I can attest to this old adage yet timeless saying with my personal story of my academic life in the university. Finding an honest person in the institutions of higher education is like searching for a lost needle in a bundle of hay. It is a rare commodity among the many a university students. People in this part of the world use whatever means and ways to achieve their ends. Top on their priority list is passing end of semester exams with least effort expended. My classmates who cared less about their academic success rarely committed their precious time in matters to do with books. They could be spotted watching the latest movies; passing their time visiting places and while others party. The main objective of their coming to a university campus is pushed to the back banner. They consider passing their exams as the least matter of concern to them.
Since I was among those who have been branded the ‘bookworms of the class’, I could burn my midnight oil burying my head in books. This was no matter whether the semester was young or ripe for exams. Library had been my place of building my future and the nation in the small way I knew. I knew that honesty is the best policy if I we to succeed in the university and in life. I could study the course notes and read beyond and above the course outline. This would build a firm base for my passing strategy when exams were at hand. I could engage with other book wormers discussing and reflecting on lecture notes we had put down earlier on. We could then critique some theories and fault some academic arguments put forth by various scholars.
This widened our learning scope while making our curious minds to internalize every small detail we had learnt in class. We did this small group discussion on a daily basis unless when term papers were many. This we could reschedule our academic meetings to be twice a week.
With the above firm foundation, I was ready for anything to do with academic dimension. I remember an incident when a lecturer who was everyone’s favorite decided to give us an impromptu continuous assessment test (CAT). This was the defining moment, since most people had known him to be ‘somebody who cannot go over board and unilaterally make such drastic decisions’. Consultations had been part and parcel of our class culture! But, truly waves do change with no warning! He went on and wrote a three-sentence question to be our CAT. Everyone in class except the book wormers was a worried lot. I knew I had been reading that course since he introduced and thus, I was ready to give my best in the CAT at hand.
People were caught off guard; what with many of them unaware of even the last topic we covered the last. Mark you, the CAT carried 30 marks! These are no marks to be overlooked. I did the CAT and unsurprisingly, to me, I scored 29 out of the possible 30 marks. In my usual calm nature, this was no achievement since I had been reading. But to the majority, they were shocked beyond belief now that they dismally performed with each scooping an average of a paltry 5marks! Book wormers had the day smiling!
I kept my momentum of reading within and without the confines of the semester courses. When the final end of semester exams commenced, everyone I know of in my class were armed to teeth with the (unauthorized material one uses to gain unfavorable advantage during exams.) These were mostly minute notes covering everything we had as class notes .But I had my arsenal ready. This was in the form of internalized perspectives of concepts and gist of each and every course we had studied that semester. I gave my best in those exams, which were my third year exams in the university! During that exams, around three of my classmates were caught ‘in the act’ of cheating in exams. They were instantly instructed to pick their suspension letters from the Department’s secretary. As a matter of university policy, it is an offence to be caught using any unauthorized material when in examination room.
When the results were out I had 10 straight As with 3Bs and 1C.This can be confirmed in my third year transcript. The’ other guys’ had their results they deserved, which in many instances were not anything to write home about. After those sterling results I was awarded the post of being a class representative and I commanded respect from all and sundry among my peers and classmates. Since that time I have come to appreciate that honesty gets paid off no matters how long it might take. This is not to say I have not been a honest person. Honesty has been my middle name since my childhood days to date. It is a virtue i urge everyone to embrace and adopt as their life philosophies.