The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: Brace Up! Grade is only a Consideration, Performance is another Key Factor-OJ

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

Good morning my readers! I trust you had an amazing weekend. Our scholar for the week is Olasupo, Oluwadara Joshua. Joshua is a graduate of Chemistry from the University of Ibadan. He is a researcher and a content developer. Joshua’s story is really an interesting read.

In his words,

Real-life problems should be simulated. Students should be trained on how to tackle environmental, industry and policy problems. Such trainings should be designed into courses too for students. With scenarios pertaining to their fields of study.


Abigael Ibikunle of Edugist: Please share with Edugist, a little about your background

OJ: My name is Olasupo, Oluwadara Joshua. I am the fourth child born by a high school principal dad and an elementary school teaching mum. I grew up in an environment where I could get almost any answer regarding academics from home. Either through my parents or my older siblings.

So, I would say that confidence gave me a mindset. Which is that virtually any topic can be understood once the readiness to learn is not lacking.


AI: Was there any motivating factor(s) that influenced your choice of discipline and institution?

OJ: Yes. At a point in time, I became passionate about exploring the applications of Chemistry. And fields such as industry, research and academics fascinated me. Interestingly, the results of my exploration inspired and motivated me to study Chemistry.

Also, I was motivated with the fact that the University of Ibadan was Nigeria’s premier university. So, I looked forward to studying there.

AI: There are two major skills that every student must possess: COMPETENCE and PERFORMANCE. While Competence revolves around skill acquisition. Performance is much more concerned about skills application. It is believed that most graduates are competent because their academic performance testifies to this. But they are performance-challenged. This poor performance ipso facto hinders them from getting lucrative jobs in the labour market. What can you say about this assertion?

OJ: Well, that assertion may be true in some cases. But much more, the validity of that assertion will be proved by the individual. I believe that some people, irrespective of the grades they graduated with, only passed through school. The school didn’t pass through them. And the latter determines the individual’s performance.

So, competence and/or performance are not largely dependent on grades. They’re more determined by what the individual chooses to do; if to only pass through school or also allow the school to pass through them.

AI: What do you think is responsible for competence without performance? Please suggest ways of improving the performance level of university students and graduates.

OJ: A lot of times, competence without performance is due to seeing from a limited scope of reading books to pass alone. Having excellent grades is good, obviously not debatable.

As a student, your view should transcend just passing exam to performing when there are no school exams to write anymore.

There is a major way the university can help students to be employable outside the school. Its by training them with the demands of the outside world. Our Universities have to focus more on skills development. Such as; critical reasoning skills, problem solving skills, research works aimed at solution strategies, and much more.

Real-life problems should be simulated. Students should be trained on how to tackle environmental, industry and policy problems. Such trainings should be designed into courses too for students. With scenarios pertaining to their fields of study.

This is the best way to help graduates become very employable. Because they will have gathered experience beyond just reading books. In fact, exercises after reading lengthy texts in big books should be solving real-life problems.

For instance, an engineering student who’s read about strength of materials should exercise practically. An ongoing construction work in the university will be a good practical. A psychology student who has been taught on the human mind should be made to undergo internship. A rehabilitation center will sort that.

AI: Achievement in life transcends ones personal efforts. There were people who, during your programme, rendered some assistance that made your dreams a reality. Who are specific persons whose contribution you cant forget in your first-class feat?

OJ: Family, Christian Fellowship and Church, Lecturers and Professors who played fatherly and motherly roles to me. These were the persons and groups that played strategic roles in my studies.

AI: As a first-class graduate, are you currently gainfully employed?

OJ: I have been on a training after graduation. So that has not made me to look for a job. But soon I’d be getting a job.

AI: Do you think your grades have or is giving you any major advantage over other graduates with lesser grades?

OJ: Yes. My grades are giving me edge in many things. Such as scholarship applications, admission requirements for post graduate studies. I know I have an edge in securing a job too. However,

the grade is only a consideration. Performance is another key factor.


AI: For students who aspire to graduate with outstanding grade like yours, what would you advise them?

OJ: First and most important is that such students should believe they can. And they should have that vision always in their heart irrespective of the challenges. Once the vision is birthed, realizing it is possible. But when the vision is lost, nothing can be done. Again, I’d love to say that being tenacious is another important virtue that will help them fulfill that dream.

AI: What would you advise the government to do to improve the standard of our education system?

OJ: I’d advise the government to place a very high priority on education. When education is not seen as an extra burden, it will inform their decision on how to invest finances in it. The government needs to provide more funding.

This is the only way to improve our education. We are blessed already with resource persons and excellent academic. They only need to be provided with funding for research.

AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

OJ: I’d love to encourage every student irrespective of their level. To be truly passionate about their course of study. They should quit the story of “I don’t like this course”. And start looking for what they can explore in the course.

The society might not appreciate those courses at the moment. But then they should be successful in the course. And see how the same society will celebrate them. In summary, be intentional, have a vision for your future. Now is the best time to be whatever you desire to be. Nothing can limit you except you do. Not even your grades can limit you!


That’s it on the show for this week’s series. If you’ve enjoyed the interview, please feel free to leave me a comment in the comment section. Know any scholar you would love to be featured?

Kindly write to me at or give me a call on +2347035835612.

Always remember that,

there is so many we can do and achieve with the right attitude to everything

Till I come your way next week, please have an amazing week ahead. I remain your host, Abigael Ibikunle.


About the author

Abigael Ibikunle

Associate Correspondent at Edugist, Abigael Ibikunle is a Mathematics Education graduate. A professional Journalist and a passionate writer. She can be reached via:

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