Upon scoring 124 points in her JAMB exam, Salewa would tell anyone who asked that “JAMB gave me that score.”

It’s the same with Phillip who is of the opinion that anyone who gets straight As in WASSCE must have been helped, or perhaps the school sorted WAEC officials in exchange for the good grades!

But if the truth be told, we know these remarks are simply excuses by students who are reluctant to take ownership of their performance; these ones do not take responsibility for their actions, their studies inclusive.

But how can you be different? How can you improve your academic success by being more responsible? Consider below

1. Be Proactive

You may struggle to connect what you are learning in school today to life after secondary school, especially subjects you do not fancy. Ever wondered how Bearing, The dramatic critique of The Merchant of Venice, or learning new words will contribute to a successful future for you?  You may find it difficult to see the big picture because you are only thinking in the here and now.

To curb such thoughts, you need to remind yourself of the importance of education: how having an extensive vocabulary helps you express your thoughts and opinions better, a skill that is valuable in the boardroom and while giving presentations; and how applying yourself to deep cognitive reasoning will help you find solutions to problems that you WILL encounter in work and life.

Seeing practical ways in which education can improve the standard of your life both now and in the future will help you take ownership of your studies.

2. Get Help When Warning Signs Appear

Poor organizational and time-management skills, falling grades, missing assignments and displays of anger and frustration are all signs that you are struggling and need help.

What should you do?

  • Speak with your parents or mentor about the challenge, and have them walk you through the steps on how to resolve it
  • Do not put the blame on anyone else – not Mrs Morankinyo, because she hates you; JAMB, because they want you to spend your money buying another form; or WAEC, because the are wicked people. Instead, take responsibility and work with others on how to solve the problem
  • Understand what’s causing the apathy. Is it something happening in your personal or family life? Could it be your learning style? Whatever the case, ensure to find out what it is.

3. Get Motivation

  • Understand that others are simply there to offer you guidance, while YOU ultimately have to do the work! So, take ownership by talking to your teacher(s) before others step in.
  • Do not be afraid of making mistakes, or think that temporary failure or setback is the worst thing since small pox. They offer ways of looking at problems differently, and helping you know what not to do a second time.
  • Praise yourself for the effort you are making at improving, and focus not only on grades but on the process – that is, the work ethic and organisation you are deploying towards achieving your goals.

Keep in mind that we all struggle with challenges in our lives, but it’s hard work and determination that really allow us to overcome these difficulties, and it is this sense of hard work and determination that are the hallmarks of getting an education.