VISION AND SCHOLARSHIP: A CLASSROOM MEDITATION
A LECTURE DELIVERED TO FRESH STUDENTS,
AT THE FRESH STUDENTS’ ORIENTATION PROGRAMME,
THE STUDENTS’ AFFAIRS DIVISION,
REDEEMER’S UNIVERSITY, (RUN)
EDE, OSUN STATE
OYE AGUNBIADE (HON)
RADIO NIGERIA/ THE PROSPECTS
15th February, 2018.
The Founder of RUN, Pastor E.A Adeboye
Wife of the Founder, Pastor Mrs Folu Adeboye,
The Deputy Vice Chancellor,
The University Librarian,
Provost of Colleges
Dean of Faculties
Directors of Programmes,
All Professors and Heads of Departments here Present,
Other Principal Officers of the University,
Lecturers and Members of Staff,
Distinguished invited Guests,
Gentlemen of the press, the noble profession,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
And The Greatest Redeemer’s students!
In the athletic race of life, not all that participate return with laurels. Many run the race but only one wins. However, in the few races of life before you, definitely you have emerged winner in one. And to you and only you I offer my sincere congratulations. It’s not easy to gain admission today because thousands of applicants compete for the few places available in the Universities. I therefore share feelings with some of you who had toiled hard, year after year, trying to get what eventually you have today. I encourage you to put behind you those struggling years and do not think it is time to rest because of the academic freedom you find yourself enjoying within the university. you must build up a strong determination to excel in the new enterprise that brought you to school..
The topic before us is what I have carefully selected as a result of the obvious gap in our curriculum and especially the changing attitude of students to the main business of their coming to school. This I will say is a meditation not lecture, because occasionally I will crave your indulgence to a seeming impossible world which only meditation and not lecture can grasp.
The Visionary and the N.F.A (No Future Ambition)
There is this story of two friends who visited a soothsayer to have a fore knowledge of what destiny had in stock for them. The following conversations ensued:
Jonny and Jimmy: Old Man, how are you? Your children have come to have a peep into the future.
Old Man: You are welcome my Children, may I have your palms stretched out for the gods to see.. (The duo did) Old Man after divination screams in a weird manner and to Jonny the first friend he remarked:
“I am afraid with what I am seeing as the indications are clear that the future is gloomy. In fact you will die poor, and I mean wretched.”
Jonny: (went silent and later asked) “Papa— is there no remedy for this”.
Old Man: with what I have before me—my son, the word is Capital NO….and to you Jimmy; celebrate your Ancestors…. As I see plenty plenty riches for you.
Jimmy: (Acrobatically, Jimmy danced and reeled out appreciation to the gods for the fortune ahead) Papa, you mean I will be rich…! I will have fleet of Cars, own mansions and be in charge of my world…
Old Man: yes you will (replied the old man)
The old man then wished them well as they departed. Jimmy left in high spirits while Jonny returned home cap in hand.
Getting to the streets, Jimmy announced to all that his wealth was on the way—promises of things he did not have. He bought things on credit with the hope that a fairy prince will one day appear to spoil him with fortune.
On his part, Jonny sat still, pondering and saying to himself “NO, I CANT BE POOR! I JUST CAN’T BE POOR! I WILL WORK HARD—HARDER THAN EVER BEFORE AND I WILL DISAPPOINT THE PRIEST. Yes I can farm and if I do it well am yet to know that thing in the whole world that will make me poor. Jonny did not stop at the statement; he made straight for the market and bought a very sharp Cutlass and some seedlings with his last money, and left the village for a very far region. Found a virgin piece of land good for farming and started cultivating different crops. Within a space of five years, Jonny had become a household name; he had become wealthy. Jonny later decided to return home. As he approached his village with the horde of messengers and goods behind him, the whole village trooped out to welcome and then announced him as their new king. Everyone passed by Jimmy in their haste to welcome the August visitor. Who had time to pay attention to a beggar when an important visitor had come to town take a title?
The moral of this story is simple. One man wished himself into great wealth and ended a beggar; another worked his way into it and became a celebrity. Note how they started at the same level of poverty and obscurity and see how they ended totally differently. Make your choice.
Vision is a multifaceted concept or experience and has been defined in an innumerable way. According to Dr Myles Munroe, vision is:
The ability to see farther than your physical eyes can look, to see not just what is, but also what can be and to make it a reality.
Helen Keller defines the same concept in a much clearer way. She says, “the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
From the above we can say that vision is a mental image conceived or constructed by the imagination, which sees farther than the eye (Agunbiade, 2016:36). It could also be described as a spiritual experience with a spiritual undertone. Notice that Keller ranks vision higher than sight and consider her great achievements on earth, despite her visual impairment. That brings us back to the story of Jonny and Jimmy. While both had sight only Jonny had vision. Their story speaks of the situation of many people today who still suffer in the midst of plenty. They know they are suffering but cannot think of a way out. No wonder Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Within each and every one of us is a powerful resource capable of transforming our defeats to achievements”. I cannot agree more.
Scholarship can be defined along two lines. According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (OALD), “it is the amount of money given to somebody by an organisation to help pay for their education”. The same dictionary affords us a second meaning. Scholarship, it says, “Is the serious study of an academic subject and the knowledge and method involved”. It is this second meaning that is relevant to our discourse here (meditation). Similarly, the Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary says scholarship is a “Serious formal study or research of a subject”. In other words, scholarship means academic study, which is what has brought you here from your individual homes
OF VISION AND SCHOLARSHIP
Insofar as a student studies to become a professional in one area of life, then vision precedes scholarship for it is the vision of what students want to become that drives them all the way through. Unfortunately, instead of a vision of tomorrow doing the driving, we see some parents insisting their kids must become something they themselves either became or failed to become. From the foregoing, we can distil the following thoughts:
- Scholarship must be purpose-driven according to the vision of an individual.
· Vision is like the compass to the sailor; without it, no sail can take place.
· Vision is the torch in the hands of a night sojourner.
- Commitment to a well-defined vision leads to purposeful scholarship.
- Vision is the structural design of the future and scholarship its physical building.
TOOL 1: (A short Clip on how the Renowned Neurosurgeon, BEN CARSON was transformed by vision after series of failures)— Gifted Hands
- While vision gives the structural picture, which without no construction can take place, scholarship (now learning) does the building (erection, pillars and finishing)
Exceptional Cases/ other possibilities: There are however other possibilities or exceptions just as you will find exceptions to some academic rules in course of your study.
Sometimes scholarship could precede vision and that is why some of you here may not end up taking a career in what you just put in for to study. Some of you because you will perform so well in your studies will come across opportunities that will swerve you totally to another field which you like and you will still excel. An example is a senior friend of mine who read English at the undergraduate level but recently resigned as an Assistant Attorney General in Ohio in the United States. This means that he later crossed to Law after graduation as the opportunity came because he saw an opportunity to make a career in Law and felt equal to it.
Some of you may catch a vision which may look so modest that you call it Pet Project such as volunteering your service or learning one skill or the other which could later in life mark a turning point in your life like I did towards the end of my 300 level on campus and has brought me this far.
Vision and scholarship walk hand in hand for the serious student. Your vision propels you to work harder so as to accomplish your goal. It will disturb you, wake you up in the night, requiring you to study, and the more you study, the more the vision of what
you want to be becomes clearer or is redefined.
VISION AND SCHOLARSHIP: THE FIRST CLASS QUESTION
I am sure you have heard that the highest grade in the university translates to what is called First Class. By now I know you are beginning to wonder how you can go about achieving that feat with the tales you have heard about the University as a place with Big Books, BB. I wish to add as a matter of importance at this juncture that if you are the best in your former school you need to begin to think about it that in this hall are a good number of best students from their own schools. This is not to scare you anyway but to tell you the kind of competition ahead of you so you won’t at this beginning rest on your oars thinking ‘Am still the champion’. Back to the first class issue, I am glad to tell you to do away with your fears because by virtue of being in this hall with your admission letter in your hands, you have this First class already. It’s a GIFT, generously given to you by Redeemer’s University. RUN by issuing you the admission letter gave all of you First Class. Amazed? That is why you have to understand very well this discourse of vision because now we are trending another level of vision and I will show you briefly how a student offered this gift managed it, and how big the gift was at the point of graduation.
TOOL 2: A GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION/ COMMENTARY OF A STUDENT’S UNDER-GRADUATE C.G.P.A.
|YEAR 1||3.94/ 3.60|
|YEAR 2||3.41/ 3.36|
|YEAR 3||3.23/ 3.09|
|YEAR 4||3.09/ 3.05|
Elasticity of Cumulative Grade Point Average (C.G.P.A)
- It reveals the responsiveness of students to the change in task of one course to another
- The complex the course, the higher the chances of downward sloping
- The more unserious the student becomes, the greater his or her chances of downward sloping
- The more focused you become, the more you are able to retain your position at the top.
You then may begin to wonder how realizable it is to have nothing lesser than this GIFT of First Class at graduation.
One of the resources you will find useful in your study is called hindsight. When you reflect carefully on issues with the benefit of hindsight, you gain foresight into things. This is because what we call the future is a prognosis of past events. To that extent we can say that hindsight is like taking lessons from the past. And a readily available lesson here is picking past questions of exams and tests at the beginning of each new session and semester. The classroom story is told of three boys trying to wrestle the first three positions from a set of three girls. They tried time and again but could only go home with the 4th, 5th and 6th positions. However their desire materialized when a new boy joined their class late for the term. They sympathetically approached him wondering how he would catch up. The new boy surprised them by saying “In two weeks, I will be made for the exams!” Curiously they asked how and he replied “the past questions will do it for me!” He explained “past questions are the fastest and surest way to get yourself ready for exams as teachers the world over are in the habit of repeating their test and exam questions with just few changes” adding “they are all there in the Library.”
To the library they went and surprisingly there in a box lay all the questions for their grade. They made copies and got down to study. As the new boy predicted, during the exam they had many of the past questions repeated and for the first time the three old boys gained an advantage. When the results came out, the boys took up the first four positions, pushing the brilliant ladies behind them. Anyone who would be successful in life, anyone who could use the power of foresight to advantage needs the power of the hindsight.
CONCLUSION: The Ultimate Vision
In my little sojourn on earth, I have found that whatever plan or vision one may conceive, except the living God breathes on it, it may not come to pass. The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:5 that:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (KJV)
That is the word of God to Prophet Jeremiah when to himself he was useless but before God he was a world changer. The point here is you can only know your true worth and become who God destined you to be when you draw closer to your Maker. Just as many destinies are moulded on campus, many others become shattered before they ever find room for expression. That is a fate that awaits people who engage in cultism, prostitution and keeping of bad friends. “Catch Them Young” is the battle cry of many interest groups on campus. Say NO to invitations from
people of questionable character and report any threat from anyone to the Student Affairs Division. In addition, only join approved groups by the Students Affairs as well as the religious groups where you will be well guided especially on how to
settle down and go about your studies.
I wish you the very best as you begin your academic journey and I want to say I am honoured to have had this opportunity to speak to you. Hence, my profound gratitude goes to the school authorities who made this meeting possible especially the Vice Chancellor and Dean, Student Affairs Division and his powerful team. Finally, I want to thank you all for your kind attention.
Thank you and God bless you all!
OYEWUMI AGUNBIADE is a Doctoral student of African Literature, Department of English, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
He is Editor/Reporter with Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (Radio Nigeria), Positive F.M, Akure.
Oye, as a Youth Development Coach, directs The Prospects, where he runs an outreach tagged: #Giving Back to the Nigerian Public Schools# to secondary schools in Ondo state.
He had since delivered Orientation lectures at University of Ibadan (2017), Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo state (2007/2014), Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA (2014/15/17), Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State (2009/2011&16), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (2015/16), Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo (2015/2017)
For more about his lectures and engagements, please visit: www.oyeagunbiade.com
Agunbiade, O. 2016. Discovering and Fulfilling your God-given Vision. Lagos: Soloj Resources Ventures. Pg. 36.
__________. 2016. Tomorrow Begins Today: Reorientation Speeches, Essays, & Narrative. Ibadan: Patrick Edebor & Associates.
Munroe, M. 2003. The Principles and Power of Vision. U.S.A: Whitaker House.
Peale. N. Become All you can be. New York: Foundation for Christian Living.