University of Ibadan Central Mosque (Side-view B)University of Ibadan Central Mosque (Minaret)University of Ibadan Central Mosque (Sideview)adh dhikrAl- Ansar


The Counsel

It is said that when an undergraduate is in his first year of study, his only target is first class. “It is summa cum laude or nothing,” he says to himself with great hope and determination. Very often, when he proceeds to his second or third year, his soliloquy takes another shape. It loses vigour. It loses colour. It begins to look pale and flaccid. “First class or nothing” becomes “Second Class Upper isn’t such a bad grade too.”“After all, not everyone on first class is that brilliant. They only draw on the thoughtless process ofla cram la pour.”
Fast forward to final year; and the spirit becomes dispirited even more. The student is eager to graduate. His newfound catch phrase – Second Class Upper isn’t such a bad grade too – metamorphoses into “Lord! Let this cup pass. I just want to graduate with my mates.” He might even add a dose of hackneyed motivation– besides, it is not about the credential but the potential. He deploys every trick up his sleeve to rationalize his shortcomings. He assures himself he is not a failure. As a matter of fact, he assures himself he is the opposite of failure. “I am better than Ṣọla (the girl certain to get the BGS award),” he says, “She probably can’t even defend her grade.”
This is the story of many who have passed before us. It is the story of many who are passing – or perhaps failing – with us. And it is the story waiting to be inherited by our successors into the distant future. But that is not the point. It is a fact of life, one which we have no control over. Some will be success-full, while the only thing others will be full of is envy. Some will have a first class, while others will have nothing but a first-class academic crash. Some will get good-paying jobs, get charming spouses, get all the goodies life has to offer. And on the other side will always be a larger percentage of people, lamenting that they have got nothing from life, lamenting that in fact it is life which has got them.
What we do have control over, however, is our own lives. We are the drivers of our destiny, the architects of our fortune. And we shall have no case against Life in the court of empathy unless we have indeed tried our very best, unless we have sacrificed our all to get what we desire from it.
I have not come here to resound that which we must have heard a million times from our parents – face your studies, remember the child of whom you are... Neither is my mission to bore us with the importance of a first class degree, or burning of night candles. No. Not at all. My message is simple: know what you want to take out from this institution and go after it with all your strength. Do you want to lay a political foundation for yourself? Do it and do it well. Do you want to plant smiles on the faces of the less-privileged through civic engagement? Do it and do it well. Or is it a first class that you so much desire? Then go for it, and don’t allow anyone to talk you out of your dream.
The worst student is not one who ends up with a third class or pass. It is one who cannot confidently explain why he so ends up. It is one who graduates without becoming better at anything, except the art of empty bragging. It is one who loses focus, or even never had one. One who comes to school only because he can afford to come school.One for whom failure is as cheap as talk, and for whom mediocrity is a standing order.
Unless you have a lofty plan for yourself and attaining it is a matter of life and death, you have not resumed. You are still touring. Unless you can distinguish justifiably between your priorities, necessities and frivolities, you have not resumed. You are still on vacation, having a field day. The university is like a market where not all that is sold is gold. So, unless you have your eyes fixed upon a worthy goal and are ready to sacrifice comfort to get it, you have not resumed. You are merely window-shopping.
So dear freshmen, I ask again:Have you resumed?

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