How to Succeed at the Next Level–Tertiary Institution Experience




The Director, Engr. Kalu Emole Kalu Onumah

The Proprietress, Mrs. Zovannah Onumah

The Senior Coordinator, Mr. Bright Adawisi

Other Coordinators and Teachers of this great Institution

Our dear Parents

Graduating Students


At the very outset I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Management of Dority International Secondary School for inviting me to this occasion.

I consider it a great privilege and honor given to me as an alumnus of this school.

It is said that reminiscence of the past should be done as long as it gives pleasure and happiness.

And this is what exactly happens with me when I remember my Alma Mater…. a place I left about 24 years ago.

I am very grateful to my parents for having chosen this school, which even after about 30 years of its existence still stands rock-solid to its motto, ‘Sursum Ad Summun, meaning – Rise to the highest.

We are assembled here today to celebrate excellence.

This is rightly so, for this institution has been an epicenter of academic excellence.

It has been the cradle that fostered the development of men and women who have gone on to be Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, leaders in businesses, science, arts, technology, sports and civil society.

In an era when crassness, crudity and mediocrity seemingly rule all aspects of our social and cultural expression as a nation, I am extremely proud to be associated with today’s celebration of achievement.

The first thing that strikes my mind reminiscing my school days is all about activities and tons of activities, apart from academics.

I, as a young lad, spent most of my time in school taking part in different extracurricular activities, sports, technical projects for Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS), Social activities, going to the library, cleaning and tidying up the premises, painting and washing the classrooms every Friday.

I want you to understand that you are blessed and privileged to be here.

The glory of God is equally given to everyone, we all have similar brains and the fact that you are standing here means that your parents love you and are supporting you fervently, moreover, those wonderful and caring teachers are still here, therefore I say to you: YOU CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO, IF YOU SET YOUR MIND TO DO IT.

Dear Graduands, I believe the question in your minds right now is – How do I succeed in the next level; the tertiary institution experience.

The biggest lesson I have learnt in life is how to discipline myself.

I mean, self-discipline has a greater meaning and wider connotation.

It’s not just merely coming to school in time, it’s more about; disciplining your body, mind and soul. In other words, discipline yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.

I always harp on the saying that “Discipline is the Foundation for Knowledge”, however much of knowledge you have, would be of no use if you didn’t have discipline.

Remember, when you are in college, your parents are not there to guide you.

Visualize yourself constructing a building called knowledge, on the concrete foundation of discipline.

If the foundation is weak the building may collapse over time.

Therefore, the first step in succeeding in the next level is self-discipline.

Just like discipline, attitude is another factor that determines success in college.

One student gets up with the alarm clock and cheerfully prepares for the day, planning to study for a couple hours between classes, go jogging later, and see a friend at dinner.

Another student oversleeps after partying too late at night, smoking and taking lots of alcohol.

He decides to skip his first class, somehow gets through later classes fueled by fast food and energy drinks, while dreading tomorrow’s exam, and immediately accepts a friend’s suggestion to go out for another party tonight instead of studying.

This is a typical situation of two students in a tertiary institution.

Work to stay positive and surround yourself with positive people, and you’ll find yourself motivated to carry out the activities that will help you succeed in your courses.

The third step in succeeding in the next level is making a good career choice.

During our career day in school, we didn’t quite know what we wanted to do with ourselves once we left school. At that time, we didn’t have much of a choice.

Either you became a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer or Accountant.

It was easy to choose any of these courses.

However, getting the required Jamb score could keep you at home for more than five years.

I chose to become an Engineer because of my love for mathematics, and I have never regretted my decision.

Therefore, my advice for you today is to know that it is very important for you to do what you like to do.

Some of us have a passion for a particular thing or a special skill which we have developed over the years.

Each individual has different goals, talents, interests, and values. In other words, there are certain careers each individual should not pursue and others where they’d excel and be satisfied.

Every career needs skills, but some more than others.

Sales and Marketing, nursing, teaching and investigative reporting careers need you to be great at communication.

Being a sports coach or a firefighter need you to have a level of fitness and you’ll enjoy these careers if you enjoy physical activities.

Determine what you would enjoy and excel at by taking career assessments tests, receiving career counseling, and conducting thorough self-evaluation.

If you’ve assessed your strengths, skills and interests, you should have a list of careers to think about.

Gradually narrow down your list of careers.

Aim to choose careers that match your qualifications so far (or pick them if you genuinely want to build up any needed qualifications over time).

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – you can always do extra courses or learn part-time if you need to.

While we try to choose a course based on our love for one subject or the other, we shouldn’t forget that having a skill is very important, as your skill could bail you out in future.

We spent quite a lot of time in the DISS Library reading anything that caught our interest.

This helped us to widen the sphere of our knowledge and to understand things better.

Every day we learned something new and did something productive and never wasted time.

Dear graduands, I didn’t do things alone, we worked as a team. We had very good teams within the class, with parallel classes.

As pioneers, we had no senior classes.

However, we had juniors and dedicated teachers.

We had a good rapport with everybody, and United we stood.

The reading habit helped us greatly as we progressed in life.

Studying moves us closer to success in a difficult course, while sleeping and not studying may completely prevent us from graduating.

Successful students have goals.

If you want to succeed in the next level, you must have a goal.

A goal is a result we intend to reach mostly through our own actions.

Students who have long term life and career goals see the tertiary institution as one step towards achieving their goals.

This can set a purpose and a direction for students.

It can increase students’ day-to-day and semester-to-semester motivation because they see that each course is part of a greater whole that will help them in the future.

This can also help with persistence, with keeping at it when things are tough.

There will be challenges during your college career.

There may be times you feel like giving up or you just don’t feel like going to class, reading your textbook, or writing that test or exam.

Having that purpose, that long term goal can help you decide to move past that challenge and keep going. We call this resilience.

Finally, thinking about your goals gets you started, but it’s also important to think about priorities.

We often use the word “priorities” to refer to how important something is to us.

We might think, this is a really important goal, and that is less important.

Maybe you give top priority to passing your courses and medium or low priority to improving on your piano skills.

So what does that mean—that you never play piano again, or at least not while in college?

What about all your other goals — do you have to ignore everything that’s not your top priority?

And what happens when you have to choose among different goals that are all on your top priorities?

The question of priority is really a question of what is more important at a specific time.

It is important to do well in your classes, but it’s also important to have a social life, learn your piano and enjoy your time off from studying.

You shouldn’t have to choose between the two — except at any given time.

Priorities always involve time: what is most important to do right now.

Time management is mostly a way to juggle priorities so you can meet all your goals.

When you manage your time well, you don’t have to ignore some goals completely in order to meet other goals.

In other words, you don’t have to give up your life when you register for college—but you may need to work on managing your life more effectively.

Dear graduands, the valuable lessons which have been instilled in us by our wonderful school have also brought me to where I am today.

I wish you all the very best in your future endeavours. ‘May you sail in the ship of ambitions and anchor in the harbour of success’.

You can be great scientists and even greater than Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

You can be great Philosophers and even greater than Plato, Socrates and Aristotle.

You can be great inventors and even greater than Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Carl Benz.

You can be great innovators and even greater than Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple and Larry Page of Google.

I am quite optimistic that Nobel Laureates in both Sciences and Arts will come from here.

And what better way to show gratitude to God than utilizing the very gifts He gave us to pursue knowledge with excellence?

And what better way of expressing thanks to our parents and teachers than for them to see us excel, succeed and become accomplished?

Therefore, I say to you, indeed the sky is not your limit but your starting point. Conquer your fears and you will be whatever you want to be.

Remember, wherever you go and whatever ends you pursue, you must always fulfill the trust reposed in you by your parents, your alma mater and your nation.


Thank you very much for listening


May God Bless you.

Onye, Okechukwu Emmanuel

(DISS Pioneer Class of 1997).



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