As a typical Nigerian, 9 years in nursery-primary school, 6 years in secondary school and 4-6 years in the university. In the sense of it, that is 15 years of being trained to be proper as a young individual and then 4-6 years of being given the freedom to choose to be properly excellent or properly dull in life. Having a streamlined mentality about a school will not open you up to this truth. Being properly excellent entails much more than being academically inclined. If you have really not found this to be true, well, you are only late!
Even in the context of being in a university, an excellent student is not the one who ONLY knows how to achieve all his academic goals and be at the top every time grades are released. On a more holistic scale, an excellent student is one who will:
Be Discerning – In the sense that he is able to see and recognize the minds, ideas and opportunities locked up within his own environment (the people around him). Beyond just seeing and recognizing, he is able to understand and bring to light these things which are shadowed by the things that every other person (who can’t discern) can even see. This brings up the notion that not everyone can discern and not everything can be seen without discernment. Yes, that’s true! The ability to discern is that which every student must imbibe and inculcate. So many things are superficial just as so many things are hidden, not deliberately but that’s just how it is: many things are hidden! Ideas are not seen the same way you see cars on the road. Opportunities are not seen the same way you see animals moving about. In fact air is not seen, it can still be felt by the skin but wisdom is not seen with the eyes nor felt by the skin, it takes only discernment to see wisdom at work! And so, many other things are hidden, both good and bad!
Why should a student be discerning? Not all things are superficial or physical. Better put, not all the things a person needs to have or run away from can be seen or felt, many of them are only discerned by the mind! So for the excellent student, he should be able to discern those things around him that will be useful for him but are not physically available as an entity but are hidden, not in things but in people! Yes, in people- your association and even people that you have not even moved close to yet. In fact, discernment will help you make the right association. You need to discern your environment!
Be Open-minded But Not Gullible – what will enhance your discernment is if you are open-minded, if you are a person that gives space for people to come around you. This will help you to attract people to yourself- both good and bad! Also, being open-minded will help you to welcome the idea of getting to meet new people, make new friends. If you are gullible, you will be easily taken into the wrong place and you will also allow the wrong people in your life. Be open-minded but don’t be gullible while doing that.
Be Responsive – In the sense that your open-mindedness makes you to allow communication: listening and talking, but more of listening. Listening is part of the active responses you give to a person. Why should you give communication a place? Remember that a lot of things are not physical but are hidden in people. So if they are hidden in people, how do you discern those things? Discernment does not mean it has to be some sort of high spiritual thing in this sense. People speak and when they speak, they spill wisdom and ideas! For a student who will be excellent, he must be ready to communicate because in communication, not only words are released, ideas and wisdom are released. They come out in form of words but they carry the essence and entirety of ideas and wisdom. Discernment then will help you to recognize these things while you communicate with people. You can’t cut out ideas from people, they have to be able to speak those ideas out. Even if a person is arrested and being interrogated in order to get information from him, he is made to SPEAK, else there will be nothing to get from him and then the process drags on and on. The most essential part of communication is listening to understand and not listening to reply. Be responsive. your response to a person who has ideas and wisdom is to open the line for communication.
Be on the Lookout – There is not much to talk about here as it should have been implied above. Be on the lookout for ideas that drop during communications. Don’t just be passive. That’s why listening is the active part of communication. It is the most important part of communication! When you are communicating, you listen so that you can understand and it is in your understanding that you are able to pick different ideas, ideas that can lead to opportunities for you. Always be ready to learn from people. This will entail that you are in a position that makes you believe the best of people, a position that makes you identify gifts and talents and also to appreciate them. If you can’t identify talents, if you don’t see the best in people, how do you want to build expectation to receive from people? Be on the lookout: have expectations. This does not mean you place people in a very high pedestal and be expecting them to supply all you need to be a better person. No! you are just expecting to be blessed by your communications and associations and as a result, you are attentive and on the lookout for those blessings to drop!
Be Proactive – Don’t be passive, when things drop or when you discern wisdom and ideas and opportunities, be on your feet and work to build on them. Don’t wait till ideas grow on you, rather grow the idea. When opportunities drop around you, be attentive to see it and pick it up and build on it. Prepare yourself in advance! Work towards those communications! Meet people. Envision where you are going and open yourself up to people around you who have wisdom in that area, people who are vast there, people who are succeeding there and work towards talking to and more important listening to them. Be proactive! Be on your feet and take the steps, don’t wait for a push from behind, build the momentum from within you. Let your thoughts see in advance and then let your actions do!