2016: Proper preparation prevents poor performance

In a famous speech delivered by an infamous former Apartheid President of South Africa, P. W. Botha, in 1985, the black race was described in unflattering terms. According to him, “…here is a creature (black man) that lacks foresight…The average Black does not plan his life beyond a year.” He would not even dignify the African and characterise him as a human being, he rather chose the word “creature”. It is your right to be angry too.

However, more than thirty years down the line, there is nothing to suggest that Botha’s racist rant was misinformed because the bitter truth is that we Africans, especially Nigerians, don’t plan. Saying that we don’t plan beyond a year is even generous. Many of us don’t plan for a week or prepare ourselves for anything serious.

We wake up in the morning and allow the day to run us along its course, not we running it the way we have planned. We leave everything to chance and we are often left in the lurch. That is why since we are not prepared, we lag behind in the march of humanity. What are we good at making preparations for except Owambe and vanity? There is need for change in 2016.

As a new year begins and studies start, it is an ample opportunity for everyone to reboot. What behooves every student is to prepare properly against performing poorly in the year. Success doesn’t come by chance. It comes on the wings of preparation. It is said that he who fails to prepare automatically prepares to fail. If 2016 is going to be a year of success, adequate preparation must be made right from now.

The idea of preparation is so central that it is the motto of the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared. And when someone asked the founder of Scouting, Baden-Powell, “Be prepared for what?” his simple answer was: “Why, for any old thing.” In other words, as there is nothing new under the sun, be prepared for anything; be prepared for everything. Be prepared for success; be even prepared for failure. Altogether, be prepared for life.

I stumbled upon an old foreign magazine called “Off to College” when I was a freshman. A remark in the publication struck a chord in me that I wrote it down more than two decades ago on the cover page of my “higher note book”.

The author says, “The bottom line is that poor class attendance is the major cause of student’s failure. It is your responsibility to get to class regularly, keep up with the assignments and participate in discussions. It is very difficult to fail.” It is simple, believable and actionable.

I internalized the words and made sure I did not miss any lecture as a student. I found out with practical experience that it was difficult to fail. If students actually take attending lectures with seriousness, they will always find it difficult to fail. But failure begins from “stabbing” lectures and copying notes from classmates whose fathers paid the same school fees as yours. They receive academic information first hand, you receive yours second hand!

In simple terms, preparing properly for academic success especially from today requires 12 things. These include that you endeavour to attend all lectures early by being in the first rows, not at the back where the pitch of the lecturer’s voice may not reach. Then, do your assignments and other tasks given without compromising the sanctity of the deadline.

Also, as ignorance of the law is not an excuse, you should always strive to be on the right side of the school rules and regulations. If your University has a dress code, adhere to it, though you can have your opinion.

Other aspects of your preparations are that you avoid bad company for the simple reason that evil communication corrupts good manner and socialise healthily and responsibly by engaging in academic discussions and religious conversations. Make it a habit to read everyday and still study ahead of the class.

My friend, you won’t be able to achieve much without your own time-table or your to-do list. And since there are several distractions on campus and in life, you should always mind your own business, pray fervently, live rightly, focus on what is before you and ensure you utilise your time judiciously. All these preparations will guarantee your success.

I wish you a successful 2016!

Re: BYBK: From Kenya to Kaduna

If people can embrace BYBK mantra and put it to use in their daily activities, the world would be less of strife and be a better place for everyone. – Aina Akindele Oyebanji, Ketu, Lagos State.