Interviews

Don’t place everything on academics and miss out on other lessons to be learnt in school- EC

Don’t place everything on academics and miss out on other lessons to be learnt in school- EC

Good morning readers, trust you had an amazing weekend. Today’s interview is a special one. Hannah despite her 2:1 in undergraduate, never gave up and got a first class at law school.

In her words,

The school phase is just a stage in life. There are bigger examinations out there. So, don’t place everything on academics and miss out on other lessons to be learnt in school. Go through school and let school go through you.

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

Enyawuile Hannah Chinyere: My name is Enyawuile Hannah Chinyere. I’m the fourth amongst five children. I’ve two brothers, two sisters, an amazing mum and an awesome dad. I was born and bred in Benin City, Edo State. However, I am a native of Delta State, Ika North East Local Government to be precise.

I attended Children’s Academy Nursery and Primary School, Benin City. Thereafter, I proceeded to University Preparatory Secondary School (UPSS) in Benin City as well.

I Studied Law at Delta State University, Oleh Campus and to further my legal studies, I proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Yola Campus. I’m a Christian and I worship at Deeper Life Bible Church.

 

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

EC: As a senior secondary school student, I was a bit confused on my choice of career. So, I settled for the Arts because I comfortably got the highest scores in Art subjects.

When it was time to fill my Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) form, I was advised to pick law. This was due to my debates and essay writing prowess (I have some awards to my credit in those areas). I listened to that advice and did accordingly. Today, I can’t imagine studying anything else.

For my choice of institution, the only motivating factors were that I would have a better chance to be admitted since it was my state university. And the fact that I had elder ones who had attended the same institution.

 

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?

EC: Well, I can’t categorically affirm that this is right or wrong. I believe the pendulum swings equally in both ways. This is because, I have seen examples of first class graduates who are both competence and performance driven.

I’ve also seen examples of first class graduates on the other side of the divide.
In my case and that of a few around me, this assertion would not hold water.

I believe that, as a high-performing student, (in terms of grades), you should, as a matter of course, try hard to develop yourself in practical areas.

Several first class graduates I know would beat others hands down when it comes to actual application of knowledge.

 

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

EC: We cannot neglect the fact that some fall on the other side of the divide. This might not be because they don’t want to perform but actually because of the theoretical-based nature of our educational system in Nigeria.

It is great to enjoin the government and other stakeholders in the educational sector to adopt more practical ways of teaching.

However, it is necessary to also motivate these high-flyers in academics to do their own quota by learning the practicalities of their discipline. Internships, for instance, can improve their practical performance.

 

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?

EC: Yes. You are right about that. My ‘first class feat’ as you put it, was not achieved by my personal efforts alone. Appreciation to my immediate family. They top the chart in rendering whatever assistance I desired during my undergraduate days.

My mother was my personal intercessor and my father was the able financier. I’ve got amazing who siblings offered help too in different ways.

I cannot forget the contribution of Deeper Life Campus Fellowship, Yola and Oleh. They prayed and supported me too, in a lot of ways.

Special thanks to Ojo Precious, Ojinika Precious, Ogundele Samson, Elume Frederick, Olanrewaju Temi, Caleb Joseph, Afeese Gift, and Newton Jonah for their assistance in law school.

 

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

EC: Yes. I am gainfully employed.
Currently, I work as a legal assistant at the House of Assembly. I am also a member of the Medical Law Hub and a director at Emerald Law. Both are virtual organizations set up to boost the knowledge and practice of law.

 

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

EC: Sincerely, the answer to this is no. There are some firms where grades can get you in but competence and performance determine whether you stay in or get out.

At my current workplace, my first class grade has not granted me advantage over others. All that is required is that one knows the job and works well. I don’t think the first class advantage works well in the legal field except perhaps in the academics or top tier law firms.

 

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

EC: It is my firm belief that every first class achiever goes the extra mile, whether consciously or subconsciously.

So,

if you want to get a first class, find out what others are not doing. Go beyond where others stop. If others put in a 100%, put in 120% or more. That’s the only way you can stand out and clinch the first class.

Pray too. Our educational system can be really hard. You’ll need those prayers.

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

EC: There’s a lot to be done to improve the standard of our educational system. But, we can begin with these;

  • Introducing more practical-based systems of learning. We should cut back on the book, book, book system. This is why most students cram and pass without learning anything.
  • Introduce internships. There should be paid internships to support the students financially while they study the know-how of the particular industry.
  • Less marks should be allotted to ‘book-work’ and more allotted to practical execution of ideas.
  • Rewards for excellent academic performance should be higher. This will motivate students to do more.
  • Stock libraries and laboratories with the latest materials and equipments in that field.
  • Pay staff adequately and on time. It will encourage them to give their best. It will also put a stop to the incessant strike actions.

 

AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

EC:

The school phase is just a stage in life. There are bigger examinations out there. So, don’t place everything on academics and miss out on other lessons to be learnt in school. Go through school and let school go through you.

This is not an invitation to mediocrity though. Whatever you are doing, put in your very best. Be it work, school, competition, church, anywhere, give it your best. Let everything you do be top-notch. Be a first class achiever, everywhere!

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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: abigail@edugist.org/+2347035835612

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