Upon confirming one’s admission, an average Nigerian student leaps for joy and goes about informing all who care to listen about his/her eventual elevation from the status of an admission seeker or “aspirant”, as often called, to that of an undergraduate. The exhilaration that often follows admission into the tertiary institution is however not unfounded owing to the rigorous process and the uncertainty attached to securing one particularly in highly competitive schools.
Oftentimes, newly-admitted students do not get over the euphoria even as they resume school and commence another phase of their academic journey. It is in the midst of this feeling, coupled with the newly-found freedom and the mindset to live up to the expectations of their parents or guardians that our nescient friends set gargantuan goals in their academic pursuits without the least consideration of the most important factor – THE SELF!
The concept of self, or put differently, self realization, is fundamental to every human endeavour ranging from course of study, career choice, place of habitation, to more complex issues such as dating and marriage. Failure to identify one’s own potentials and abilities and put them into consideration in the decision-making process at any of these facets of life forebodes dangerous consequences, the prime of which is failure to achieve set goals.
The university or any other tertiary institution for that matter provides an avalanche of opportunities and a sea of options for students to gulp from. In light of this, an undergraduate must understand that not all options are in consonance with his/her goals and personality irrespective of their appeal to reason or their face value. It is at this juncture that he/she has to decide what works for him/her and what does not.
As the saying goes, if you do not know where you are going, others will take you where they are going, and worse still, if you do not know how to arrive at where you are going, you will find yourself walking the path of others, this is often the case. It is not uncommon to find undergraduates who are yet to understand their personal interests and aversions doing things solely because it is the way others do it, especially their friends. Examples abound! At the point of selecting and registering courses per semester, many undergraduates find themselves clueless, not knowing which elective courses are best for them and which courses they can benefit maximally from. As a result, such students leverage on less important factors such as course attractiveness, coordinators or lecturers in charge and hearsays.
Another area where students miss it is in the pattern and duration of study. For a diurnal student to study at night because he/she thinks it is the time most supposed serious students study is apparently to sign up for failure. More so, for students who cannot study for long hours to force themselves to do so because they think it is the only route to academic zenith is a highway to nowhere. Other important decision-making areas include choice of organizations and associations to join. These associations span religious, political and departmental associations to those that relate to students’ places of origin and they all come with their demands. An unwary student would come to the realization later or sooner in his/her schooling years that he/she gives more to his/her associations than to his/her academics.
To avoid these pitfalls, an undergraduate has to thoughtfully answer the question, “WHO AM I?”. They must understand the place of individual differences in their relationship with others, and this will go a very long way to shape their kind of friends and associations. They must also understand their intelligence, abilities and capabilities, determine their social interactions and the extent of their religious and political involvements. Rather than compare one’s self with others, they should understand their strengths and weaknesses and determine their likes and dislikes without failing to leave room for new ideas.
In conclusion, self realization does not rule out versatility. An undergraduate only has to involve in activities that are in congruence with his/her abilities and sets him/her on a suitable and fulfilling academic path which eventually brings about an all-round development.