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Becoming a millionaire while others are sleeping

It is widely recommended (mainly by health practitioners) that a person should normally sleep for an average of at least 8 hours a day. Why? Perhaps it is meant to enhance productivity and concentration among the reasons. On the other hand, the popular cliché that “time is money” seems to be against such a recommendation. Generally, this emphasises the importance maximising time in whatever one does.

In this piece of writing, I present time lost through sleeping: a comparison between an individual who sleeps for a daily average of 5 hours compared to one who sleeps for a recommended average of 8 hours per day. (click photo above to see a close analysis)


ASSUMPTION 1: The table uses an average of a 30 day month and a 360 days year

ASSUMPTION 2: Both individuals only start earning some money after turning 21

ASSUMPTION 3: Both individuals can earn an average of $10 per hour from ages between 20 and 50

ASSUMPTION 4: Both individuals can earn an average of $20 per hour from ages between 51 and 75

ASSUMPTION 5: Both individuals retire at 75 years of age


While others are sleeping:

  1. A 30 year individual has the potential of earning $108 000
  2. A 50 year individual has a potential of earning $324 000
  3. A 75 year individual has the potential of earning $864 000

Limiting Performance

It is so painful to learn that the outcome of a specific activity is bound to limit an individual in future and perhaps for the rest of one’s life. I was compelled to write this after a conversation which I had with a student who aimed to attain a mere passing mark for a degree qualification. My comment was: “. . . it is unfortunate that getting a mere passing mark such as an average of 50% affects one for the rest of one’s life such as progression and competition on the job market to some extent. . .”

For a significant percentage of learners, career planning seems not to be taken care of. Talking from experience, I had conversations with various learners for the past four years and I have noted that some are offered study courses which were not their first choices.

This is a dilemma in which affected individuals have limited choice on whether to accept the offer or reject. There are various reasons behind and I will limit this article to what I have learnt from the conversations:

With some learners, there is little or no relationship on their natural abilities and the courses they are studying.

Some learners make application into courses they wish to take a career yet their background academic performance would be against such an option. This is so in that tertiary institutions have some guidelines such as minimum requirements to enrol a particular learner into a course.

Interestingly, Fraiser and Killen (2003) emphasises that institutions should enrol students on the probability that the particular learners will successfully complete the course. However, this seems to be actual situation on the ground. This could have been influenced by the various FET Colleges (in the case of South Africa) or private institutions in other countries.

Private institutions seem to be competing for getting clients. It is painful in that at the end we witness learners who are enrolled for qualifications they are literally challenged. With such misconduct, I would casually insist that we should not be shocked by the low through put or success rate. This has many implications not only to learners, but to the education system and the economy as well.

On learner, stress would be the order of the learning process is the learner is not a fast learner. Educationally, the increased failure rate continues to make headlines in newspapers and economically, learners spend more money in repeating courses.

The money could have been invested in other economic activities. Students lose time through repeating courses and such precious time could be spent on earning income if the learner had completed within minimal time.

Key Issue

Despite the presence of a myriad of issues that influence the success of learners, an internal locus of control is vital for learners to challenge the status quo and make positive performance outcomes which will leverage their possible future initiatives. One has to accept that a positive outcomes starts from within, action is needed when there is still time.

Graduate and Inspire others


Is there any significance for one to attend a graduation ceremony for the qualification attained?

I had a tough time to decide on whether to attend my second graduation and after considering both sides of the coin through penning this article, I made a decision to graduate as there were more pros than cons. Unemployment is growing at a remarkable rate as the number of graduate are increasing at an inverse rate with the available vacancies. Competition on the job market is increasing day by day with more emphasis on one’s experience on the chosen field. This has prompted many economies to brew entrepreneurs to enhance the entrepreneurial activity by embedding an entrepreneurship module in various courses at high schools, colleges and universities. This brings a new dimension for students who can then shift their mindset to aim for creating jobs after or at times during their studies. I once [March 2013] read of an article of a U.K based 17 year old boy who sold his app to Yahoo for about $30 million. He is not the only student making money while studying as there are others who are doing it as well – this is great. The most interesting part of the story is on the calibers of people whom he employed – highly skilled ones. Really, with the highly connected world, students can help in generating jobs. Therefore, at some tertiary institutions, we see some students graduating not only for their qualification, but having a robust business to manage after studies and creating jobs for others as well.

I have so far graduated twice. My the first one being in 2008 when I graduated for a National Certificate in Machineshop Engineering at a college in Zimbabwe and the second one being for Diploma in Entrepreneurship. I am not an engineer as some might think but I have a good understanding of all those “dangerous workshop machines” – lathes, surface grinder, drilling machine, milling, CNC, CAD-machines, shaper, band-saw etc. It’s unfortunate that I had to drop out to start a fresh career in the business field. As an apprentice drop-out, I have never regretted my decision to quit. Let me not get much into it as it reminds me of my daily activities – my hands were always dirty with grease etc and the tool room music was noise from machines – not mere noise but that kind of noise that requires everyone to shout when communication even with a work mate who might be 5 meters away.

“Should one attend his graduation ceremony?” That was my question for the whole of 2012 as I was doing my final year for my recently graduated qualification. The reason being that I did various extra-curricular activities throughout the 2012 year which opened my eyes in the business area hence I thought I Diploma does not fully describe my skills and competences. I learnt about number of business models, met big business people and saw the world in a different view etc. My interests had a slight shift from schoolwork to business thereafter. That is when I got inspiration from the likes of the facebook founder who started their idea at his dormitory at university. At times, my mind was lured to follow the steps of university drop-out list [Bill Gates, Brandson etc] but after realising that my environment and theirs were totally different and that not everyone gets the chance to tertiary education especially in Africa, I wiped off the mentality. Anyway, I might not be compared to them but we are swimming in the same boat of entrepreneurship. I share hectic schedules with them though to some of them they now live peacefully.

I developed a mentality of disliking some modules. I was of the notion that the education system merely prepares learners to become workers hence at universities students are taught some “unnecessary subjects”. With that, I gave myself a fair reason to bunk most of the lectures which I assumed they not necessarily suite my chosen career. I will not encourage anyone though to develop a negative thought as it worsens the experience. Even for those who are working on job positions that they feel does not match their natural abilities, never develop a negative attitude. I came up with a concept which strives to help both individuals both students and employees specialise on their natural abilities for their career for self-actualisation. It became extremely hard when the time for writing exams came. It was worse when I had to prepare for exams for I have to admit that I had no option besides the use of the “X Type Student Method” of study – cramming. I remember for my June 2012 exam in one of the subjects, I dismally failed to motivate myself to prepare earlier. The exam was scheduled for 9am and I had to wake up at 6am giving myself 3hrs to fully prepare and other things. I never liked that behaviour as my memory is better enough when it comes to understanding concepts rather than memorising which worked against my tactic – luck enough; I managed to get a passing mark.

Behaviour is a sum and average of our daily routine activities hence this taught me to appreciate every little achievement I reach as they make the whole lot. A common say states that a thousand mile starts with a single step.

. . . .and my advice is: Love what you are doing, put all the effort, never relax when it comes to learning, it is a great investment. Know who you are, where you are going and map how you can get there. With a determined effort, everything is possible. After attending the graduation, I gained momentum as the speaker emphasised on the importance of education not just for an individual benefit, the society and the economy. Some has never graduated and it is still their wish to, therefore, inspire others by graduating and urging them to take up the challenge. After the April 2013 graduation, I raise my bar to attain at least three more graduations, degree, masters and PhD.


Safe exit for Graduates


Ask any graduating student to list the most pressing issues and you won’t be surprised the aspect of ‘life after graduation’ will be among the top. This is a case in most countries where unemployment is high when learners after graduation seem to be given a ticket of a ‘qualified and official unemployed’. In simpler term degree certificate now seems to be a certificate or proof of being unemployed as more often we learn of people who have such hardly earned documents not serving its purpose. . . or getting a job which does not call for one particular field of specialisation. Identifying ways that graduates can opt to buffer themselves upon this traumatizing wave of winds is paramount. In this article, I discuss my own experiences and insights on what graduates undergo once they are successfully released from tertiary institutions.

Year end indeed is the most stressful time for final year students as that’s when reality begins – with two options – perpetual stress or happiness. It is the most defining moment in life. This is most painful when one is aware of the trends on the job market [unemployment is in every country due to challenges in reaching a positive economic growth and job creation for the increasing economically active labour force].

I always remember the excitement that students have once they are accepted to study at tertiary institutions as it can be literally translated to a positive relationship towards a brighter future. However, the reality seems to be far from this. The saddest part is that some learners tend to be taken over by the waves of a student life that some do not plan for an exit strategy (after graduating). Instead of building meaningful relationships to secure a starting point after graduation, some would be enjoying like crazy (sad to note this). I am sure no one would like to be a point of reference on a bad connotation except for the celebrity.

Gone are the days when completing a degree was something one can be proud of – it resembled an achievement with a better life. This probably meant that one is about to realise the returns on investment (education). We are now in an era where education seems to be a risky investment, unprofitable to say the least to most of us. This is due to the fact that more often, one is guaranteed to plunge into unemployment after graduating with a degree unless with good support structures. This is worsened by the fact that some learners pursue degrees that do not relates to their natural abilities [e.g. a Marketer (naturally) doing Accounting just because one was told Accounting is the high paying job or due to some unfortunate circumstances when one could not secure a place in a desired course].

The trend seems to be shifting into unexpected folds. Graduating with flying colours nowadays seems to be of less value to a person who intends to secure a job after graduating with a degree for instance. Skills are essential and this calls for learners to be juggling with gaining practical experience while they are studying to stand a better chance in comparison to the knowledgeable inexperienced graduate. On the other hand, flying colours are ideal to learners who aim to pursue further qualification as this helps, at times, in getting assistance such as scholarship to further study or for meeting minimum performance requirements.

University now seems to be a hiding place or a hive to while time whilst make attempts to seek something in the highly competitive job market. This is typical in countries with high levels of unemployment coupled with minimal levels of entrepreneurial development. This would point out to learners who, at times, enrol for a master’s qualification even when an individual has no intention for pursuing masters. Getting enrolled for a qualification seem to be relieving than graduating.

At one time, I was contemplating to attend a graduation ceremony considering the time and money spent in preparation. I always thought I could use this for something more economical. This could be a detour to consider by fresh graduates. Some would even prefer not to attend the graduation ceremony due to an additional cost which would be more likely to be incurred as part of the preparations as indicated above. That little money could be saved towards simple issues such as CV printing (those still applying offline) and attending to interviews.

Parents expect graduates to be independent despite the escalating levels of unemployment in every country. When a learner graduates, a general expectation increases from the learner. Such a typical graduate will be faced with extreme pressure from all directions including starting a family.

However, this seems to be a different to someone who is doing a degree of choice, well prepared for the market not relying to the forces of unemployment. It’s unfortunate that very few falls in such a category such as the entrepreneurs. Despite the opinion that this turns to be untrue when some students feels as if they are caught unaware as if time is working against them, on the other hand, this is a bit different to some students who plans ahead of time and to entrepreneurial minded learners. It has to be acknowledged that not everyone in the world can be an employer as some have to be employed. However, naturally, there are some people who are meant to work for others unless they learn the competences and skills required. It is unfortunate that the education system supports the notion that more employees are needed yet it is now vice-versa, more employers are needed. It is painful to learn a number of graduates who sacrificed immeasurable efforts only to plunge into the pool of unemployment.

Doing part-time jobs and in-service training during the time of study is critical towards a safe exit from tertiary study.

Self Motivation, it works

It is, at times, difficult to understand what others experience when they are in certain situations unless putting one in their shoes. Another angle to understand this is through experience – I may be tempted to say that experience is the best teacher.

When I did my Ordinary and Advanced levels of education (2003-2006), it was really difficult for me to believe fellow students who insisted that Mathematics is a difficult subject. It is only after seven solid years when I partially came into terms with their notion. However, I render it as a perception as there are some individuals who perceive that Mathematics is a normal subject like any other. There are, also, others who are on the other extreme who even went deeper to create formulas which new learners have to comprehend such as on the different relationships that are argued to exist (fathers of mathematics).

I personally take a slightly different approach in that I believe the understanding of the subject of Mathematics is a combination of a set of factors. Individuals might be coming from families which have a huge influence on taking the subject with utmost importance. Other factors may range from having adequate resources, influence from colleagues, spending enough time for the subject, motivation for passing the subject, and time allocated of course. Some other factors include responsibilities which determine how one has to dwell much on the subject . . . and you name the rest . . . . .

Management and Cost Accounting is one of the subjects which initiated my understanding on the above discussed perception earlier this year (2013). I had much to think about, read, learn, write and do – I never had enough time. Concepts were just piling up – at the end, I could not even know what to start with. A time in a lecture came when I was only seeing numbers being multiplied, added, subtracted and divided. On the other class, I heard another learner jokingly saying that a ‘tutor would do’. That is when I comforted myself that I am not alone in this situation. This is another way which puts off some individuals from knowing whom they are and seeking the way forward. One might be reluctant to seek for a possible solution after knowing that the situation is faced by a multitude. It quickly reminded me of the 2003-2006 colleagues’ perceptions and I got tempted to convince myself that calculations are indeed challenging.

In my mind, an option of the services of a tutor was among the options as I was trying to get along with others. I was not satisfied though as my mind begged to differ with the option o the other hand. I consider myself as an educator hence next to ‘tutor’ option was to assess myself. I gave myself some conditions to work within and to consider a tutor only when I fail to redeem myself to the level I once attained during my ‘hey-days’. Surely, my mind read right, I told myself that I was not that bad when it comes to calculations as I enjoy them instead.

With different sources of motivations, I reminded myself that “but I was once good in calculations”. Having a big picture of my tomorrow keeps me going. Also, when I always think of the great mind which our creator imparted in me gives me every reason to believe that I can even walk on water. All this gave me courage to locate the root of the challenge faced as mentioned above. I realised that ‘if I was good, then what made me to be like that’ and ‘if I seem not to be good now, what would be the forces behind’. With this is mind, I managed to reconcile the differences. As a result, I was able to reach my desired state.

Out of what I learnt amounts to the following:

– One needs to have a positive attitude in everything

– Learn to master every bit of concepts as they come

– Seek to understand concepts before moving to the next

– Know your weaknesses and strengths to seek for a solution

– Prioritise important, urgent and worth tasks first

– Create enough time for important issues

– Understand the uniqueness in oneself



Some days back, a friend was asking why is it that some students find themselves worried with their examination preparations. I was also not sure until I took a deep analysis on the way I approach my exam preparation. After that, I noted the following:

  • At times, students worry much on the subject areas they are weak. This has many effects as discussed in the below paragraph. In 2004 when I was studying for my ‘O’ level final examinations, a term before my final exams, I made a self-assessment and learnt that I was very good in Mathematics and Integrated Science yet I was weak in History and English. Such assessment helped me to drop Ndebele, one of the subjects in end of my Form 3 in 2003 after I realised that I am far from getting a pass with little or no gains from the subject in the future. Yes, it was a right decision – my career is not even fashioned in line with it in anyhow. What I did in July 2004 was this, I increased my study time on English and History yet reduced my proportion for Mathematics and Integrated Science. I was happy that it worked as I attained passing grades of which it was very crucial passing English language. It is always better to master the concepts one have a better understanding and later on spend time on the ones which needs time. this does not only increases confidence, it also increases the chance for scoring a high mark and further builds motivation to tackle even the hard topics.
  • Students lack an interactive-study approach. This is a powerful study method which I have realised it helps me to study for understanding rather than just passing. At a certain point, I found myself reading volumes of articles, tweeting a lot, BUT I was sure I was studying to forget. I asked a friend who could remember some concepts which he lent some 10 years back. His secret is: “If we study to understand, apply or interact with the knowledge in real life, chances are high that the level of understanding is increased”. It was clear to me that I used to study without interacting with my daily experiences. After I applied the method of study, I discovered that it worked big time for me. It then reminds me of the quote which confirms that individuals understand better when they use an interactive approach.
  • Some students approach the exams without a game plan. This is very dangerous as, without a target, one is bound to hit any point. Surely, it is difficult to measure achievement without any goal. Ensure that you make small goals on daily basis and check whether you have achieved any before you sleep. Checking on what made you to be more or less productive helps in improvement for the next day.


  • In all you do, always ensure that you always ask reflective questions which helps to blend one’s daily activities towards the grand plan.
  • Try the interactive approach when studying. Make efforts to understand building from all that you have experienced or know. It is a bit difficult though in some subject which its material is purely new such as arising from the technological advancement.
  • Be goal oriented. It all starts with a small goal, being accountable for the outcome and working upon doing better the following day.

Graduation Celebration

There are different ways of celebrating an achieved milestone. Imagine what a student could do in style for celebrating for a qualification attained. Can it be close to what this couple did, best indeed!!!!! A qualification attained has to be celebrated after students spend various years of intense focus.

Social Media: FB Jokes (2)

CONTINUATION FROM THE PREVIOUS POST  As the lecture gave the assignments to the students, he jokingly said the following: An anonymous mini-research was conducted on 10 of students from Amsterdam University (Netherlands). This was made as a comparative research on a similar number of students at one of the universities in South Africa (name withheld) covering a period of one month.

The following were the findings, it revealed some interesting facts:
-Most students at a South African university has updated their profiles on average twice a day, they comments and post likings were unknown but estimated to be over 20 per day per student. There was a picture which attracted 32 likes and 164 comments (this photo showed a student with a killer smile having lunch at KFC with fried chicken estimated to be valued at R82)
-On the other hand, the Netherlands shows that they updated their profiles on an average of once every week, mostly like pages than making comments. One of the pictures showed 47 likes with one comment. It was of a student showing funny presentation products.

-Recommendations were that, Facebook should be integrated with classroom (use of group discussions, sharing of information) at one of the South African universities. On the other hand, the Amsterdam side attracts a need to further investigate on why they tend to like photos than making comments.

Later on, the lecture jokingly said: Who do you think has a better understanding of facebook usage between the two groups? Who spends more time?

The lecturer concluded that: “On average, a student from a South African university spends more than 49 minutes per day whereas one from Netherlands spends an average of 5 minutes per week.”

However, this presentation took the lecturer 10 minutes and by the time the lecturer finished, one of the students showed the lecturer the following: There was a facebook discussion about the presentation done by the lecturer on her profile; it was posted 2 minutes after the lecturer began his presentation. 7 students shared the post on their walls. There were 23 post likings and 52 comments.

This lecture was in one of the South African universities which were part of the case study research.

After that, the lecturer said: from today onward, we shall informally integrate our lectures with mini facebook breaks to increase levels of understanding and interaction. . . .

. . . and he said BUT use your time for a good cause, knowledge development discussions, and motivational material etc

It is not known what the response of these students were. What do you think would be some common responses from them?????

Career choice

A Human Resources Management student after doing in-service (attachment) training

In a conversation of students sharing their experiences, this was shared by one of the students: “My in-service training was a blast. I enjoyed every bit of it but i am not sure whether it’s late for me to change my study program as i was inspired by the Job description of an Information Systems Manager whom i interviewed (panel interview).” He is the first to use every new technology the company decides to use and part of the benefit package is – no limitations for personal use. It was embarrassing to learn that one of an HR Manager terms includes the following; – Telephone strictly to be used for business purposes; family members may not be considered on our recruitment policy as it an element of discrimination . . . . ; promotions may be made into unrelated disciplines . . . REALLY, I HAVE TO DECIDE”

Are you studying what you wanted to? It is not late to chose a career path to follow. Follow your heart!!!

Graduate with a Cum Laude!

Is it better to graduate with a Cum laude qualification?

For so long, I have been wondering why there are grades in every level of studies and I always wanted to get a clear understanding on what is believed as the difference between an excellence performer and an average student. It is indeed debatable to judge a student by the grade of the qualification which one got as some students can score the 90%+ as a result of cramming rather than studying for understanding yet someone could get a 60% average degree but with a great understanding of the degree content covered. Despite that, high percentage degrees are preferred in the job market as they are always attached with the level of intelligence to the qualification holder.

During my primary, my report was characterized by numerical grades i.e. 1, 2, 3 up to 9 (from the highest to lowest), my secondary education was however characterized by the following grades: A, B, C, D, E and U. however, passes from A to C resembling the highest grade to the average pass respectively. When I did my Advanced level of education, grades almost similar to Ordinary level were used with a ‘U’ replaced by ‘F’ and an ‘O’ grade being an additional grade which is higher than ‘F’. However, an ‘E’ is rendered as a pass different from the Ordinary level standard which has a ‘C’ as a least pass grade. To me, these grades translated the level of intelligence to the results bearer. Does it resemble performance or intelligence of the student? I always got confused to strike the difference. Well, my opinion might not be legitimate without supporting evidence. Different universities have different grades of passes however, mostly 50% being the pass mark. I always told myself that there is a reason why there are these entire grades instead of merely having failure and pass.

This article dwells much on tertiary level qualification grades and particularly – a cum laude. I learnt that there are also different levels of passes also at tertiary level with the common being: ‘Fail’, ‘Pass’ and ‘Pass-with-Distinction’. Some universities use grades such as 3; 2.2; 2.1 and 1 which classifies a qualification from average to highest grade. Most employers prefer graduates with highest grade especially in the private sector where competence, efficiency and productivity are a priority. This tend to be contrary when it comes to the public sectors which does not emphasises on top achievers as it ensures to be mean as it also strives to reduce unemployment by employing graduates who cannot be absorbed in the private sector.

Let me not focus on the difference of getting a ‘fail’ compared to passing because it is simple in that one is rendered not competent for a job whereas those who ‘pass’ stand a better chance to get a job. In a different note, those who fail to get a qualification tend to mostly get absorbed in family or friend’s businesses. Surprisingly, such individuals can be found doing extremely well which could prove that getting a qualification is not the only way out to a greater life.

In the mind of an entrepreneur, failing to attain a qualification does not mean much but signals ‘a need of another way of doing things’. There exists a difference in the quality of qualification as discussed below. For every qualification, there are admission requirements hence at some institutions, some lower level grade qualifications are not good enough unless where work experience counts as an advantage. In this regard, high grade qualification becomes an added advantage when a graduate seeks to study further as an admission enabler or when opting to join the private sector for employment. Also, when one seeks for a sponsor to further one’s studies, a need to have attained a high quality qualification is highly recommended.

With the growth of the usage of internet, educators or lecturers are capable of collaborating with learners in achieving maximum possible performance hence the competition among graduates can be said to be high with the use of this logical explanation. However, how good can be the qualification? A cum laude is title used to describe a qualification which is excellent such as attaining an average of at least 75% to 100%. With Latin honours, these are the following grades of cum laude qualifications as presented by encyclopedia:

“Cum laude – with honour

“Magna cum laude – with great honour”

“Egregia cum laude – with outstanding honour”

Summa cum laude – with highest honour”

Maxima cum laude – with very great honour”

However, different countries use different categories for grading criteria which is, unfortunately, not covered in this article. These grades are much used to undergraduates and rarely used to students taking masters or doctorate.

A different perception presents an objection with regards to getting cum laude grade. A friend of mine once told me that some employers do not go for high performing students simply because they might be lacking a skill of ‘managing failure’. A graduate with a mark range of, for example 82% to 98, on a transcript in other words could symbolise that the graduate has never experienced failure hence if employed in a business; the graduate might find it extremely challenging to cope with failure if ever the business gets into trouble. Such employers mostly prefer graduates with transcripts with varying marks which could reveal that the graduate somehow faced some challenges which the graduate managed to overcome. However, this is debatable on the basis of the perceptions of different managers.

I managed to graduate with a cum laude in Diploma in Entrepreneurship due to various factors. The most crucial was the love of the subjects that forms part of the qualification. At times, I never studied to pass but to improve my understanding in the field of entrepreneurship hence I could even read more that what was required for the assessments giving me a holistic understanding of the whole qualification. However, there were modules which I thought they should not have been part of the course which happened to be de-motivating to study. At times, I just studied to pass but not to understand as I viewed them as time wasters.

In conclusion, a high grade qualification is more preferable as indicated above. As indicated above, when a graduate aims to pursue another qualification to gain admission preference and sponsor during studies, a high grade qualification in crucial. It has also been identified that when understanding of the qualification content is the priority, from the content covered, an ordinary qualification is good enough for mastering the skills. Therefore, the most crucial thing is for the individual student to know what they want to accomplish after attaining their qualification. This puts one in a better understanding on whether one will be able to get admission in the chosen field of study and institution. This prepares for the elimination of some frustrations such as to be rendered as incompetent for further studies or having challenges to secure a sponsor.