ACHIEVING A FIRST CLASS DEGREE WITH A BALANCED LIFESTYLE

“…success is the quality of time we put in.”

When I came into uni, all I wanted was a first class degree; nothing else, nothing less. I worked my butts out and gave 100% of my attention to studying. I spent 90% of the day at the reading table or in the reading room. I barely had time to cook my own food, I went to church when it was convenient or when most of the tasks on my to-do list were completed. I was not on any social media platform( I joined WhatsApp in my second semester in school). You could call me a ‘nerd’ (plus, I wear glasses).
Sleep was an enemy and my life was on the move – more like a competition to be the best among my peers.

Did that lifestyle pay off?
Well, you could say it did.
At least, I did not fail and I was able to attain a very very good grade in my first year of uni.

But you know what?
I met other students in school who did way better with an active social lifestyle. I found wholesome students who were able to juggle studying with healthy living and I coveted that for real. I wanted that too.

I wanted to be able to eat healthy, sleep well (reasonably well), do stuff I loved, attend church regularly, meet people and still succeed academically.

So, whether you’re a nerd trying to find balance or just a student who wants to find out how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a buoyant grade, this blog post is definitely for you.

So, let’s dive in:
• know yourself
• set goals/resolutions for yourself
• never do life alone
• develop a good time management system

KNOW YOURSELF:
I cannot over-emphasize this. If you’re going to succeed in the school environment, you need to know and understand yourself.

I have friends that study immediately after every lecture, I have friends that literally live in the library or reading room. I have friends that prefer to sleep in the day and study at night. I have friends that can watch movies for half of the day, I have friends that don’t go to classes at all but stay back to read.

Everybody is different and you are different. Before, I was intimidated when I saw my friends studying at the library from day to night but when I got to know and understand myself, the journey got easier. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else. In fact, I stopped being intimidated.

I have not visited the school library ever before to study, I don’t read in the reading rooms anymore, I’m the girl you’ll meet in her room reading on her table and whether my friends are reading in the library or not, I’m less concerned. And once it’s 10pm or 11pm, I’m going to bed whether or not my friends are still studying.

Also, it’s important to know the kind of learner you are. You might not have heard of it, but I’m a lingiustic learner. I can’t read by just looking at the book, I have to speak it and hear myself say it. It was hard to come to terms with because I see lots of people reading by just staring at the book. But that’s not me.

So, over to you – what kind of learner are you?
If you can answer that question, I think, you’re ready for tip number 2.

DEVELOP A LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF:
Once you know yourself, it’s important to be confident in yourself. This is not about over-confidence at all. You must be able to trust in yourself and believe you can do whatever you put your mind to.

I have met people that are not confident in themselves. They don’t ask questions in class because they are afraid that the question would sound stupid, they do assignments and are not even sure of their answers. They are always fearful when tests and exams are approaching…
They are always fearful, unsure and uncertain.

You have to over come that. It’s not pride to be confident in yourself.

If you’re confident, you won’t be intimidated by your friends. You would know what works for you and you’ll go for it. It won’t matter who’s studying or who’s not studying.

You need to own your flaws and imperfections.
Take me for example, I can’t study like everyone else, I can’t just stare at the book and make sense of it, I have to say it, speak it and that’s why I don’t use libraries. It was weird at first and hard to accept. But it worked for me(it still does) and that’s all that matters. I had to develop confidence in my own method of studying. I had to stay alone off campus for a while so that I could accommodate my learning process.

So, I would never bulge if my friends are going to the library or if they are staring at the book because I don’t only know myself, I have now developed confidence in myself and my methods.

SET GOALS/RESOLUTIONS:
I have written an article on my own resolutions for my final year and you can always check it out.

I actually believe in the power of goal setting. I don’t always stick to my goals but I like to have them because they keep me in check and control of my life.

Before every semester, I set a big goal for myself and every day after resumption, I have a small planner where I write down what I must do/achieve each day in order to reach my goal.

Success is not achieved just on one day, it is achieved daily… Someone said, ‘a first class degree is achieved in the first class…’
Excellence is a habit you must develop.

It’s good to be realistic when you set your goals. It’s safer to say, I want to climb from a second class lower to a second class upper than to set the goal of climbing from 2.2 to a first class degree.

I also set resolutions too based on my reflection of the last semester’s performance.
All these are what keep me going when I get tired, demotivated and uninspired.

NEVER DO LIFE ALONE:
How can I explain this in such a way that you’ll understand how important it is?

Just take this from me, team work makes the dream work and believe me, you can’t do it all alone. You need friends, you need a clique of people that will help you and that you can help.

I try my best to understand all the topics and courses but there are times I go to meet people to explain to me and there are times people come to meet me to explain to them. It’s really that simple.

It’s good to be independent.
I love independence. I tell people that beg me to teach them stuff that I would only do so if they have taken a conscious step to learn the stuff themselves because I don’t have the time to teach them everything and you can’t tell me you don’t understand what you’ve not even read. A lot of people assume they don’t understand and so they don’t bother but just go about asking people to explain to them. I find that ridiculous. To be honest, I try to study something myself for a couple of times and if I don’t still get it, I then go to meet people I know understand it.

You can’t do it alone in the university. You need the right kind of friends and you also must be the right kind of friend.

And it’s more than just helping each/one another to make good grades, it is more about inspiring one/another to live better lives.
It’s those moments when you cook together and share the food and wake each other up to study at night that really counts.

I don’t do study groups and I don’t read with my friends but in other ways, I have helped them and they have helped me.

This is where I have to emphasize that you keep your clique very small. You can’t be friends with everyone. Some people will not just like you and you will not just connect with some people.

Just make friends with people you know can help you and people you can help too.

Remember, never do life alone!

DEVELOP A GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT SYSTEM:
I am as bad at this as I am bad at singing.
I try my best really.

If you really want to enjoy campus life and still be making good grades, you need time management more than anything else.

What I do though is to try to savor every moment. When I’m studying, I’m actually studying and not just skimming my books or checking out the material, when I’m writing an article for my amazing blog, I’m writing articles and nothing else.

Social media is a great distraction tool and I’m a victim. I get distracted and lose track of time.

To be honest, you will need to minimize social media or use it so wisely and productively if you want to ace your exams.

You will also need to say ‘no’ to people. You don’t have to help every body and teach everybody tutorials. You don’t have to attend every program or every church service.

It’s also very important to know how to procrastinate wisely and
how to multi-task as well.
Time management is the underlying secret behind a balanced lifestyle.

CONCLUSION:
Believe me, there’s a lot more than the 5 points I highlighted above.
But the beautiful thing is, with the points above, you’re good to start and the rest I didn’t mention, you can always find out yourself.
And when you do, don’t forget the girl over here that is always eager to learn from you as much as you love to learn from her.

The truth I want you to take home is that it’s possible to be a balanced wholesome student. It’s so possible to achieve a very good grade and still stay happy and healthy. I have friends like that and I can say, I’m one too and who says you can’t too?

This is where I sign off and say, ’till next time! check out my blog and leave a comment if you have any questions or contributions!’

Thank you for reading 🧡

Elizabeth

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14 Comments

  1. To keep it simple, this is awesome. Not that I was expecting less from the writer. I didn’t read the article the moment I learnt ‘bou it, I reserved it for the moment I’ll need inspiration.
    Thumbs up Ore! Keep on inspiring me.

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