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Failure is real. Nobody likes or desires it, but most people earn it. It is a bitter pill to swallow. A student who has not successfully passed all his subjects/courses with the needed requirements may be asked to repeat the class, given an extra session, bag a carry over, asked to withdraw from school or graduate with low/poor grades. Every student dreads failure because of these outcomes.
This Blog has been addressing issues on how to pass exams without tears, but it would not be worthwhile learning how to study for exams without first identifying what failure is, its causes and how to avoid it. A football player who is very good at dribbling goalkeepers and scoring goals but does not know when he is offside or what foul or free kick means, will end up achieving nothing.
In this Blog, some possible causes of failure, which are very common among students, will be discussed and suggestions given on how to avoid them. Do not be afraid to admit any truth found in the next few pages of this book. Do not shy away from them or pretend they do not affect your studies. Do not begin to think of people whom you know engage in them, condemning them and justifying yourself.
The human mind likes to shift blame on others; but this will not help you. Sit down and see how it affects you, then take necessary steps to make amendments. It is not enough identifying the causes of failure, but finding lasting solutions to them is more important. The causes of failure are discussed in this part.
One important reason many students fail, perhaps the most common of them all, is their absence from lectures. There are topics in some courses that are better understood when taught than read. Such topics pose problems to students who miss lectures or practical.
Some students deliberately miss lectures for no just reason, consoling themselves with the hope of reading through the notes copied by friends or reading on their own from textbooks. Some students miss laboratory practical because they do not see any reason they have to attend them. They consider it a waste of time. Some others avoid lectures because they think they already know what the lecturer is going to teach.
The students should know that if attending lectures and practical is time wasting, the school authorities would not have added them to the school curriculum. Attending lectures and practical is for the good of students, not for the benefit of the lecturers. Any student who wants to be successful must take it as a very cogent part of his stay on campus because it will decide, to a very large extent, how successful he/she will be as a student.
Another major cause of failure is the refusal to do assignments. The essence of assignment is to get a better understanding of topics taught and to gain a wider scope of it. Teachers have limited time to teach all that students need to know during school hours, so they give assignments.
Practicing these assignments will open the students to technical problems which the teacher could not solve in class due to limited time. Students who take their time to study such assignments and succeed in solving them will have a clearer understanding of the topic. This gives them an edge over those who refused to do these assignments.
Most students’ attitude to assignments is very discouraging. Very few students take time out to do them. Some, on the morning of the submission date, hurriedly copy from those who have already done theirs, while others completely neglect these, seeing them as unnecessary. Some students have the habit of submitting theirs after the designated time and date. These assignments are recorded as part of continuous assessments of students. Failure to do them or failure to submit them on time unconsciously contributes mostly to students’ failure in school.
The marks allocated to these assignments may not be much, but students need to understand that these little marks, when summed up, will go a long way in determining their success. So, it is worth having. Like the saying, “little drops of water make a mighty ocean”, so also, little drops of these marks, a little here and a little there, contribute a lot to students’ final result at the end of the semester.
Students generally dislike their lecturers for their strictness, harshness, nonchalance and dreadful disciplinary measures. Students fall in love easily with lecturers who are jovial, hospitable, accommodating and who can condone anything, including insults.
The unserious students, especially, would prefer that a good number of their lecturers be cooperative and shut their eyes to their lack of seriousness. They would like their lecturers to pamper them, accommodate their laziness, absence from lectures, refusal to do assignments and unruly behavior in class, without raising an eyebrow. Such a lecturer who will spare the rod and spoil the child will be voted as the ‘Best Lecturer of the Year’ by so many of the students.
On the contrary, a lecturer who refuses to condone nonsense is seen as wicked, harsh and too strict, thereby creating hatred in the minds of the students. When students hate a lecturer, if care is not taken, the course he teaches may be hated as well. This will invariably results in student’s absence from his lectures or refusal to do assignments given by him. The consequences of these have been discussed above.
All students must come to the understanding that no matter how strict a lecturer is, the aim is to bring the best out of his students and not necessarily because he is wicked. He is not trying to make life unbearable for them. Until students know this, they may never come to terms with such lecturers and this may be detrimental to their progress in school.
The truth is that most of these lecturers also have children at home who are students and their conscience will not allow them to do anything that they will not want done to their children. They are not sadists.
(To Be Continued)
Sam. O. Salau
(Africa’s Leading Author On Campus Issues)

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