Introduction To Achieving Academic Excellence.
Firstly, starting with the keyword, “excellence” is the quality of being of the highest quality, being splendid, outstanding, or extremely good. It is the condition of being superior. *Academic* on its part refers to all things relating to education or study. While “education” is simply a formal system of learning and acquiring knowledge. Put together therefore, “academic excellence” is the quality of positive exceptionality and superiority in any given educational setting. It is the demonstrated ability to perform in scholastic activities.
Academic excellence as of today is of high demand and rating in the world economy. Because of this, it has become the pursuit of all individuals. It’s high value has set a rat race in the minds of youths, causing them to develop the wrong notions and ways of pursuit as pertaining to academic excellence. Given that grades and assessment results are the declared patterns for determining academic excellence, many have resorted to wrong methods of improving their grades to reach the required standard of excellent performance recognized in the scholarly society. These wrong approaches include malpractice, giving and taking of bribes, cheating, favoritism, e.t.c., therefore, it becomes important to know what real academic excellence is.
Academic excellence is not necessarily the grades or recognition of performance in a general or fixed standard of assessment protocol. Academic excellence truly deals with the ‘intellectual stuff’ of an individual; the extent to which one knows and is able to defend his knowledge and apply it in a real life situation. It centers on the true worth of a persons carefully and deliberately acquired knowledge and the wisdom developed due to such knowledge. If academic excellence is true, it should be intelligent, innovative and practical.
Academic Excellence and Society:
- Academic excellence is vital in the grading of any society.
- A society in which all youths are in a proper educational system, and there is high level of academic excellence is a growing or booming society. The opposite situation results in an underdeveloped society.
- The quality of students academic excellence from a given society weighed on a global scale shows the level of development of that society.
- High academic excellence signifies high civilization and greater economic and national growth, this is because the upcoming generation being enlightened provides the nation with better leaders and citizens who improve on nation building, policies, strategies and all-round development.
- Academic excellence goes a long way to determine a nations position among others: first world nations, second world nations and third world nations. It directly affects economy and betterment and so therefore should be vigorously pursued.
Achieving Academic Excellence:
- Education has various levels such as preschool, high school and tertiary institutions; but in all, the important determinants of academic excellence are: Hard work, perseverance, goal setting, determination, discipline, putting off distractions and faith in oneself and in God.
- Hard work and Perseverance: hard work in academics is inevitable and involves deliberate study and discipline. And in hard work, perseverance is required in the face of challenges. As it’s said by Sir J. Reynolds, *’excellence is never granted a man but as a reward of labour’*.
- Goal setting and Determination*: a goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person envisions, plans and commits to achieve. A goal has a deadline or a viable duration. In academics, it’s important to picture your goals and write them down. Note the hindrances to achieving your goal and set standard and plans to overcome them. To do these, you must have true determination.
- Discipline and Putting off distractions*: ‘according to the Oxford dictionary, discipline is a method of training your mind or body, or of controlling your behaviors. If you must succeed, then you must be disciplined. You must set yourself under control. Distraction is a constant in every life, but you can control your mind and body through discipline and distractions will be easy to handle. Set your tongue, emotion, sleep, feeding habit e.t.c. under control so that you can read and attain success’,(Vivian C. I., 2013, Securing Your Future).
- Faith in oneself and in God*: Faith in oneself and in God is needful on the path to excellence. It fights off discouragement and inferiority and helps build strength in times of challenges.
Nuggets Of Academic Excellence:
There are three simple nuggets that spur academic excellence in an individual, they are: Your mind, your faith, and your character:
- Your Mind: Your mind is a great weapon to achieving academic excellence. Your mind was designed by God to help you achieve whatever you desire as long as you can envision it and work toward it.
‘One of the first things you must learn to do with your mind is to focus it on the right thing. When you focus your mind, it helps you to direct your energies and bring them to bear on a particular thing’ ( Chris Oyakhilome, 2016, The Power Of Your Mind).
Your mind can help you to read better by reading with your mind’s eye, envisioning and imagining so that recalling what is read becomes easier.
- Your Faith: This refers to your strong believe in God and the possibility of your success in academics. Some people develop the mindset that academic excellence is not their ‘thing’ due to background or past experience. This is detrimental. It’s therefore important to have faith in your academic pursuit in order to achieve it.
- Your Character: This involves your attitude when pursing a goal and your mindset about the goal in pursuit. Your mindset determines the failure or success of your pursuit. You must be knowledge minded and pursue the mastery of your course. You must not destroy others to attain success. You must put off procrastination and put on the right attitude to work.
Factors that affect academic excellence include: career choice and interest, company of friends, environment, fear and psychological limitations.