UOL Student’s Guide to First Class Honours - Part 1

UOL Student’s Guide to First Class Honours – Part 1

How to set a goal that you’ll take seriously

It’s been about a year since I graduated and I still recall the feeling of receiving news that I’ve been awarded first class honours. At the time that results were released, I was busy juggling a full-time job while building a business and I started seeing posts from my friends on Facebook about their results. Some expressed sighs of relief that university life was finally over. Some, unfortunately, were not that relieved.

So what does it feel like getting first class honours? I remember rushing back to my office after seeing all the news on Facebook and searched everywhere for my student details to log into the examination results portal. After impatiently banging onto tables and walls because of bloody slow wifi, the results were loaded and I got what I wanted – First Class Honours. I thrusted my fists into the air and my colleagues thought I closed another sales deal. They didn’t know about my results.

The feeling was amazing. It felt like I’ve accomplished the impossible because the percentages of first-class graduates has been so low throughout the years. I felt extremely satisfied about it because I’ve always told myself that I was never good at studying. To make things better, I was awarded the bronze award by the Singapore Institute of Management, marking me as one of the top students to graduate from a tough course – BSc in Economics & Management. I could finally bring honour to my parents who had a crazy-ass time bringing me up as a kid in Secondary school because I hated studying! I was getting shitty grades and my folks were worried nuts about my future. The ecstatic look on their faces when I broke the news to them about the bronze award would never leave my memory. The sense of accomplishment in making my parents proud has always been the highest point of satisfaction for me. Boy, you should have seen their faces on graduation day and when I went up to receive the award.


First Class Honours with the SIM Bronze Award

I hope you see that the joy in being awarded first class honours wasn’t really in the award itself but more of realizing a goal. We don’t need to set the same goals – some people want to get first class honours while some simply want to pass. What’s extremely crucial in UOL, and generally in life, is that we set goals that we think are beyond ourselves. Oh, by the way, my goal was to actually become the top student in my cohort and I did not achieve that. Was I disappointed? Sure, I was. But the fact that I aimed extremely high helped me get a first class honours with a bronze award to top it off.


“When you aim for the stars but fail, at least you’ve got the moon.”

So, in this first instalment of the UOL Student’s Guide to First Class Honours, I recommend that you set your goals and aim them high. Make ‘em really specific. Don’t just say you want first class honours; ask yourself, “Out of 12 units, how many of them do I want to ace? What is the lowest score I will tolerate for every subject? 50? 60?”

When you phrase out your goal, don’t use words like “I want”. Whenever a goal is an “I want”, an “I should”, or an “I think”, it is never a priority. We’ll only work on them when it’s convenient and easy for us. Make it a MUST. Phrase it out like this:

I MUST graduate from UOL with first-class honours because my dream is to work for an investment bank and a first class is going to get me there. I MUST score 5 A’s and will never allow myself to score less than 60 for all other units.

Notice the reason for wanting a first class so badly? When you know your “why”, you will become resilient towards internal obstacles like procrastination, boredom, fatigue, temptation, you name it! Champions keep going when they have nothing left in their tanks because they know that they’re fighting for a larger cause. It could be honouring your parents, getting a scholarship, or getting to a reputable masters’ course. You have to know your “why”.

“When you want to be successful as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

Once you’ve phrased out your goal, that’s not the end. You’ve gotta write it out or print it out on a piece of paper and have it hung near where you sleep. It’s gotta be the first thing you see every morning so that you never use the snooze button. It’s gotta be a declaration – To your family, your friends, your relatives, your lectures, your classmates. You’ve got to put yourself on the line and make it known that this is the path you’re going to take.

Once you have done this, I guarantee that your life will be different. And you would be ready for what I have to share with you in the next instalment of the UOL Student’s Guide to First Class Honours – how to study early the smart way and enjoy exam preparation instead of studying in fear.


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