There is a big difference between hoping to graduate from the University with a First Class and actually doing so. It is not everybody that starts the University with a First Class that actually ends up graduating with one; this is because it is not easy to keep up with the pressures and challenges of maintaining a First Class. Today, one of the current First Class Students of the Department of Accounting, University of Uyo speaks about the challenges he faced, maintaining a First Class from Year One to Final Year. Excerpts:

Please, may we meet you?

Yes. You are welcome. I am Emmanuel Billy popularly known as Immanuel Kant, an undergraduate student of the department of accounting of this great University and I am currently in my finals.

You are popularly known as Immanuel Kant, but Kant was one of the founding fathers of philosophy and you're studying accounting. What is the relationship?

I adopted the name before I gained admission into this university but only a few would believe this. I love reading and talking philosophy and most importantly, I subscribe to the ideas and philosophies of Immanuel Kant because of his ethical works such as his popular theory of categorical imperative.

Kant is one of the founding fathers of philosophy but I'm studying accounting because it has been my early childhood dream to work in a bank –a mentality I had till I got to know some things about life. If I were to come back for an undergraduate study, I could move into the line of philosophy. This is because, philosophy teaches me everything about life and makes me think critically and make rational arguments about phenomenon.

So you already had an interest in Philosophy before you gained admission to study Accounting; why did you pick Accounting, then?

Like I earlier said, it was a mere childhood mentality that grew up with me and it is affecting me now in Accounting major courses. I'm not “exceedingly tight” though I’m doing my best

Would you rather say you prefer Philosophy to Accounting?

I like philosophy but I prefer accounting because of its lucrative nature. In Nigeria, Accounting is a very professional field of study that has much relevance and prestige and can fetch me a lot of lucre but we can't say the same for philosophy. I could either build others or build myself with philosophy and nothing more

You made a statement earlier about not being "exceedingly tight" in Accounting major courses. How is that, considering the fact that you are currently one of the best students in your class?

I said I'm not "exceedingly tight" In Accounting major courses. And that's because I had a very weak foundation in Accounting in my secondary school days due to some constraints. However, I've been doing my best and it's been paying off but not to a very professional level.

But you're in final year and you're currently a first class student. Is that right?

By God's grace I am.

How then, do you hope to make up for your lapses?

Well, with God all things are possible. I'm a very ordinary student, though I’m diligent. I'm so fortunate that I'm only offering just two Accounting major courses this year which accounts for only 15% of my results. Be it as it may, I would still follow up as I've always been doing and thrive as others would do. In addition to my resolve to be acquainted with these courses, I’d also employ the free online aids of my senior colleagues to explain some befuddling concepts and principles relating to these courses.

How do you cope being a first class student?

To be honest with you, it is not easy at all to be at the top. The exacting requests from my parents to maintain it, the inherent pressures of being there, the hates from friends, the gossips and backbiting, and above all, the love and reverence from friends and families are not easy to deal with. They could make me fall if I heed to either side of the encomiums or hates, but I've been trying to neglect them and stay focus until I achieve it. Hopefully, I would.

Apart from the obvious things of reading and attending lectures regularly, what else can you say contributed to your current academic success?

Firstly, it is God. So many of my friends think I'm not a church person. They could be correct in that I don't go to church often as most of them do but I can say I pray a lot. And that is what I feel is the most important ingredient of my success. Secondly, I could say it's the satisfaction of my physiological needs such as food, comfort, etc., and making relationships especially with the opposite sex. These relationships give me a stable and relaxed state of mind of being relevant and as well, help sharpen my reasoning process: Having a relaxed state of mind is the best emotion that leads to success in life. Like I said earlier, making relationships with the opposite sex enhance a stable emotion and as such, I could easily do anything to help myself with that. Also, there is something I call “street wisdom” which also makes me aware of my purpose in school and awakens me whenever I am going astray in terms of academics or issues relating to Christianity relevance.

Lastly, I would mention the normal reading and attending lectures like you've said.

So you do not belong to any social group that helps students study and all that?

I don't belong to any group that relates to academics coaching. All the ones I tried initiating or joining ended up crumbling at the nascent stage due to negligent people there. So, I'm currently on my own.

How about peer pressure; does it affect you in any way?

Well, I could say it does, to some extent. However, to a larger extent, it does not because I understand myself and know what is best for me. Hence, I cannot allow myself to be under unnecessary tension and pressures of other students who do their things according to how it suits them. It was in my first year that I allowed those things others did to bother me, but I have patterned myself towards focusing on what I do and I do it well.

Also, it is believed that being social is not compatible with being a successful student, but the same is not the case with you. How do you combine being social with being a very serious student?

Firstly, what do you mean by being social? If being social means talking to everyone that crosses your path, then such things would not affect my academics. If it also means always attending social events, then the inherent nature of the “street wisdom” in me would make me overcome the temptation of being too involved in these things.

You were on the University Honours’ Roll in your first year in school. What advice would you give the current freshers so that they can tow the same line?

I was on the University Honours’ Roll in my first year and I am currently there and hopefully I would finish this school with my name on it. When I started this school, I was operating on a triangular basis, i.e., Lecture room, Hostel and Nightclass. I was very committed to making the formula results in fruition; I only made few relationships and this formula paid off. Hence, I advise all freshers to adopt this formula though it may be difficult for a student to limit his movement to these three locations and shun every other thing. But it is a good strategy that should work with resolve. Above all, they should put God first before applying this formula.