may not make it compulsory, as many schools frown against that, but sometimes they use the list of buyers to award marks. Don’t cheat yourself.
15. Have a healthy body:
Do not read till you get sick. No, that is a bad idea. When I was in school, I always told my friends who I felt were reading “too much”, that what if you now fall ill and you are not able to go and write this test you are preparing for. There should be a balance, and that is why you must have a good personal timetable. “Health is wealth”, as they will always say. Without a healthy body, you can’t read. Ensure you do exercises regularly and eat fruits. Also do not overfeed yourself at any time. When you are too full, you won’t be able to read or concentrate properly.
16. Past Questions:
I will always recommend an aggressive use of past questions. The truth is sometimes, lecturers are so busy to even set test or exam questions. They could decide to lift past questions in whole, or in part, and God help you that you had studied or practiced such questions before the test or exam. You would just be smiling as you write without thinking too much or “counting the ceiling”. My school library always had past questions on its database and was free to be accessed by any student. I was a regular visitor there.
17. Library
It always surprises me when I see or hear stories of students who passed through an institution, without having an account with the library, or those who have an account, but such account is dormant. This is a typical example of what Nigerians will say: “you passed through the university, but the university did not pass through you”. First class students are hardly in this category. They are usually active users of the library, such that most of the library staff will even become familiar with them because they are regular users. The library contains a lot of resources, which will benefit your course if you take advantage of it.
18. Start well giving your 100%
Many students think that after leaving secondary school, they now own their life, and maybe the entire world. They begin to live as if nobody cares about what their life turns into. They say in their hearts: “well, let me enjoy my freedom this first year, and then by 200 level I will take my academics more seriously. They have forgotten that the C in “CGPA” means Cumulative, i.e. whatever you get now, will affect what you will finally graduate with. So after first semester 100 level, they got 0.15 CGPA, and the school didn’t waste time to put them on probation. At this point they will begin to consider leaving the school to start afresh somewhere else, or changing their departments to a “lesser” one. That is already the beginning of failure. Well, they can still finish with good grades if they repent and start afresh in a new department or in a new school. My first 100 level GPA of 4.89 was the pillar that held my CGPA till I graduated. Remember I had said earlier in this report that when I was in school, I always set 5.00 as my goal every semester. I started with 4.89 in my 100 level first semester, and I still ended up with first class though I never got 5.00 in any semester.
19. Manage your Finances properly:
There is one thing I know, that can make even the best student in a faculty fail. This one thing is the lack of money, or the excess of it. Both situations require proper management to handle the situation. One must not grow proud when he has money in excess. Also when one is in lack, you must learn to keep your hopes high and keep praying to have sufficient. I devoted a whole chapter to Financial Intelligence in my book: How To Graduate First Class. There, I covered financial intelligence for you for both when you are in school and when you graduate, so you don’t miss out on any aspect.
20. Trust GOD
You MUST trust God in all you do. Without God there is no you, but without you there is God. God is always there waiting for you to ask Him. Bible says “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it”. Don’t hesitate to ask for Gods favour whenever you go for a test or exam, no matter how bad it went, or how bad you feel you performed. You must not say bad things about what you just wrote because Bible also says that “A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth”. So just tell God what you want and leave the rest to him. Moreover remember that you can’t change a thing about the paper you just wrote. Only the divine can do that. So just trust Him. He knows all, and is All in All.

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