THE FALLACIES OF DIPLOMA – By Oladapo Eunice Busayo

“Your names are written in pencil”; “you are not yet students of the faculty”. These and othersimilar statements are reiterated into the ears of diploma students every now and then sending shivers down their spine. The chances of crossing over to year two are always a 50/50 thing. Hence the need for all diploma students to gird their loins, as it is usually the survival of the fittest. In the bid to outshine one another, diploma students try out different strategies and methods of reading, researching and answering questions. However, in pursuit of success, some of them imbibe false notions which ultimately lead to their failures. They include:
I was on the merit list so I have an edge over others: This is one misleading belief that some diploma students hold on to dearly. Your name was on the merit list – “Praise the lord!!!” I’m sorry but this gives you no edge at all. This is because unlike your entrance examinations, Diploma examinations are usually essay questions and not multi-choice questions. This means you really have to know how to present your answers. The Diploma class is so different from secondary school, so even if you used to lead your class in secondary school, it is not guaranteed that you’ll cross to Year Two. And God help you if you are a slow writer – you will so read lamentations ehn!!!
I answer questions very well in class: Please note that you are assessed based on what you write in the exam and not based on the number of times you answered questions in the class. So if you are the type that loves answering questions, good for you. However, this is not a one-way ticket to Year Two. Besides, when you answer questions too much in the class, your classmates will spot you and when the results are out, they would have checked yours even before you do. Don’t get it wrong, it is not bad to answer questions in class. Don’t just let it get into your head.
I go to the library every day: This makes me laugh all the time. Please know that some people spend hours in the library and gain nothing. Others go there just to feed their eyes, enjoy the air conditioners and watch other students in their white and black who are truly ‘jacking’. Reading in the library is very good. I love reading there, it is comfortable and you get enough materials there. Don’t think that going to the library everyday guarantees that you are crossing over.You will be really ‘jonzing’.
I make the best notes: When I was in Diploma, I did not make notes for myself. I only had the notes given to us by our lecturers in class and my little jottings which I made while reading. I used to envy some of my classmates who took their time to make really comprehensive notes. It made their work easier. However, this did not take some to Year Two. It’s not about how well and how comprehensive your notes are (although it’s good to have your notes),it’s about grasping everything you read and being able to put it in on paper the way the lecturer wants it.
I have a rapport with lecturers, the LSS president and other mouthed people in the faculty; You will be such a joker to hold on to the fact that being in one way or the other related to a lecturer or being a very good friend of the LSS president or having some kind of affinity with the head of chambers or other mouthed people in the faculty gives you an edge over others. (How implausible!) I remember that some of my classmates were very close to the heads of tutorials – Agbodesi, Ohiri etc. This is not bad; in fact it has a lot of advantages. However, your relationship with them might not even save you if you are just a mark away from the cut-off mark.This leads me to my next point.
I am in a tutorial: Joining a tutorial class is very good. I was in a tutorial when I was in Diploma. Being a part of a tutorial helps you understand how to answer questions prepares you for the exam and keeps you informed on what the lecturer expects from you in the examination. But it won’t give you a free ticket to year two.
I had a 4.0/above G.P in the first semester: This is the most misleading notion that most diploma students fall victim of. They believe that since they had a 4.0 and above in first semester, they are unshakeable and unmoveable (lol!).One thing about diploma which needs to be noted is that in diploma, it is not over until it is over. The Diploma class is a very interesting class.If you relent because of your success in first semester; don’t be surprised if you don’t cross to year two. It will be so pathetic for a person to have a 4.5 in first semester and end up repeating diploma. I had a friend in my diploma days that was very smart. He had a 4.0 first semester but dropped to a 2.something in second semester and he couldn’t cross. He is presently out of the country though (Not everyone has that opportunity).So, don’t relent on your efforts even after a good result because it is not over until the day you take your final paper.
Having said all these, what then should be done to scale through this great hurdle, diploma, so as to cross over to year two?
The first thing is to understand why you are in diploma and then make up your mind to work hard to achieve your goals. This is where your commitment comes to play. Take out time to plan yourself, making your first things come first and the last things last. It is pertinent to note that attending classes is essential as this gives you the basic and fundamental knowledge of the courses and helps you know your likely exam questions. If it works for you, you can join a study group, this could include members of your circle (your close friends).The good thing about this is that you guys are able to rub minds together and this aids learning. You can also join a tutorial (some people think it’s a waste of time though) but the truth is tutorials really help even if you are a guru. Also, make use of the past question booklets made available to you. Answer the questions independently and, if it is possible, give it to students in the upper classes to assess your performance. This way, you get to know the areas of your strength and those areas which you need to put in extra efforts. It is very good to do research on the various topics you are taught and get other materials aside the ones given by the lecturer but do not read out of context.
This is why attending classes are important because you get to know those core areas in which you need to do your research. One indispensable factor which you cannot leave out of the equation is the God factor. Whatever religion you practice, hold on to your God and pray because, success can only come from God.
Finally, I will like to add that although diploma is not a bed of roses, it is also not hell. Diploma can be so much fun if you are doing the right thing and placing your priorities right. So my advice is this – don’t go looking ugly and unkempt because you are doing diploma. The problem of the world is not yours to solve, and looking unkempt will not aid your crossing over (another fallacy). Enjoy Diploma, look good, work hard, pray and you will see yourself becoming a student of the faculty.
P.S – If this doesn’t work for you, go and wash your head because they probably might be following you from your village…(lol) 😀

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