By Esther Oguntuase
Achieving First Class in the University seems like a mirage to most students and the reason boils down to the fact that several extra-curricular activities students engage in while in school, sometimes distract their academic works.
The outside world is competitive and as such, every opportunity geared towards excelling in both academics and career should be industriously seized.
How can a student maintain a balanced life on campus? What does it take to be a top-class student? How can students access opportunities such as scholarship openings?
These lingering questions were the focal point of what Mr. Damilola Olisa, a media and communications professional and a First Class graduate who is currently the founder of Opportunity Venue.
In 2018, Olisa was awarded the Prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship to complete a Masters degree in Communication for Development at the University of Reading and also in recognition of his activities in supporting social entrepreneurship, he was recently selected a judge for the queen’s commonwealth essay competition by the royal commonwealth society. On this note, he compared his program at AAUA with the University of Reading saying the latter was not as rigorous as the former.
In an online series organized by the National Association of Mass Communication Students (NAMACOS), AAUA chapter, Olisa highlighted points that can make a student excel as a top-class student as well as how to access scholarship opportunities.
Here are the points he underscored during the session:
Delivering the lecture with the topic “Being a top-class student and accessing opportunities”, he lengthily discussed his experiences at the university and his career after graduating from the Department of Mass Communication in the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko in order to motivate the students to be goal-driven.
As a student who bagged the First Class in Mass Communication and graduated as Best Student, Olisa gave a clear description of his days at AAUA. He described his experience as a mixture of both exciting and challenging.
According to him, his set was a very competitive one and his lecturers kept them on their toes. He also revealed that he received sufficient academic mentorship and support from his lecturers. He explained that he had clear goals of what he wanted immediately he started the program in his first year and he stuck to it.
He “wanted a First Class every semester no matter how tough it was”.
“By toughness, I mean a rigorous academic process. The academic standard at AAUA is a high one,” Olisa said.
“I would say my time at Mass Communication, AAUA prepared me adequately in securing the prestigious Commonwealth Award to study at the University of Reading,” Olisa stated.
The director and media professional stated that studying in Nigeria enabled him to acquire the relevant skills needed at the University of Reading. Some of these skills are – Critical thinking, Problem-solving, Communication research, Radio programme production, Creativity.
Olisa explained the key importance of time management in living a balanced life on campus.
He was a member of media houses on campus, and also serving at the Student Representative Council as well as activities in campus fellowships.
“I explored available provision in the department and I got myself involved adequately in practical assignments. I also engaged in extra-curricular journalism activities to horn some of my journalistic skills.”
While explaining how he got the commonwealth award, he enunciated that it was a long journey. “I’ll like to advise those who might be interested to take note of the following:
Graduate with a good result, at least 4.0 CGPA and above. Engage in extra-curricular and leadership activities while on campus. Volunteer! Join professional organizations in your field. Publish academic articles, if possible.
Get a mentor to guide you through the process of applying and reviewing your application”.
The media professional also stated what it takes to write a good research work as involving a sufficient level of critical analysis.
“Your arguments should be based on facts not opinions,” he asserted. He also said that undergraduates should avoid plagiarism and in the process of getting ideas from other authors, it should be well referenced.
“I was able to score 72% in my first essay at the University of Reading where most of my colleagues couldn’t score up to 60% because of in-depth critical analysis and my work was free of plagiarism,” he stated to back up his assertion.
Olisa opined that the communication studies are still living up to expectation as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded new communication areas one can begin to look into. He explained that the world is gradually moving into virtual means of communication and communication software to assist small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can be explored with virtual meetings using ZOOM, a video conferencing app as an instance.
According to Olisa, he was selected as a judge at the commonwealth competition after he applied for it which he believed was the result of his positive impact in coordinating activities among commonwealth scholars in the southeast region of England.
He also stressed that there are lots of funding opportunities for students with CGPA below 4.0 who are interested in such opportunities to strive hard to make 4.0 by putting their best in the remaining semesters before graduation. He emphasized that students who are unable to make 4.0 after graduation can make up for it by proving strong leadership skills as some scholarships like the Chevening scholarship emphasizes leadership qualities over academic grades when selecting applicants.
According to him, students can get to know about these opportunities by checking his career optimization startup regularly by visiting opportunity sites such as www.opportunityvenue.com in order to connect and prepare them to win some of the international scholarships, fellowships, grants and jobs.
Ultimately, he said that the world is now interconnected, “Think Global! See students at Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge as your competitors. Explore the internet! Be abreast of innovations going around the world in your chosen field and think of how you can contribute to them,” he added.
On a final note, do you believe you can achieve a First Class in your chosen program? How well are you prepared to affect the world with your vocation? The world is progressively undergoing the age of technology. Means of communication is gradually becoming virtual; how do you choose to use these technological advancements and the internet to benefit society? These are questions that should interest you if you want to be an excellent student.
Esther. T. Oguntuase is a 200 level student journalist from the Department of Mass Communication, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko.