Academics

Aligning your Academic Year Goals

After catching up on holiday gists and school resumption, Bimbo asked Nancy her friend if she could write out her target results for the new session.

Nancy smiled with a lot of enthusiasm and wrote out all her courses, attaching an “A+” to each of them.

Bimbo picked up the paper, scanned through it and asked her how she wished to accomplish it, and Nancy’s response was; “Well, I’ll just read my books really well. 🤷”

Nancy’s previous session’s performance was below average, and it got Bimbo really concerned. She knew Nancy was smart and so couldn’t understand why she kept performing poorly. 

“Didn’t you read all through last session?” Bimbo asked.

Nancy nodded in affirmation.

“You can’t get a better result with the exact same effort you put in previously.” Bimbo told her simply.

They both sat down and drew a more precise plan, writing out her areas of weaknesses and drawing an improved reading timetable with daily and weekly tasks and drills to assess her.


It is no doubt that most students want to be the best in their classes. it’s pretty much a popular wish. However, as the saying goes, “If wishes were horses, … “😅.

We can’t produce good results by merely writing out our long-term targets. Writing is a first step but, we must also set up daily and weekly goals and plans; and back them up with action.

For example, if one of your goals for the year is to secure 3 scholarships, you might need set up a weekly task of searching out new scholarships and consistently applying for them in order to secure the goal.

We should also consider how the goals we set in other areas of our lives could affect our academics. For instance, I might want to become a professional basketball player or pianist this year and the activities associated with such activities would require a lot of time investment. That would in turn affect my study time and it will then be a matter of setting our priorities right and giving what is important more time and attention per time.

In conclusion, ensure your long-term yearly goals align with your short-term goals and learn to set daily and weekly targets to achieve these goals.

– Janey A

*Featured Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

Academics

Back to School Necessities

Dear Exceller,

Growing up, back-to-school routine for my siblings and I revolved around THE LIST. Our parents usually required each of us to make a list of our necessities for the term which typically comprised of one’s preferred food items, toiletries, stationery, etc. along with their costs.

After we had turned in our lists, my dad would review, screen out the items he considered as nonessentials (unless you are able to convince them otherwise 🤣) and give us the money for the updated list. Each of us would then proceed to purchase what we needed for school.

School resumption prep complete. ✅

School fees and textbooks were considered “higher priority necessities” 😬 by our parents and handled directly by them. God bless all thoughtful parents and guardians around the world.

Now that I think of THE LIST, the only thing that confuses me is why the older siblings usually got more allocation than the rest. I mean, do they have more weeks in one semester?! 😅 One “injustice” that I will NEVER complain about though, is the fact that we the females usually had more items on our lists than my brothers, and as such, are more likely to get more funds. 🤣🤣 For one, there are toiletries that we need, that the boys will never need. So, technically, no injustice in that.

Do you or does your family have a back-to-school routine? What do you typically have on your list? These are the things that need to be put in check and provided before or during resumption.

A need is something that is required to accomplish a goal (something that is important for your survival), while a want is not totally necessary but would make life comfortable or enjoyable. Basic needs include resources that are required for the session such as tuition fees, textbooks, handouts, technical materials as well as edibles.

For some, the necessities may go beyond physical needs to emotional, social needs and otherwise. It may include considerations such as; “How well has my communication skills, academic performance, leadership skills or self-esteem improved, and how do I plan on working on them in the new session?

Whatever you consider necessities for the school year, I pray that God will supply all your needs and also include some of your wants, so that you have enough to enjoy.

If I would recommend two additional items for your list, they will be:

  1. A work planner for your semester’s / term’s deliverables. Highly recommend, especially for students who want to stay on top of all their weekly assignments and other tasks.
  1. A word of promise for your semester’s success. Just as individuals or business executives do establish a theme for their year, christian excellers can ask God for a bible verse that will govern and drive their semester.

If you do not know how to go about this, I am happy to lend you one of my favourites which you can personalize. 💕

“…There is a spirit in man, the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding.” (Job 32:8)

Customize this verse with your name, stick it to your bed corner or your computer screen, and say it to yourself as many times as you need to – while praying, when anxious, when bored, every time!

“There is a Spirit in Jane/John. The inspiration of the Almighty gives her/him understanding.”

I pray that you will have a deep and wholesome understanding of all your subjects in the coming school year; and as a result, stand out among your peers. ❤️

“There is a Spirit in me; the inspiration of the Almighty gives me understanding.

iConfess. theBible
CareerGrowth, Guest Writer, The Experience Series

How I Employed Faith and Other Tools in Tackling Underemployment as an Immigrant and Secured my Dream Job

Friends, in this post, I have the immense pleasure of bringing on a fellow Christian and a blogger-friend to share her story with us! Mrs. Juliet is an environmentalist. After migrating to Canada with her family a few years ago, she faced the oh-so-familiar challenge of under-employment. In this post, I have invited her to talking to us about some of the principles and tools that she engaged in scaling that hurdle to secure a dream job in her choice career. I have also included some bonus tools and resources at the end, so don’t rush off until you check those out as well. 😉

Exceller: Hellooo Mrs. Juliet, it’s so exciting to have you providing content on The Exceller Blog. You’ve been an inspiration to me, being a blogger yourself, and always actively engaging with our posts. How do you feel about sharing your journey with us?

Mrs. Juliet: It has not been easy sharing my journey because it requires being vulnerable, exposing your shortcomings and all that. I am an open book, but I married a very private man which means, I need wisdom in my writing… I trust God that my journey and process as a Christian will bless fellow Christians like me. As the scripture says, Iron sharpens iron. (Proverb 27:17)

Exceller: Before moving to Canada, you were already well-educated and set up for a promising career. Yet, on relocating, there were a few tools and programs that you explored in order to adapt to the Canadian labour market. Could you tell us about some of those?

Mrs. Juliet: I couldn’t afford paid programs at the time, so I went to immigrant training sessions by some not-for-profit organizations to understand how interviews are conducted. I attended the resume clinics. I also utilized LinkedIn to build relationships and I kept applying to jobs related to my field. I also learned how to write a good cover letter which is very important in my field – the ability to tell your story to align with the organization’s need and how you are the solution they are looking for.

Exceller: For the first several months, you were underemployed and in a field outside your area of expertise. I imagine how discouraging that must have been. What top 2 principles kept you persistent in your job search?

Mrs. Juliet: First principle is in Matthew 7:9-11, I know my “now” is not an accident so that scripture is an assurance that the job suitable and custom-made for me will come. Secondly, I stayed connected to the right people who kept encouraging me.

9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:9-11

Exceller: One of the things you kept engaged with before settling into your original career was volunteering. I know that you still serve some of those NGOs. Is this something you would recommend to others in your shoes? If so, why?

Mrs. Juliet: Yes, volunteering is very important. Although, back in Nigeria, it was not something we were taught but I learned from studying in Finland the importance of volunteering. I got my first job with EU for Africa through volunteering at my university back in Finland. All the references I got for my current job were connections made from volunteering and I have met some wonderful people through volunteering.

Exceller: Let’s zone in on one of your principles. What role did your faith in God play in pulling you through that phase?

Mrs. Juliet: My faith in God made me realized that God never fails and even in dark moments, He comes through, and it is always obvious.  I will tell you a little story. I have always been a very impatient person especially when I can get something done myself. I was doing a night job that required us to work as a team and my supervisor was a very stressful one. I was always angry with her. One day we got into serious arguments, and I warned her seriously to the extent that she was so afraid. That night, I remember the Holy Spirit asking me to go and beg her before I can even think of praying but it took me days to obey because I felt cheated.

God takes us through processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing!

I apologized to her, and she cried, she ended up becoming my friend and over time I was able to talk to her about Christ. Few days later we both changed jobs. Immediately, I felt my assignment on that undervalued job was over. Sometimes, God takes us through some processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing.

When I felt discouraged, I cried and sang praise, I let myself be expressive, but I did not lose hope. I kept the faith.

Additionally, the community of Christian friends around me has been a tremendous blessing… I was always connecting with friends who prayed with me and encouraged me and spoke positive words over me especially when I had doubts about myself when I got rejections on jobs that I felt I was qualified for.

Exceller: What are some myths/popular opinions that were sold to you, but which your personal experience helped to debunk?

Mrs. Juliet: I had been told that as a black person, getting a job in my field (Climate Change) will be difficult and also, I did not have any prior Canadian experience, neither did I attend a Canadian school, so I was told to forget about searching for jobs in the climate change space in Canada. However, I stopped listening to them and allowed God to lead me. I got a job in my field and also my role is multi-faceted which has empowered me in less than a year! It can only be God. One advantage we have as Christians, is the help of the Holy Spirit to help us make right decisions even at crossroads in our career and not just in the spiritual things.

Exceller: Wow! Thank you so much Mrs. Juliet for sharing your story with us so openly and authentically. Your journey inspired me, and I am sure it’s the same for all the wonderful Exceller_Readers. God bless you immensely, and I am confident that your path will continually shine brighter and more radiantly.

About Mrs. Juliet:

When she is not working at her formal employment, Mrs. Juliet enjoys spending time with family, serving young people and blogging at My Christian Journey. Do well to check out her blog for other inspiring writings.

Editor’s Note:

Tell me, which of the above-mentioned tools or principles resonated most with you? 😊 Was it persistence in faith, resume, cover-letter and interview clinics, professional networking (LinkedIn), volunteering, a supportive Christian community, partnering with the Holy Spirit, or a mix of everything?!

Did you know that there are over 1250 free newcomer services scattered all over the provinces and territories of Canada? You can find the entire list here, as well as narrow your search to career-related services that are closest to your location .

Other “tools” that you may find effective for aiding your transition into the Canadian workforce include:

  • Obtaining the Canadian equivalence of your overseas education,
  • Acquiring internationally recognized professional qualifications that are specific or related to your area of expertise.
  • Learning relevant technical skills that are competitive in your field of endeavour.
  • Developing soft skills that are required in the Canadian work environment. I will suggest that you do not downplay the relevance of soft skills, especially if you are relocating from a culture that has strong language and mannerism. It is necessary to learn to communicate in a way that your colleagues will find familiar, or at the very least, non-revolting. No pressure, though. 😊 We all keep getting better. Last year, I bought a nice, little book from Amazon titled “Canadian Workplace Culture – Mastering the Unspoken Rules.” I haven’t finished reading it yet, but the parts I read were definitely refreshing. 😊

Note that although these tools seem to be specific to the Canadian work environment, readers in other parts of the world will find usefulness in them.

It is interesting how much can be found from a simple internet search with just the right keywords. E.g., “most in-demand IT skills in Sydney.”

Most importantly, I pray that the grace of God will continue to amplify our efforts and open amazing doors for us.

Cheers to breaking glass ceilings, debunking myths, staying the course, and winning together! 🥂

Academics

My First Quarter of 2022 in Books

It’s been a fantastic first quarter!

I got to enjoy some of the bestselling books I’ve had my sights on for a while; as well as some really interesting fiction! ☺️ And guess what? The video above didn’t even capture all the books I read between January and March. 💃🏽

This is a huge feat, especially because of how busy life gets for all of us.

How did I manage to accomplish that? I am not exactly sure, to be honest. A little of everything, I guess. 😃

I am yet to finish some of the books. Some, I got to read for a second time. I also sped through the audio version of a few. And most of my reading these days are done via my devices – ebooks on the go! But I have enjoyed every bit of the journey!

Did you notice from the video how a certain toddler 🥰 helped to redesign the first page of my “School of Disciples” textbook? 😃

Here’s to enjoying the journey, friends! That, for me, is golden. 💛

PS: I had this post all ready since last weekend. But since I am only putting it up today, could we safely assume that it’s still the past weekend somewhere in the world? 😂

PPS: Anyone who read my 2021 Christmas post “Christmas @ home away from home” will recognize the music in the video. You should check it out. ♥️

Academics, Faith

Friends in High Places

Friends in high places; Angels on assignment. ☺️

Story time.

Have you ever noticed someone come into your life usually only for a season, to play a specific role in your life. You never arranged or orchestrated the meeting. You woke up one day, and they were there. They weren’t exactly close to you, not your bestie or anything. You just realized that they had your back. They rooted for you. They defended your interest at the tables where they sat, even when you weren’t in the room! Or they made you laugh out loud in moments when you didn’t know you needed to. And after their time is spent, they moved on from your life. Naturally. But whenever something reminds you of them, it’s a sweet memory.

I have met some really wonderful people, friends. Seriously. I could never have arranged it, but they were there. And such a blessing to me.

Last week, I was reminded of one of them. Let’s call him MrE.

The first time I met MrE was at a job test. He was also interviewing for a different position but everyone had been asked to wait in an auditorium.

It was a several weeks long, 3 stage Test-Test-Interview process. I think this was around the second stage.

Watch this. I was sitting next to a man who I later knew to be MrE’s younger brother, and as the wait time stretched, we struck up polite conversation. This chat turned out to be very productive, because he let me know that his elder brother (MrE) had told him that part of the assessment would cover current government affairs. I was a recent graduate, and because the role I applied for was technical, I had pored over all my lecture notes as much as you could do 5 years worth of learning in a few days. 😆 So you can imagine my joy at finding out this useful information, instead of being blindsided during the test. I went into flurry of activity, dug out my smartphone and started researching about present government and corporate positions. As time passed, MrE himself would walk towards us and give his brother another tip, which he would in turn pass on to me, and I would also text to my friends who were also taking the tests.

Suffice it to say that before the morning was over, I had memorized loads of random old men’s name and titles, and was ready to pop!

Fast forward to when I had secured the job by God’s grace, and so had MrE for the role he interviewed and he saw me walking in the Institute’s yard. “I know you. My younger brother’s friend from the exam…” Friends, I didn’t even recognize him so I was so glad he remembered. And that was how I made a new friend who solidly had my back for the next few years while I was at the firm.

His help usually came as a heads-up; a very useful information but which I am super grateful for.

  • When I bought my car, he saw it one day and gave me tips for servicing it, and introduced me to a neighbor who would eventually become a mutual friend and my next-door car advisor. Most single females can relate to how useful this can be, especially on the car-trouble days.
  • When I was getting married, MrE again gave me tips about bonding with the in-laws and shared the story of how he met and married his beautiful wife.

I could go on and on.

  • Just last week, he and a few other people reached out to give me a relevant information, and that was when I almost lost it in gratitude. How? How, Lord? How did I get blessed with priceless people as this? I mean, I have left that firm for a few years now, and they still thought of me when this opportunity came?

God bless them!

As I think of it, I pray that my life will be a mega blessing to many people just like this. A beacon of hope. The voice they hear in their head in crucial moments that will move them to the next level. The reason they smile. The reason they believe that their dreams are possible (while I achieve mine! ☺️🙏🏽)

A few years ago, an alumnus visited us back at the Institute; and came to say hello. He had secured a job at a multinational company and was doing really well for himself. He told me that it was something I said that made him interview for the position and I said, What?! He described the conversation we had had, and could barely recall it. I mean, I could never take credit for what his hard work and God’s grace had achieved for him. As I remember it, he was quite focused during his school days. But it warmed my heart that he thought I contributed in that way. It shows how interconnected life is. Blessed people bless others.

Blessed people bless others.

And here in this moment, I’m just super thankful for friends in high places, some of whom we may never see but who are consistently and unfailingly working to make God’s good plans for us possible. 😘😘😘

Academics

SUCCESS & SERENITY

I have written a number of blog posts on academic success in the past but in this article, I am so excited to be drawing specifically from a recent personal experience.

A couple of years ago, I decided to enrol in college for a one-year course to hone my skillset and prepare for a professional exam.

From the onset, I told myself that I was going to excel in the program. I had a lot of motivation for this goal. Firstly, it was important to me to prove to myself and my loved ones once again that if I gave a pursuit my best, I could ace it and bring something beautiful out of it. Also, as a recent immigrant who wished to pave her path in her new country, I wanted my result to be a testimonial to my competence. 

However, there were a few small complications that seemed to position themselves against my target.

  1. I was pregnant throughout the course of the program, having to combine the unique ride that is called “first-time pregnancy” with school work. In addition, looking at the school year calendar, there was the slight chance that I would not be able to complete the course before my baby arrived.
  2. The program I went in for was heavily team-performance-based, meaning that if your team has an A in a project, then you have an A. But if your team flukes, sorry that would also be a Fail for you. And you, dear reader, will agree that human beings are not the easiest to manage.

In spite of these and many other unlisted obstacles, I am glad to say that I did in fact complete the course successfully and even made it on the Dean’s honours list. 

Wow! I was beyond thrilled. It meant so much to me because I looked back to all the times when I was nauseous, sickly or simply worried that I might not actually complete the school year at the same time as my colleagues. I looked back at the time when I performed rather poorly in a test and almost gave up hope of making a distinction in that course. So, you can imagine the ecstasy I experienced when we graduated and I received the congratulatory mail whilst cuddling my baby. God is indeed gracious and He is the giver of all good gifts.

I cannot in all sincerity take credit for everything that went into succeeding with flying colours because I had the kind help of my darling husband, my parents and siblings, my friends, my team members, my other classmates and my professors. In fact, there was a lot that I had no control over. 

However, I would like to mention 3 tips regarding academic success from that experience. It is interesting that the 3 recommendations I have are found in the the Serenity Prayer, commonly quoted thus:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

The Serenity Prayer

One key to success in life is to ride on the things we can change and to rest on the things we can’t.

For exploits in academics and other life endeavours:

  1. Get a strong head start
  2. Add an extra to the ordinary
  3. Rest to the things you cannot personally change

A Head Start:

Getting a strong head start is something I would almost always recommend for any life endeavour. As much as possible, do something early in the game that can influence your outcome positively. The advantage that your head-start gives you would especially come in handy when you hit some murky waters ahead. It would provide a cushion to bounce back on.

In my case, a dear friend of mine volunteered to give me a tour of the campus before school opened for the year. Then she shared with me a tool on excel that I could use to stay organized and ahead on my deliverables throughout the semester, which turned out to be quite helpful as the program progressed.

Getting a strong head start in an academic pursuit also involves getting the required reading materials early on, choosing like-minded study partners, rearranging your schedule and planning your next several months to accommodate study time, making a study time-table, attending tutorial classes ahead of the semester, and so on. 

Getting a strong head start is something we can control, it is a part we can influence. And when we do, we enhance our likelihood for success.

Do the extraOrdinary:

To excel implies that one performed above average, one had additional touches beyond the basic, an icing on their cake. The bare minimum does not cut it.

Back in my first year in the university years ago, my slogan was “My best for God.”

My best for God! 

Four little words so powerful and profound, they drove me to long hours in the library, haha.

I did not share the slogan with anyone. I simply wrote the words in my personal notebook where I could stumble on them and be stirred afresh to work hard.

This time around, extraOrdinary for me meant being present at every single class, no matter how boring that professor was or how much my lower back ached especially towards the last trimester of pregnancy. It meant turning in every assignment, including the ones that had just 1 mark attached to it. It was just 1 mark out of 100, right? What difference could that make? A world of difference, actually. That was the extra in my ordinary.

ExtraOrdinary for me meant taking on a little bit of extra work in the tasks that were demanding, including pulling my weight when a team member was unavailable. It is the same in a relay race (and in most daily activities). If one person drops the baton and the whole team does not complete the race, it ends up being a sad day for all.

I wonder what might be the extra, the little final brush that would ensure the success in your next endeavour. Perhaps a kind word, a reminder email to a team member, or a few hours in the midnight.

The extra is another thing we can change. That too we can influence – the extra in our ordinary.

What is the Christian motivation for excellence?

I have to clarify that doing the extraordinary does not in any way encourage an unhealthy obsession over success, distinctions or fame because our identity as christians is not founded on anything that we acquire or possess. Our identity is rooted in the fact that we are deeply loved by God just the way we are, and this has nothing to do with whatever we have or do. Just loved. Absolutely loved.

Our identity as Christians is not founded on anything we possess. It is rooted in the fact that we are deeply loved by God just the way we are. Just loved. Absolutely loved.

ExcellerBlog

That said, the basis for reaching towards excellence as Christians should be that we want to be all that God wants us to be.

I pray that God will spark and sustain in us the desire and strength for the extraordinary. Sometimes, it gets wearisome. Other times, we couldn’t care less and there’s no real passion to pursue excellence. It takes God to spark the drive in us.

Rest:

Do your best and leave the rest.

There is a tendency to feel worked up over the things we cannot control. We spend a considerable amount of time worrying or complaining about them. But what good does that ever do? For instance, throughout the school year, I often wondered if the dates would align to enable me complete my course at once. I may also have whined a bit the few times when my team members were not pulling their weight, lol. But no matter how long I thought about those things, they weren’t in my power to change. So, I confided in a few friends and my family to pray that somehow the calendar would work in my favour. I did what I could to cover my team’s bases. And God did the rest!

It may look like this last tip is a passive activity in achieving one’s goals but it is an equally important one! Rest. Rest over the things you cannot change by yourself and enjoy divine serenity in the process. Once it comes into your thought to worry you, convert that thought to a sentence of prayer. You may not be able to change everything but God can! He can control seasons, kings, world leaders, inanimate objects and wicked people. And yes, He will control them all in our favour!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6-7

As we launch into a new week and month, may the Lord show us everything that we should do to change the things we can, and fill us with rest over everything we must trust Him to do.

Academics

Exam Fever???

exam

Examination anxiety disorder popular known as ‘Exam fever’ is the emotional, psychological, mental and sometimes physical ill health that students face as they approach tests and examinations.

It is often characterized by a feeling of extra tension, worry, fear of failure, withdrawal or depression, crankiness, lack of concentration, inability to be organized and in extreme cases, real panic attacks.

So, usually you are a cool, calm and collected dude/damsel. But you can’t explain why examination periods are your most dreaded seasons. Some things you learned just grow wings and fly from your memory. Or you suddenly start to feel a dark cloud in your mind, a scary voice whispers to you that you are definitely going to fail! Butterflies in your stomach always dancing kenkediike. Your heart drumming louder than military band. Guess what? Doctor diagnoses that you may be sick with exam fever. *lol* Do not feel too bad because almost every one faces it, but in different degrees.

CAUSES of Exam fever may include:

  1. Lack of or inadequate preparation for a subject.
  2. ‘Crash jacking’ i.e. waiting for only few weeks to exams before starting to read.
  3. Rumors that a particular subject or teacher is difficult
  4. Past experiences of failure

Of all these, I realized that the ultimate cause of exam fever for a Christian is removing one’s trust in the Lord and putting it on yourself. When we depend on our own efforts to succeed and lose faith in God, we mount pressure on ourselves and get into a critical, unpleasant situation. When Peter lost sight of Jesus while walking on water, He started to sink.

SOLUTIONS:

  1. CONSCIOUSLY SHIFT YOUR DEPENDENCE TO GOD: This is very important. Sometimes, our confidence quietly and subtly shifts from God to our own efforts, intelligence and abilities. And that is when we get results that have been marred by pride and human limitations. You must deliberately restore your hope on God in the place of prayer. Praying for your examination is an act of faith that says, “Lord, I have prepared for my examinations but despite my preparations, my hope to excel is on You. Grant me resounding success in this exam, I know that You can and You will, in Jesus’ name!”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In every of your way, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Prov. 3: 5 – 6). Remember that God your Father loves you and is committed to your future (Jer. 29:11). Pray before and after every examination to reaffirm your faith in Him. You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you.

  1. PREPARE PROPERLY: Before each exam, study the lecture notes and practice questions on it. Discuss and solve problems with your course colleagues. This is the way to ensure mental preparedness. There is a fear that creeps in when you know that your brain is blank and you have not learned enough. It is a worse situation.
  2. ATTACK YOUR FEARS WITH THE WORD OF FAITH: Learn and master God’s promises to you as a Christian student. Speak those words to yourself until the fear in your heart is dispelled. Watch for your unguarded moments when those fears come back. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real, so do not believe the lies of the devil. Believe the truth of God’s word.
  3. REMEMBER YOUR PAST VICTORIES: Like David before Goliath, remind yourself of the victories when you met lions and bears in the wilderness. Remember other examinations that you passed. Let those be fuel for your faith. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  1. Eat very well during your exams period. Take a lot of milk if you are not allergic to it. Ensure that your mind and body are working at their optimum. Remember that studying is an energy – consuming activity on your brain and body.
  2. Take adequate sleep. Rest and sleep have a refreshing effect on our minds. Do not let the pressure of what you still have to study prevent you from taking some much needed rest.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy1:7

“…Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.” 1Corinthians2:9-10

With much love from Excellerblog to you, dear reader friend. We will celebrate your testimony soon!

Christ in Technology, Faith

Excellence by Association ~ 2 

I took some time to read the story of the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville who are acclaimed to have designed and piloted the first aircraft. Such a beautiful story. None of these two brothers finished from high school. Wilbur suffered from depression after a hockey accident that he was involved in. But behind closed doors, he gave himself to intensive reading. Later, as newspaper printers, these brothers discovered they were also crazy about bicycles. Then, they worked together to build and fly the first fully practical airplane. Talk about iron sharpening iron!

The people we relate with over time become us. And we become them. The greatest good any Exceller can do for himself/herself is to get surrounded with positive influence!

Be deliberate about your atmosphere and environment! Surround yourself with love. Surround yourself with colour. Surround yourself with green. Surround yourself with positivity. Surround yourself with dreams and vision.

Your eye-sight, mind-sight and foresight are very important. God promised to Abraham, the Father of faith; “Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are to the North, South, East and West. For all the land which you see, I will give to you and your seed forever.” Gen 13:14 – 15. Very often, you need to lift your head and look towards the horizon. Our God is able to give lands for possession as far as our eyes can see!

Faith comes by hearing the word of God inspired by His spirit. Read your Bible every day and associate with Bible loving people.

There are 3 kinds of association that you need as an Exceller:

1. Excellence Mentors: There must be people ahead of you who spur you to greater heights. Listen to them. Read their books. Read their stories. Relate above your horizon. It is not enough to see things at your nose level. 

Be careful however that you do not idolize or worship any fellow human. Remember that we have only one true Father who is God in heaven. 

2. Excellence Fellows: At your level, there must also be people who you partner with to achieve excellence. Study group members. Prayer partners. Business partners. If you are studious and resourceful, you will attract the right kinds of colleagues. Or you can meet those people and request to be their partners when you notice that they are resourceful.

Note that for students, I strongly recommend that in addition to your personal studies, you have a study group with which you discuss course content and practice sample questions together.

3. Excellence Mentees: You must also be willing to give out. God did not design any system to only be receptors but also to be donors. Every organism and macrocosm has the ability to feed and excrete; to be birthed and to reproduce. At every level in your life, it is important to seek those who you will impact with the things that you are learning. That way, you too will grow.

In engineering, we say that a heat engine is a device that receives heat from a Heat Source (Reservoir), converts some of it to useful Work and rejects the remaining heat to a Heat Sink (Reservoir). Be like a heat engine. Be a channel of blessings!

With much love to you, dear reader friend. 

Academics

Tips For Preparing A Study Timetable

“Study to show yourself approved to God…” II Tim. 2:15

A few of my friends have bitterly asked. Why do they spend time studying and end up forgetting during the examinations? How do they deal with the pressing needs of assignments, practical reports, long course outlines and approaching examinations without crashing?

I wish to ask, Do you have a study timetable?

A study timetable is as important to a student as the rainy season is to a farmer, or as a compass is to an unknown-land traveler. In other words, without a study timetable, a student is likely to be uncertain about his academic results or worse still, he could feel completely lost.

The best way to learn in an organized manner and to prepare for examinations is to use a study timetable.

At the beginning of every new semester, it is imperative to prepare a fresh timetable that will cover the work for that semester.

This timetable must be PRIORITIZED. It is more important than your assignments schedule, your surprise tests or other unforeseen contingencies that may arise as the days roll past. Stick to the plan!

Here are a few tips for successfully preparing a study timetable:

  1. List out all your subjects for the semester
  2. Rearrange these subjects in order of importance (credit load/units) and difficulty (some subjects are more difficult than others).
  3. Prepare a template. This should run through the days in a week (Sunday through Saturday)
TIME SUN MON TUES WED THUR FRI SAT
7.30pm – 9.00 pm
3.00 am – 6.00 am
  1. Examine your “academic body chemistry”. This is very important.

You must know the best way and the best time that your brain can assimilate information. Lack of this understanding is the reason why many students give many hours to intense reading but in the examination halls, they forget or perform below their limits.

Do not feel discouraged about this.

Instead, study yourself and master yourself. Then, you can master your courses.

Some students understand at any time of the day. Some understand when they read in the evenings. Others prefer the early hours of the morning.

Some students simply read and they understand. Some read and jot down key points before they can remember. Others have to read, write and discuss aloud before what they read sticks in their memories.

Know your unique academic body chemistry. Read more here.

Armed with this information, then you are ready to draw your study timetable.

For example, if John understands best early in the morning, then he can fix his most demanding courses at that time and the easier courses in the other periods of the day.burning-midnight-oil--large-msg-115465452335

  1. Fix demanding courses on the days of the week when you are usually less busy.
  2. Every day, briefly go through everything that you were taught on that day. Do this as a personal development habit. It aids memory retention.

Experts say that the key to move information stored in your brain from your short term memory to your long term memory bank is to go back to the information within about 24 hours of learning them.

Do not bother to study it deeply. Simply skim through the notes and calculations. This works like miracle. Your mind will draw back scenes from the lecture period as you go through your book. After this is done, you can then go to the subject on your timetable for in-depth study.

The implication of this is that you have to allocate about 30 minutes or less for an overview of each day’s lessons.

  1. Beware of academic time killers. There are some academic activities that will require your attention but are not on your timetable. Deal with these with wisdom.

If you do not take care, you may spend four hours solving an assignment or reporting a practical that you could complete in less than an hour. As important as these may be, they do not weigh heavy on your Grade-Point (GP) and you know it.

  1. Stick to your timetable. Make your timetable Priority Class A. If laziness, boredom or pressure from friends tempt you towards another subject, receive grace to say NO! Do not be discouraged also when you do not complete the schedule for any day. Remember, it gets better. You will get better by God’s grace.
  2. Prepare an interim timetable for Test Weeks and Examination. This will depend on your level of preparedness for each course and the exam’s timetable.
  3. Pray before and after your study every day. Engage the help of the Holy Spirit as you read. He is available to teach you and remind you (John 14:26). Read your Bible everyday too. This will make you wise, wiser than your colleagues, your teachers and the elders (Psalms 119:99).

If you have any further questions about any point listed above, do not hesitate to raise them. The action point is to make a study timetable. Make yours today. We anticipate great news of your resounding success.

With much love,                                                                        Excellerblog

Academics, Faith

Smell Distinction? 

Distinction rarely ever comes by chance.
You can smell it from afar.

Yesterday, I went through a stack of assignment scripts from a topic earlier taught in Chemical Thermodynamics. It was a single question, although it had sub questions. As I went through, I noticed the usual; almost every student had copied the same answer –  set and I got bored of making almost the same comments on each paper. Until I had only about 3 sheets left. I went through the next sheet without even checking the name.

Guess what I saw? A painstaking solution of that single problem on 4 sheets of paper with correct answers!

It was then that I checked the name of the student and my surprise metamorphosed to pleasure. This student had made a distinction in a previous certification that he took. Little wonder. He was aiming at yet another distinction and I won’t be surprised if he nails it.

Distinction rarely ever comes as a surprise.

Let me give you 2 simple characteristics of distinctive students:

1. They Start To Source Information Early:

As soon as the semester or year begins, a student that looks to make a distinction begins to gather knowledge on each subject that will be covered. (S)he gets textbooks, past notes and questions, attends tutorial classes and discussion sessions on the semester courses. They do not wait for the eve of Test Week for intensive work to begin. Rather, from Week One, everything becomes serious. Check out those who watch movies, crash (sleep nonstop) and stroll into school for no reason after 3 weeks and you can practically smell Failure or Average performance at the most. 

2. They Add An Extra To The Ordinary:

Yes, distinctive students try to be extraordinary. They check to cross their t’s and dot their i’s. What makes them distinctive is that they stand out in the lot.

So, practical manuals are reported with enough literature review and some diagrams. Assignments are not copied verbatim although they may be solved in a group. Seminars are well prepared and presented. Examination questions are answered with details and workings are shown.

It looks like some hard work but the more often you do it, the more likely you will begin to enjoy being positively different.

Then, your examiners and friends will smell distinction all around you. Do they have an option? Haven’t you heard that the best antidote to discrimination is success? A distinctive man cannot be stopped!

Distinction requires concerted and consistent efforts at getting important things done in the right way.
“And whatever your do, work at it with all your heart as unto the Lord and not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23

We love you! We want to meet you at the top, always!

… Excellerblog