Graduating with a First Class degree is a sweet experience. It is beautiful, amazing, thrilling, awesome and worthy of all the nice adjectives you can think of.

Graduating with a First Class means you scored a cumulative grade point average  (CGPA) of 4.5 at the minimum. It also means you have been found worthy in character.

A First Class degree opens so many doors of opportunities (to the informed). A First Class degree earned well, earns well. But then, here lies the problem... First Class hasn't helped some people. It is common to see students who graduated with poor grades ridicule First Class graduates with difficulty moving forward after school. "who First Class help?", they ask. Why do many First Class students settle for less? Why do many flatter to deceive? Why can't the First Class be translated to everyday practical life and experience?

There would probably be a thousand and one answers to the above questions and its many variations. Students would blame lecturers and obsolete teaching methods. lecturers would blame the government for abysmal learning infrastructures.

A bit away from that, I want to make a distinction among First Class graduates. Not every student who displays the First Class badge is actually a First Class intellectual or summa cum laude in the real sense. First Class get grade o. I'll classify them into two broad categories.

The thoroughly baked First Class: students in this category are thoroughbred. They've waded through the rigours of the academics masterfully. They earned their First Class the right way. No use of 'orijo', giving of bribe, or compromising the system. They've undergone countless hours of personal research and study. They can also apply their knowledge to solve real human problems. All of these attributes put together, and more, have earned them a place at the top. They can sit, dine and converse with graduates of same discipline from anywhere in the world.

The poorly baked First Class: no doubt, they are bright. However, many in this category got their degree by any of the following: sheer luck, schooling in institutions with poor standards, use of 'orijo', giving of bribes, advanced cramming, garbage in garbage out and cheating the system. Many in this category have moral failings. They also will have difficulties defending their grade when called into question. They are the reason why First Class degree has received a lot of bashing from poor students who often claim they can outperform them in professional career responsibilities. Thoroughbred students with second class upper are well ahead of these group of individuals when it comes to intellectual work.

Before I move on, let me give those in this category some advice.

If you earned your First Class in a substandard institution (You know them), save yourself from future embarrassment when you would be put to test, and found wanting. How? Compare standards between your institution and others. If it turns out negative (poor standards), get course contents from those institutions (both at home and abroad) and study. The 21st century has broken whatever boundaries there were to getting knowledge. You can be in the hinterlands of Ebonyi and get Harvard grade education, provided you have access to a cellular network and a smartphone which largely every student own.

If you get First Class by cheating (bribery and 'orijo'), don't worry, it will find you out no sooner. Unfortunately, you can't bribe your brain to rapidly absorb all those information needed to function effectively in a workplace. It has to be a conscious process of systematic build-up of knowledge.

For you to employ cramming and get that First Class, it shows you are quite intelligent but lazy. Our institutions take the blame mostly here. Many lecturers prefer garbage in garbage out during test and examinations. This makes student accustomed to this poor habit. Understand concepts, principles and theories and their applications first (for you own personal consumption and development), before cramming for that sorry excuse of a lecturer.

To those who envy, malign (can't get a better word), criticise, put down, lambast and down play First Class and First Class students, there is no gain in mediocrity. We need individuals with sound intellect to make our country great.

To employers, don't take the First Class of students at face value. Subject it to a test. That way, you know their worth.

Haven said that, strive to get category 1 First Class. It will help you in the wider world.

Pen drops.

The comments section is open for further discussion.


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