I'd like to make it clear that I did not graduate with honors or the titles Summa, Magna or Cum Laude as my parents or the world would have loved me to. Maybe it would have been nice to have multiple ropes around my neck or stand up for applause but early enough past my adolescent years, I learned (for my own good) that in the outside world, there is no perfect SAT score, or perfect GPA or Summa Cum Laude. Your GPA will not be displayed on your office desk for you to gloat about on the clock, neither will your future boss walk into the office and invite only the workers with Cum Laude to attend a huge office meeting. Nobody will tell you this, because our academic system is heavily flawed and in dire need of a reform from performance-based learning to experiential-based learning. I came to college with the intent of getting a well-rounded experience, as opposed to academic distinction which was once upon a time, my creed. And now, I am thrilled to say that what I graduated with was an amassment of experience, of personal and spiritual growth, of knowledge, of partnerships and meaningful collaboration, of community. These cannot be summarized in letter grades, no matter how hard the world tries. Finally, I'd love to give 5 pieces of advice for any college student or intending college student:
- Don't keep God under your pillow and pull Him out only when troubles arise. Walk with Him!
- It is your strength of character, not your honors roll or achievement, that will determine your altitude.
- Read your college emails!!!! Read or at least glance through them before you click delete. This is the single key that unlocked every opportunity I grabbed in college (not kidding at all and I mean everything!) I used the word "grabbed" because in college, nothing is handed down to you. You have to push through and sort through the rubble, to get to what you want.
- Build healthy relationships and try to meet people with similar interests. In doing this, be genuine! I didn’t use the phrase “establish connections” because what this leads to is students cramming a 3min elevator pitch and sounding like robots when they meet people. Trust me, these people high up there can read into your robot speech and will immediately know that you are merely using them as ropes to get up. Be genuine!!!
- Don’t underestimate anybody. That kid who walks into class half-awake may be the CEO of a start-up company you know nothing about. Again, don’t underestimate anybody and don’t compare yourself to anyone either. You are a work in progress…we all are.
All the best! Emem Okoh