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As an undergraduate student at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, I daily revisited my plans and strategies to graduate with a First Class honor. It was not a smooth ride, but I can assure you that those strategies, which I am going to share some with you here, are instrumental to my academic excellence.

First and foremost, I decided to graduate with a First Class honor the very first day I stepped my foot on the soil of the University of Lagos. My strategy here is that my mind was already set on graduating top of my class. So, with each day that passes, I was being reminded by my body, soul, and spirit that I have a goal, which is to graduate in first-class range and nothing else.

My second strategy was the choice of friends I moved with. While I welcome anybody to be friends with me, I almost always walk with students who would accept nothing short of an ‘A’ grade; students whose aim was to shoot for top-notch schools in developed countries after graduation at the University of Lagos. I observed every student from day one of class and decided who I move with.

I chose my friends not because I am proud or pompous but because I understand that not every student desire to get a good result. Some students have told themselves that they only need to make a grade ‘C’ and they would be fine. That is not me! So, I go for friends who are like-minded. If a student keeps telling himself that he will fail a class, he will surely do! Because his entire spirit will start singing it over again that, ‘we would fail, we would fail…’.

Why the strategy helped me? My friends’ uncommon desire to graduate as best students somehow made me see myself as one of the best students on campus as all of us consistently rank in the 90th percentile in most of the courses we took; scoring high even in classes that were outside our major and most often a hard nut to crack for our peers.

On top of that, I ensured that I covered the course content. I never entered any examination without having covered the required topics for each exam. My goal-getting attitude was excellent preparation for me towards the fulfillment of my dream while studying Chemistry at the University of Lagos.

Overall, having the right mindset, choosing the right set of friends, who are like minded and always aiming high are invaluable characteristics of any student that would excel in class work and research.

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