Approximately half of our population in Malawi is pursuing some studies. We know that half our population is below the age of 20 years and ordinarily every person under 20 years of age is supposed to be still in school or college. Of course in Malawi we have many people dropping out of school as early as at primary and secondary school levels. We are offsetting those with those aged above 20 who are in colleges and other tertiary institutions. And nowadays many people in industry are upgrading their qualifications even those in their middle age in the 40s and even 50s.
As you pursue your studies, you may reach a stage where you are struggling academically. Today, we want to spend some time discussing how you can turn around your academic performance. First, let us address basic fundamentals. You need to be sure that you are pursuing the right programme of study. At lower stages of education, your choices are limited. For example, in primary school, everyone takes all the subjects on offer. In secondary school, the bulk of subjects are compulsory with limited room for choice. At tertiary level, you basically choose what to study by choosing the profession that you want to pursue and at very advanced levels like masters and PhD levels you actually choose the specialised area you want to deepen your knowledge or to create knowledge in, respectively.
Basically, we are saying that as a number one fundamental principle, you first need to make the right choice for your study programme. Do not embark on a course of study simply because it is popular or simply because you think you will make more money through that way. Go for a course of study along the lines of your passion and talent. What do you like, enjoy and what are you good a—these are the questions to guide you on your choice.
Granted that you are in the right programme of study and yet your performance is not up to standard, you need a turn-around plan. First, identify the particular courses or subjects or topics that are huddles to you. Once you isolate the problem areas, you now need to do three things. First, allocate more time for the problem areas for a time bound period like two weeks or one or two months during which period you want to gain control over the problem area. During that period, make sure that you gather all the required learning material that you will use. You need to study like a crazy person. Get to minute detail of everything.
Secondly, identify people who are good at the areas you struggle. Even if they are in distant places or other schools, find ways to reach out to them. You can even make arrangements to get their help during weekends or holidays. There is nothing easier or better than learning from someone like you but doing better. Let those who are good at subjects or topics that you struggle with not just teach you the content but they must also tell you what tricks they use to be good at the subjects or topics in question. Customise those tricks to your situation.
The final major step you can take is to engage your teachers, lecturers or professors directly. If you have money, you can engage them for special top up classes but that is not necessary. Most teachers and lecturers are happy to help for free with topics or subjects where you struggle. Do not abuse this but do get some specific help to supplement your own hard-work and help that you get from your peers.
If you engage this three legged approach to turning around your academic performance, you will be delighted to see the amazing results that you will achieve in no time. This is the approach I used each time I met a huddle in my academic journey right from primary, through secondary to university and even at postgraduate levels. Each time I engaged this improvement plan, the results were very positive. I am sure that you too will turn around your situation. Good luck!n