Interviews The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: Undergraduates Should engage more in Extra-Curricular Activities and Volunteering-OS

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

First Class Diary: Undergraduates Should engage more in Extra-Curricular Activities and Volunteering-OS

Hello everyone! Happy new week! I celebrate all our Muslim scholars and readers. Yaaaay! It’s another Monday and I’m super excited to reveal another scholar to you.

Meet the scholar for the week, Olanrewaju Shittu. He is an athlete and Botanist. Amazing combination right.

In his words,

Competence without performance is as a result of seeing the university degree as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end. Also, poor/absent career mentoring and advising is a cause.


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

Olanrewaju Shittu: My name is Olanrewaju Shittu. I had my first degree from the first and best university in Nigeria (Hahaha. University of Ibadan), where I graduated with first class in Botany.


Olanrewaju Shittu

Also, I have a Masters degree from both University of Ibadan and UniExeter. Outside academics, I am a track and field athlete and I enjoy singing. I’m a native of Iraye-oke, Epe, Lagos State. I am the first of five children of my parent.


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

OS: Hmmm. For my discipline, there wasn’t a motivation par se. Just like many Nigeria students, I was offered the available course.

The school didn’t shortlist me for my course of choice. Their excuse? They don’t know why the system did not bring out my name during selection.

I accepted the offer in good fate and decided to excel in the course. After year 1, I fell in love with the program. It became the springboard for my academic and career achievements.

For my institution, I have wanted to study in University of Ibadan since I was in primary 6. My Dad’s friend said it was the best University in the country. I think we all agree with him on that, lol.


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?

OS: I might not be able to comment much on this assertion. This is mainly because of my circle of colleagues and friends. I have read online or heard about first-class students that could not perform outside of school work from people. Still, I am yet to meet one in person.


Olanrewaju Shittu

My friends and other first-class students I met during NYSC are all doing well for themselves. That being said, for those situations you are asking about, it’s most likely as a result of seeing the final grade as an end in itself instead of seeing it as a means to an end.


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

OS: As I said,

It’s as a result of seeing the university degree as an end in itself, rather than as a means to an end. Also, poor/absent career mentoring and advising is a cause.

Most Nigerian Universities make a lot of people book smart without been able perform in workplace. Obsolete curriculum and mode of assessment that doesn’t improve graduates transferrable skills.

In order to improve performance, I will advise Undergraduates to engage in extra-curricular and volunteering activities. These activities help to improve skills required for performance in work place.

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?

OS: Honestly, a lot of people rendered assistance and I am very grateful to all of them. I can’t mention specific names because the list is inexhaustible.

I really appreciate my family, friends, lecturers, mentors and colleagues for their supports financially, academically and emotionally.

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

OS: Currently, I am not gainfully employed but I have an offer that I will be taking up later this year.

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

OS: Yes, I believe my grade has given me competitive advantage over my colleagues with lesser grades.


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

OS: I will advise such students to be diligent.

Keep friends that have similar academic goals and have a mentor (a senior colleague).


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

OS: They need to do the following:

  • Increase funding of our educational system. Our Universities and researches are under-funded
  • Update our curriculum and make it relevant to current employability requirements.
  • Provide free internet access to students everywhere on campus.

AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

OS: Yes. As you work, also pray.


That’s it for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Do you have a scholar you would love to be featured?

Would you like to sponsor any of our scholars you find their stories inspiring?
Got engagements for any of them? Please reach out:

I am Abigael Ibikunle and celebrating excellence is a top priority for me. iTeach, iSpeak, iTrain, iFacilitate, iWrite, iInterview and iLoveYou all. Smile! See you next week!


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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