The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: Every Student Should Be Ready To Learn, Unlearn and Relearn- EU

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

Hello my amazing readers! Happy new week. I’m so excited because 2020 is just less than 8 forthcoming amazing days! Yes, you read that right. Let me use the opportunity to appreciate you all and also wish you all compliment of the season and a prosperous New year ahead.

We’ll be rounding up for the year with this super amazing scholar. My scholar for the week is such an amazing young dude. I call him dude because he is a business Scholar. An Engineer per Excellence!

It is with great pleasure that I introduce my scholar for the week to you. Engineer Emmanuel Uchechukwu is a young graduate from FUTO, the founder of Green Energy Soluz. And guess what, He is the grandprize winner of the first APP Student Venture Prize in Nigeria. Let me save the rest of the story.

In his words,

there is a clear distinction between a first class and a second class graduate only if the first class graduate could prove himself worthy. Your grade puts you on a platform to prove yourself.


Abigael Ibikunle of Edugist: Please introduce yourself and share with Edugist, a little about your educational background.

Emmanuel Uchechukwu: My name is Emmanuel Uchechukwu Godwin, I am a 21 year old recent graduate of Mechanical Engineering at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO.

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

EU: Well, I have always wanted to be in a position where I could solve problems for people. And contribute positively to the society with my skills. So, I gave it some thought. Interestingly, I was very good at Maths, Further Mathematics, Physics and Geography.

I topped my class in those subjects while graduating from high school. The first course that came to mind was Electrical engineering. But I didnt like electric cause it could kill people.

I discovered that I love it when things are moving. As a matter of fact, I get fascinated by them. This pricked an interest in me to research further. And this birth my passion for Mechanical Engineering. I fell in love with the profession.

After deciding what course to study, I briefly researched schools in Nigeria for mechanical engineering. And alas! FUTO made it to the top 3. Good for me, it was located at my state of origin, I jumped at the thought and that’s how I studied at FUTO.

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?

EU: Very well, let me start by saying that there is no practical without a theory. It is true that our academic system denies us the chance of applying what we have been taught in class. Meanwhile there have been slots made available for internships. Which helps to bridge the gap between the practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge acquired in class.

It is also unfortunate that institutions do not help in anyway to secure good placement for internships. Basically, at the end of every graduate program, students are awarded degree.

This is having being found worthy in character and learning. However, I will say that

A graduate with a strong literacy skill in 21st century is one with the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn.

The educational system does not train us to be employers of labour but employees. This is a fault and needs to be corrected.

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

EU: What is responsible for competence without performance is the unavailability of related courses. And good internship placements for students at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Hence, the universities should devise a medium by which students could get spots for internship. This is to enable them have a good fill of what it means to practice in their respective fields.

Most students sit at home during their internship periods. Majority not because they do not want to work but because they don’t have the opportunity of practicing. Hence, a career fair should be hosted in all institutions across Nigeria yearly, for all undergraduate and graduate students.

AI: Achievement in life transcends one’s 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 can’t forget in your first-class feat?

EU: First and foremost, I will say my course adviser, Engr. C. Onwuachu. He kept on encouraging me and believed in me. Secondly my project supervisor, I did a solo project in school and it was very difficult. But my supervisor was always by my side, he never allowed me to print documents for review.

He would ask me to send it by mail so that he could print at home, read and send back to me for further correction. Thanks to my fellow students who in one way or the other gave me books to read, Uchendu Ugochukwu, Eze Delight Uchechukwu and Onyenezido Ikechukwu.

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

EU: Yes, I am working with an oil and gas servicing firm as a graduate intern. And I am the founder of an energy start up by name GREEN ENERGY SOLUZ. It will commence by January after which I will be going for my one year mandatory national service.

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

EU: One thing I believe is whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well. To answer that question, I will say:

there is a clear distinction between a first class and a second class graduate only if the first class graduate could prove himself worthy. Your grade puts you on a platform to prove yourself.

Based on this note, I would say yes.

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

EU: Diligence, Consistency, Focus, Passion and Pray always, never stop believing in yourself.

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

EU: There is a lot the government has to do in this regard. Some of which includes
providing basic amenities that would be needed for students during studies like;

  • consistent power supply
  • good roads in school environment
  • well stocked libraries for research
  • good internet availability for students
  • conducive classrooms
  • career fairs
  • finally scholarships for outstanding students in school to further their education if they wish.

AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

EU: Nothing good comes easy, you have to work for it. With diligence and perseverance, the journey may not always be smooth. But with God, all things are possible.


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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