Thursday, September 27, 2018

Three Powerful Tips for Effective Use of Time

Time is constant. You can’t shrink, expand or stop it. Consequently there is no such thing as time management. We cannot manage time. Everyone has got 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day. You can't deduct from it or add to it. In other words time cannot be banked or saved. Although time has a direction, its direction cannot be maneuvered. As it ticks away, seconds by seconds, it can never be reclaimed.   

What then matters? What really matter is what we do in time. Our use of time is in our grasp. It should be noted that while we can't manage time, we can manage ourselves to utilize time effectively. So self management is the key to effective use of time. To manage yourself for an effective use of time means learning how to work in time in a productive and profitable way. It is without doubt that self management involves a process of self awareness in which you constantly monitor and manage yourself. Self management makes you accountable for yourself. As a student you have to learn how to use time effectively. This can be actualized if only you learn how to manage yourself. Below are some tips to help you become effective in managing yourself:

1. Identify the difference between urgent and important.

This is about focus. In order to stay focused, you will have to know the difference between what's urgent and what's important. Often times, things that appear urgent are the result obtained from postponing a previous task. So they appear all of a sudden and make us confused. This is true, especially of some students who will want to read a semester course for two days during an examination. You can prevent yourself from being caught up in urgencies if you put first things first. Prioritize and do the important things. Always go for the important things first. As a student some friends may approach you with an urgent need to go see a movie or do something that is against your schedule, before you respond, ask yourself the question: what's important, the movie or my schedule?  An honest answer to this question will help you identify what's important. So be careful not to allow urgencies take over important things.

2. Identify the difference between good and best.

It is easy to choose between what’s good and what’s bad. However choosing between what’s good and what’s best can be arduous. Whether closing the books after studying in preparation for an examination or taking an extra time to perfect what has been read. You see, it is good enough that you have studied but its best when you take some extra time to perfect what you have read. Stick to what is best. Here is a quote by St. Jerome: 

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best. 

3. Act accordingly.

To get the best out of your time, have a blueprint for what you will like to do in time. In other words have a schedule for each day of the week. Follow your schedule by sticking to what is important against what is urgent and sticking to what is best against what is good. Always repeat this process. You could make some significant adjustment, if necessary and get rid of distractions. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Five Powerful Benefits of Reading

Reading is such a powerful thing. It is by far preferable than watching television or viewing a movie, considering the fact that it enhances the mind. Reading will not only make you knowledgeable about how things work, it will greatly help you improve your life. Imagine how reading everyday will improve your academic status and help you learn beyond what your wildest dreams. Below are some useful ways reading can improve your life:

1. Gain knowledge

When you read, you store up all sorts of knowledge. The sort of knowledge you store up can either make or break you. On the one hand, reading good books can positively improve your life while on the other hand reading a bad book can give you bad memories and make you lose focus. This is because having lots of knowledge doesn't make you a brilliant conversationalist or help your job prospects. So it is apparent that the type of knowledge you gain goes a long way in determining how you navigate your way in the world. Dr Theodor Seuss Geisel once wrote:
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
2. Enhances your imagination

Reading will enhance your imagination. Notice that each time you read, let's say for example a novel or a textbook, your mind will be busy, trying to present you with a picture of the scenario or a graphical illustration of what you are reading about from the text. The more you read, the more you strengthen your imagination. Imagination is such a power thing. Albert Einstein once said that:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
Creativity is the product of imagination. So you can become creative by first of all enhancing your imagination through reading. 

3. Reduces stress

It has been shown by research that reading can greatly reduce stress. Reading for just a period of six minutes can reduce stress by a value of about sixty-eight percent. Reading a good book after a stressful day will help you shift gears into a relaxing mood. Psychologically, getting lost in a book can help ease the tension in muscles and the heart. As a matter of fact, getting relaxed through reading is by far better than other common stress-busting methods, such as going for a walk, having a cup of tea or listening to music.

4. Increases vocabulary

Reading is one of the best ways you can expand your vocabulary. There is always the likelihood of learning some new words each time you read a new book. So the more books you read, the more your vocabulary increases.

5. Improved writing

Reading can greatly improve your writing skills. The more you read, the more of a better writer you'll become. In other words, the more you read books written by writers that are better than you, the more you improve your writing skills.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How To Effectively Write An Undergraduate Research Project

An essential requirement for graduating from a tertiary institution is an undergraduate research project. The research project is often done under the guidance of an assigned supervising lecturer. Usually the research is done within the constraint of a student's field of study.
The assigned supervisor serves to receive research proposals from students. An approval of the student's research interest is granted after the supervisor has considered the possible outcome of the research project. In some other cases, the supervisor will be the one to assign research topics to students. In either case, the supervisor is expected to guide the students to the very end.

Research Proposal:
Writing a research proposal can be tedious for students who are new to conducting and writing research papers. The proposal of the anticipated research work is a descriptive overview of the subject to be studied which must include among other things: aims and objectives of the work, research methodology, software and hardware to be employed, assumptions to be made and of course references.  

Research Guideline:
It is incumbent that an undergraduate research project passes through certain phases which include: researching, presentation and print submission. These phases are important as they are meant to help build confidence in the student and also help him or her to be able to stand and defend their research work, especially in the presence of an external supervisor.

Research Paper:
In order to develop an acceptable project write up, the content of your research must follow certain guidelines. In most cases the following format should be adopted:
  • Title page
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content
  • List of tables
  • List of figures
  • List of symbols
  • Research write up (Chapter 1-5)
  • References
  • Appendices (If applicable)
Title page: Just as its name implies, the title page is where the title of the research work is written in full, the author's name and the matriculation number are also written on the title page. Authors department and institution name are written down in full on the title page. Importantly, the title page is where the usual phrase "it is in partial fulfilment of the course requirement required for the award of the (degree type is imputed e.g. B.Sc, B.A, LLB, B. Eng degree). Finally a date is added.

Approval page: This page begins with the author's institution name, faculty and department. Signatures of the supervisor, head of department and external supervisor are penned on the approval page. These signatures are important as it justifies the fact that the student’s research work has gone through proper scrutiny and as a result has been granted approval.

Dedication page: On this page the author can dedicate his or her work to anyone who so deemed fit.

Acknowledgement: This page is very important. On this page the author acknowledges all the individuals who contributed to the successful outcome of the research project.

Abstract: Usually not more than 100 words, the abstract is a very brief summary of the statement of problem, method employed and possibly results obtained and recommendations for further studies. All these should be 100 words in a single paragraph.

Table of contents: The table of content page is like a map or guide to help a reader navigate through the written research project. Consequently it must be done with care and should be edited at the end of the write up so as to ensure that every page matches up with the listed page on the table of content.  The main heading(s), sub-headings(s) and page numbers are listed here.

List of Tables, Figures and Symbols: Although part of the main content. The list of table, figures and symbols is an expanded map of the tables, figures and symbols used in the research write up. The list of tables, figures and symbols should be compiled on separate pages respectively. These lists are meant to direct a reader directly to the page on which the table, figure or symbol of interest is located.

Chapter One: This is where the author introduces the subject by describing the background, scope and research purpose. A substantial amount of data should be presented in regard as to why the study is crucial and worth carrying out. This chapter can be concluded by stating the aims and objectives of the research, constraints and limitation of the study.

Chapter Two: The literature review should be presented in this chapter. An undergraduate research project is usually based on the ground work of other researchers. So the author should present in a chronological order a review of these researches in this chapter. It's an ideal thing for the author to rephrase in clear terms the intentions of the researchers and not to just copy and paste. Emphasis should be laid on the researcher's contribution to the study at hand comparing and contrasting between relevant facts that were left out by past researchers.

Chapter Three: This where the author describes the research methodology. The author is expected to write in the past tense. It is here the author presents a blue print of the research, procedures, geographical settings of the area of study, data sampling and data sources, method adopted and justification. Materials and equipment used should be stated likewise.

Chapter four: In this chapter the author presents, analyze data and result obtained. Relevant charts, graphs, tables and the like are presented in this chapter. A comparative analysis of the result obtained can be made with that of past researches in this chapter. The research student should be very careful in making presentations and analysis in this chapter.

Chapter five: This is the final chapter of an undergraduate research project. In this chapter the research student lays down his or her conclusions and recommendations. Suggestions for improvements for other researchers with a similar bias can also be included.

References: This is a comprehensive itemization of all text books, journals, magazines and other materials from which the author has made citations in the research work. There are several referencing styles which may include any of MLA, APA and Chicago style.

Appendices: Appendices helps back up the research claims. Materials that are relevant to the work but are not included, extensive proofs, official data from a case study and the like should be itemized here.

Vital Tips:
1.     It's an ideal thing to proofread your work after writing. So sit down and pore through your write up by going through each page carefully. Watch out for typos and grammatical blunders and be quick to correct them. You could consult a freelance editor to help you edit your work
2.     Ensure that all the corrections made by your lecturer are effected accordingly. It's a common practice for you to take your work to your supervisor after completing each chapter.
3.     Visit your departmental library and see some of the research write ups of your seniors that have been approved by your supervisor if any. Trace and understand patterns, adopt them to ease yourself of any unforeseen mishap. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Unique Tips For Getting Straight A's In The University

Some students think that getting straight A's in the university is something arduous to achieve. Some feel they don't have the brains to make good grades and as such obtaining straight A's is only meant for some smart folks. In reality there's nothing wrong with your brain. The only problem is, you under use it. Here's a quote by A.N. Wilson; 
Brain power improves by brain use, just as our bodily strength grows with exercise
So get off that myth. Your brain is intact. There is certainly nothing mysterious about getting good grades. Interestingly, many of the "A" students in the university attribute their success to certain practises which they indulge themselves in and not to their Intelligence Quotient (I.Q). As a matter of fact it has been proven that students with high I.Q sometimes struggle in school and don't do well as their colleagues with lower I.Q. Apparently, obtaining straight A's in the university is achievable if only you learn to do the following:

1. Organize your mind

Organize your mind by setting priorities. Have a study schedule plan and discipline yourself to follow them. When it is study time, turn off your phone and any other device that can distract you. How to get rid of distractions has been discoursed on a previous post:Tips for creating a good study environment. Stay focussed and let nothing distract you. Understand that your study time is your business time. Recreation can come afterwards.

2. Study For Long Hours

People who achieve great feats in life are those who push to the limit of exhaustion. In order to get those straight A's, you will have to do the same. In other words you will have to study for long hours. Every successful adventure in life starts with a determination. Determined people are successful people. When you are determined, you will be committed. So be determined to study for long hours of about 4-6 hours a day and stay committed to this. If you practise this and eschew laziness, you will begin to see your grades soar.

3. Stay consistent and don't procrastinate

Reports have often been heard about students collapsing while writing an examination. A major reason for this mishap is because lot of students tend to chunk up a whole semester's information in their brain a week or day to the semester's examination. This can be avoided by staying consistent with study. You are in the university to study, so put in the require time and effort to studying. Do not procrastinate, begin study as the semester begins. Don't wait until a week or day to the semester's examination before you begin study. Studying early will help you ease the pressure as the semester's examination encroaches. Consistency in studying is paramount because in order for you to have straight A's, you will have to cultivate the habit of consistently studying every single day without letting things pile up on you.

4. Contribute in class and ask your tutor questions

One of the ways of maintaining good grades is by having a deep understanding of what is been communicated to you by the tutor. So if the information seem fuzzy, ask questions. Compare and contrast principles which you are taught in class and then contribute. The attitude of asking intelligent questions and making contributions in class will help you develop a keen interest for your study.

5. Teach in a study group

Teachers are learners. One of the ways of gaining mastery of a particular subject, is by teaching it. There are stuffs you know which your colleagues or junior colleagues do not know. So teaching in a tutorial or study group will help you have a deep understanding of the subject. It can even help you come up with great ideas which you never thought of.

6. Take good class notes

The tutor will test you based on what he or she has taught you. Reading from your textbooks is highly recommended, but reading from your notebook is also vital. Your class notes are like maps meant to help navigate your way through the textbook. In other words, class notes are guides. You can draw a line in through the center of your notebook, label one side notes from tutor, you can also add the name of the tutor and the other notes from textbooks. This can greatly help you improve your grades in the given subject. 

7. Test yourself

Self test is essential. Pull out a clean sheet of paper, grab a pen and start writing down the things you have learned over a given time frame without looking into any note books or text books. Doing this will help you build confidence in your abilities. Test your self over and over again. In the process of testing yourself, you will begin to spot out your weaknesses. In other words, you will discover those information that didn't stick in. Review the unstuck information and make them stick.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

[A Must Read] This Is Why You Have To Be Innovative: A Quality Which Every Nigerian Youth And Graduate Must Have

A major lack in Nigeria's educational system is "innovation". The system is laden with crude teaching techniques which have negative impacts on students. Students are constrained to go through University to learn theories which they cannot turn into realities and master the mysteries of calculus without knowing how to apply them to solving real life problems. Consequently many students graduate out of the nation's various higher institutions with no innovative skills. Any nation that lack innovation lacks economic growth, because innovation is the major driver of a nation's economy. 

What Then Is innovation?

Innovation is a process of unraveling ideas and concepts to doing things in a new way. It can also involve the modification of existing models or ideas into better products and services. Generally, the act of innovating brings about new ideas, devices and methods for an optimal result. 

Nigeria's "Innovation" Status Quo

Irrespective of the natural endowment of resources which a nation may have, the economy of any nation that lacks innovation will stagnate or depreciate. The following is an excerpt from the 2004 New York Times archives titled Poor Countries, Rich Resources:

It has become clear that plenty of poorly governed nations, including Nigeria, Angola, Ecuador and Venezuela, would probably have been better off had they never discovered oil or other valuable minerals. The discovery of these resources usually foments corruption, prevents the development of a diversified economy, props up dictators and fuels wars.
It appears from the foregoing that Nigeria is in a quagmire. The nation's dependence on crude oil has not only fomented corruption, it has also murdered "innovation". It's time we looked beyond our natural resources and focus on the greatest resource any nation can have -the people that makes the nation. In other words we have to focus on "us". The catch here is that the most powerful driver of any nation's economy is its people and not its natural resources. This statement is in complete agreement with what Microsoft's founder Bill Gates said in a speech during his last visit to Nigeria at the National Economic Council. In the speech, Bill noted that of a certainty Nigeria has unmatched economic potential, but what becomes of that potential depends on the choices Nigeria's leaders make. In furtherance he said:
The most important choice you can make is to maximize your greatest resource, the Nigerian people. Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive.
Bill's statement is profound. As simple as it appears, it is the solution to Nigeria's ill health economy. The people that makes Nigeria are the driver of the economy. It's like the ancient Babylonian empire, Babylon's economy was rich because it's people were rich. Apparently, rich and healthy people will beget a rich and healthy economy. The converse of the aforementioned is also true, poor and unhealthy people will beget a poor and unhealthy economy. It is then crystal clear that the greatest resource a nation can have is its people. Bill didn't just diagnosed the problem with Nigeria's economy, he also proffered solution to it as presented below:
If you(i.e the government) invest in their(i.e Nigerians) health, education, and opportunities -the "human capital" we are talking about today -then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don't, however, then it is very important to recognize that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.   
If government invest in the sort of education that will make Nigerians innovative and create opportunities for the implementation of innovations, then the economy of the nation will become better. The nation's youths and graduates will become creative and self reliant if and only if innovation is placed on the front burner in their education from the primary to the tertiary level. However we don't have to wait for the governments. It's a dangerous thing to do.  Consequently if Nigeria must thrive economically, then its youths and graduates must become innovative for the following reasons:

1. National and Personal Economic Growth

This has been discussed about  above. Innovation will not only help build the economy of Nigeria, it will also help build yours. You might probably have an idea or a small start up business, if you incorporate innovation you can turn that idea into wealth or grow your business. In effect you will contribute to the nation's economy by downsizing the level of unemployment while building up wealth for yourself.  An example of an innovator is Aliko Dangote who started his business in 1978 with NGN 500,000 (that's about $1,400 today) which he borrowed from his grandfather and is currently worth $11.6 billion according to Forbes.  Dangote who is currently the richest man in Africa didn't just contribute to the nation's economy, he was also able to build wealth for himself. Apparently innovation brings about expansion. Imagine the turnout that will occur if a good fraction of Nigeria's youth and graduates become innovators. 

2. Foster Technological Advancement In Nigeria

There will be new scientific breakthroughs and development of usable and exportable engineering products by the time youths and graduates who are scientifically inclined or who has acquired skills by apprenticeship or has trained as engineers start incorporating the art of innovative thinking into their work. This will serve as a leverage and shape the way upcoming Nigerian students think about their studies.

3. Diversification of The Nation's Economy

By the time Nigeria's youths and graduates start thinking out of the box by incorporating innovation, there will be development of new economic niches in the arts, engineering, sciences and social sciences. This will not only help diversify the nation's economy, it will also spring up great organizations and industries, thereby downsizing the level of unemployment.  

4. It will Prepare The Youths For Leadership

Just as Stephen R. Covey noted in his book The 8th Habit
The purpose of medicine is helping people get well, but if you have bad leadership, you'll have bad medicine.  
A good leader is an innovator. A major failure of leadership in Nigeria is the lack of Innovation. A good leader is suppose to assume the position of leadership with the intention of creating new and better ways of doing things or modifying existing policies. So if the nation's youths must assume the position of leadership, they will have to be innovators. 

5. Increase Globalization

Within the framework of interconnectedness, companies and organizations both big and small that are emerging everyday all around the world have global access. Consequently national boundaries that demarcates business customers are gradually breaking down. This implies that a company based in Malaysia can have access to your customers here in Nigeria. So you can see that there is a stiff competition around the globe. In order for Nigeria's indigenous companies and organizations to thrive and gain leverage, there is the urgent need to incorporate innovation. Globalization is an advantage, so make good use of it.     

Saturday, August 11, 2018

US Pledges To Help Education In Nigeria

US Pledges To Help Education In Nigeria

The United States Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, David Young pledge that the United States has committed itself to help brighten the future of Nigeria's cohesive and resilient communities by increasing access to education and improving learning. The pledge was made on Wednesday in Abuja at a screening of some films produced under United States Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Northern Education Initiative plus. Here are some of the statements made by David Young.

“We at the U.S. mission strongly believe that increasing access to education and improving reading for children helps build stronger communities in Nigeria.

“It also helps build more cohesive and resilient communities and societies and will lead Nigeria to a brighter future.
“We all know the troubles plaguing the Nigerian education system are legion.
“It ranges from having millions of youths who are not in school to the number of students already in school who still cannot read or write”.

UNN, Distance Learning Programmes Has Been Approved By NUC

UNN, Distance Learning Programmes Has Been Approved By NUC

The National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the commencement of academic activities for the Centre for Distance and e-Learning of the University of Nigeria Nsukka(UNN).
Executive Chairman of the NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed conveyed the approval in a July 16 letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the university.
Rasheed said the approval “is based on the validated status recommended by the panel of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and Subject Matter Experts and NUC representatives that paid a pre-validation Assessment visit to the proposed Centre from 22nd to 25th April 2018”
The approval granted the university the authority to commence Master’s degree programme in Business Administration (MBA) in four subject areas namely; Accountancy, Banking and Finance, Marketing and Management.
However, the Director of the CDeL, Prof Boniface Nwogu said the second phase of the programme would include courses in social sciences, Computer Science and Mass Communication at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“We have already developed programme for the courses, very soon we will re-invite NUC for the accreditation”, the Director said.
Prof Nwogu noted that the uniqueness of the MBA programme in the university “is that the course materials are written in interactive and conversational mode for easy understanding of students”.
“We are fully prepared for the programme”, the Director said.
He added that the instructional materials also included recorded video lectures stored in tablets and CDs which would be given to registered students.
“We have a programme that no other existing MBA in this country can compare with”, he said
Nwogu said that the commencement of the MBA programme marked the transition of the University of Nigeria from a single mode institution to a dual mode institution, which, according to him, is the first of its kind in the whole of South-East and South-South.
He described the NUC approval as a remarkable achievement of Prof Ozumba’s administration which would improve quality of higher education delivery in the country and enhance the global visibility of the university

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Have You Considered Apprenticeship As A Viable Career Option?

Have You Considered Apprenticeship As A Viable Career Option?

Universities are been considered by most people to be the aristocrat of the education system. Consequently obtaining a university education could be the best thing that could happen to anyone. Well this is not necessarily true.

Obtaining a university degree does not guarantee a job, neither does it guarantee wisdom. Someone can go through university and remain a fool at the end of it. Apparently, a university degree is not a yardstick for success and it is not the only path to a successful career. 

Have you considered apprenticeship as a viable career option? Apprenticeship can be very rewarding. Some of the world's greatest inventors who have added values to human lives, were once apprenticed to someone. At an early age of fourteen, the greatest multi talented genius, Leonardo da Vinci was an apprentice to Andrea da Cione one of the most successful artist of his day. Thomas Edison who filed over one thousand patents and famously known as the inventor of the light bulb was an apprentice to James Mackenzie the man who taught him telegraphy. America's Henry Ford, the man who revolutionized the assembly line mode of production for automobiles took an apprenticeship at age sixteen as a machinist at a shipbuilding firm in Detroit. It was from here that Ford garnered the requisite skills and experiences which he later used to build his first car. It is crystal that apprenticeship can serve as a viable career option for anyone who is ready to learn by practice. 

Switzerland which is considered as a global leader in strong apprenticeship and work based learning has apprenticeship as a major part of its educational system. As a matter of fact incorporating apprenticeship into a nation's educational system will help combat the lack of inventiveness and skillfulness among youths. It will also make them employable and easy to manage. 

Considering apprenticeship as a viable career option isn't a bad idea. Without any further ado, let's see some of the advantages you get to derive from choosing apprenticeship as a viable career option.

1. It will expand your skill set

Undoubtedly you will gain new skill sets during your apprenticeship. You will gain deep understanding and yourself confidence will increase. Apprenticeship is one of the surest ways of becoming an expert in a given field because you learn by doing. 

2. It will make you employable

One of the major interests of an employer in an employee is "skill set". A university graduate which is not skilled in his or her field of chosen becomes difficult and expensive to manage. Generally such a graduate can be termed as unemployable. This is because many degrees lack work place skills. Many university students upon graduation find themselves stranded and unprepared for the real world. I have discussed in a previous post which is titled: important career tips for college students how college students can start exploring opportunities at the beginning of their program. However in apprenticeship learning is done while on the job thereby building up the apprentice skill set and real life experiences which are the essential things an employer is looking for in an employee.

3. It can help you become an inventor and entrepreneur

It has been discussed above how some of the world's greatest inventors were once apprenticed to someone. You too can become an inventor. Apprenticeship opens up the door of the possibility of becoming an inventor or entrepreneur since it avails one with the opportunity of "learning by doing".

4. It can help you build a career on your degree

Not all degree leads directly to a job. Nevertheless apprenticeship can help you build a good career on your degree by merging theory with reality.