I once had the opportunity to talk to Kunle(a typical university Student)
And during our discussion, I asked him what degree class he would like to graduate with. He opined the first class degree. Obviously(Who wouldnt?)
Continuing our discussion, I asked him why he believes that a first class degree is worth all the gra-gra and wahala. He thought for a while, and gave this salient points:
“Graduating with a first class degree gives you an edge in the labour market. It provides you with an opportunity to get Scholarships and Interniships. It also confers you with a significant amount of honour, self-respect and fulfillment.”
The above points, although succinctly mentioned are very salient reasons for anybody with a sane mind to aspire for this honorary portfolio. But are these points enough?. Are these points worth it?
Firstly, getting a first class degree is NOT EASY (but it is not impossible either), especially when youre in a Nigerian university. The stress, the strain, the heat, the confusion, the unclarity, the strictness is enough to make an average individual just Up and leave (but Nigerian students arent average, are they?). The mere fact that an individual can withstand this obstacles, talkless of STRIVE in them is nothing short of a miracle (No wonder Nigerian students are so God-fearing).
Now, the truth still remains that not everyone was brought up in the same environment, under the same circumstances as these factors go a long way in fashioning who we are so the way we all react to situations differ, just like the way our destinies and what will makes us become successful in life also differ.
Yes, a first class degree confers an individual with all the added advantages above, but here are some of the things that an individual will be losing out on if he chases the first class dream solely
“Having and maintaining a first class degree deprives you of a social life and ability to properly relate with people, opportunities to develop soft- skills(negotiation, dialogue, networking), entrepreneurship experience and knowledge, lack of practical knowledge and technical know-how of your chosen course of study.”
We are in the dawn of a new generation of individuals which will saturate the almost virtual labour force. It can be observed that most fortune-five hundred companies and top world corporations DO NOT EMPLOY workers based on their course of study/discipline in the universities anymore. This is because it has been noticed that studying a course for 3-5 years in the university DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOURE A PROFICIENT ENOUGH TO HANDLE REAL LIFE SCENARIOS which the company deals with, not the simple theoretical models that are being taught in school. It is just a matter of time before the degree class/ academic standing of an graduate also becomes OBSOLETE to these companies.
Please note that I am not trying to discourage the aspiration for a first class, I am just trying to measure its VALUE, is it really worth the gra-gra?