It is a well-known fact that attaining academic excellence is not an easy task. However, after attaining it, some students still find it difficult to maintain it. Here, Wilfred Emmanuel, one of the best graduating students from the Department of Accounting in the University of Uyo, speaks of the challenges he faced, maintaining an excellent result till he graduated. Excerpts:

May we meet you?

My name is Emmanuel, Wilfred Kufre. I'm a Social  Media Marketer/Manager, Publicity Strategist, Online Reputation Manager, and a Growth Hacker for small businesses. I recently graduated from the department of Accounting, University of Uyo -not too recently though, I finished in July 2017, precisely.
I love surfing the net, reading -I read a lot- and pressing my phone (that is where I make my money from). I am not a fan of proud and dishonest people.

That is a stunning profile! I did not, however, fail to catch the phrase "I read a lot". Can you say that love for reading is one of the driving forces of academic excellence?

Thank you.

Yes, I love reading. And I will submit any day that an excellent student is one who reads.

For you to ace your courses, you just need to read. There are no two ways about this; I can remember when I was an undergraduate, I spent my evenings reading; I read everyday, even if it was for an hour or two. Consequently, reading was one of the driving forces of my academic excellence.

But, is it just about reading? You know, the process of reading is not always exciting to everyone. Does that mean that those wtho do not really love reading are bound to encounter academic failure?

Let me highlight a sentence from your question: "The process of reading is not always exciting to everyone".

Honestly, for an excellent student, reading is a daily habit. And it is very exciting to them. Very. If you came to the four walls of the University with a goal in sight, you won't have an option, but just to cultivate the reading habit.

You know why I call reading a habit? It is because it can be groomed; you can grow yourself to love reading.
Now to the question: my answer is an emphatic Yes, with a 'but' accompanying it, though.

The 'but' is, any student who cannot settle down to read or does not love reading will definitely encounter academic failure, and for them not to fail, they opt for other crooked methods to pass their courses, ranging from sorting of lecturers to cheating to impersonation, etc.

So my candid advice to any student is, "My friend, just sit and read. Graduate with good grades because the labour market no be play...Your grades might not distinct you, but the fact that you spent your time to read and study judiciously, will".

Okay. There is still a pending question, however: Is it just all about reading?

You want to hear God?

Okay, God!

- Believe in God and commit your endeavours to his hands.
- Attend classes and listen with utmost concentration.
- Take and make lecture notes.
- Don't be a truant: attend lectures
- And then again, Read! Read!! Read!!!

You were on the Honours' Roll of the University of Uyo in your third year in the University. How were you able to cope with the University system up till then?

Well, I really do not like answering this question because it just reminds me of how much of a failure I left school. But then again, for the sake of the readers of this platform, I will.

It all started with a MINDSET. While coming to school, I wanted to graduate with a First class; that was the goal. So, having such mindset, all I did was to find the fuel to help drive me closer to my goal and the fuel needed were those factors I highlighted earlier.

So, what can you really say doused the flame?

Honestly, I got tired of school. I wouldn't want to tell a lie. I did. But the flames were never doused. The inputs were still there, but the outputs (grades) were not coming forth like they used to. 

Also, in my third year, I became more career -and money -conscious, I looked into the structures and systems of education in Nigeria and I concluded that it would be better if I concentrated on  adding  more skills to my inventory, and that was what I did. While I did that anyway, I just really did not see the need for the first class again.

I think a lot of students can relate to your story, especially the ones who came in with the blazing desire to finish with a first class and their current results do not reflect their initial desire. However, despite your venture into politics in the later part of your second year, you still managed to graduate with a stunning result! Does politics affect academic performance?

It does not, at all. It never did. My grades even started dropping when I left politics. As a matter of fact, one of the past SUG Presidents, Engr. Kufre Samuel graduated with a First Class from the Department of Petroleum Engineering.

Politics never does.

That is incredible!
In the same vein, would you say that being a successful student entails more than just reading and passing exams?

For a successful student, yes. For a graduate, a 'BIG, FAT' No!

Could you give us a brief summary of the idea behind the negation?

As a graduate, you need more than reading and passing of exams. It is pertinent that one acquires core skills and professional career skills.

For example, a graduate of Accounting should have knowledge of Accounting software packages like SAGE50; a graduate of Architecture should have knowledge of architectural software like AutoCAD, etc.

In 2015, World Economic Forum identified  top 10 skills that graduates should grasp and they included complex problem solving, negotiation, people management, creativity, amongst others.

Also, recently, a report including 10 top skills 2020 graduates should acquire was released, and it included creativity, emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility, service orientation, amongst others. So you see, It speaks for itself!

That was really insightful.Thank you for sharing with us. It is really an honour to have you.

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