Name: Falade Faith Olayinka
Campus: Lagos Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students; Third Best Overall Student of the Year Prize; and Sir Darnley Alexander’s Prize for the Best Student in Property Law Practice
University: Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko (Second Class Upper Division)
About: Faith Olayinka Falade hails from Afo in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State. She was born to the family of Mr and Mrs Justus Falade, a chartered accountant. She had her secondary education at St. Louis Girls Secondary School, Akure, Ondo State. She was to later attend the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko for her Bachelor of Laws Degree in 2010, where she graduated in 2015 with a Second Class Upper Division with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.34. She thus graduated as the third overall best student in the 2014/2015 academic session.
Faith thereafter proceeded to the Nigerian Law School for the one year mandatory professional training in November 2015 where she bagged a First Class Honours. By this, she became the Second student and the first female graduate of the Adekunle Ajasin University Faculty of Law to graduate with a First Class at the Nigerian Law School. At the formal Call to Bar Ceremony held on 30 November 2016, she was awarded the third best overall student of the year prize and the best student in property law practice prize.
Faith was involved in social and political functions at different levels while in School. She was elected the Faculty of Law Caucus Leader at the Level of the Student Representative Council of the Students’ Union Government in the 2014/2015 session and was appointed the Chamber Head Kayode Esho Chamber 2014/2015, a public Chamber in the Faculty of Law. She is currently a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and the Junior Chamber International. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before I resumed at the law school, I encouraged myself that I wanted to make a first class, my belief was that those who made it in the past had no two heads, however on attending the lectures for the first two weeks, that faith started shaking , fear set in and I was losing believe in myself because of the treats from class, the examples, the way questions were asked and I didn’t know the answers or inside me I had an answer but the way the lecturer answered it just seemed too difficult with the authorities and the expected mode of answering. So at the early stage I gave up the desire to make a first class.
I also resumed law school with the mindset that one must form notes in order to succeed at the law school, I had heard several times the statement, ‘if you want to pass law school well, you must form your notes’ which personally I was never used to. I remember going to eat at the cafeteria one day where I met a senior and we got talking, he mentioned forming notes to me, to which I was quick to respond that it was not my thing, but he advised and insisted I did in order to make a good grade. As a result of the advice I started forming notes for about four weeks, the first snap test came and I discovered I knew almost nothing. I had wasted my time forming notes and I was not reading. From that day I stopped forming notes and I had to stick to my method of reading textbooks, but at the later part of law school I formed the habit of reading my laws directly, which turned out to be the best method for me and I wished I had started earlier.
After my desire to make a first class dropped, two incidents awakened my desire. First, a lecturer (Mrs James of property law practice, Lagos campus) started calling numbers to answer a particular question centred on drafting a complete deed which seemed difficult at that time because it was just the third class on property, It got to my number and I didn’t know how it happened but I answered it. I never knew I had it inside me. That day the lecturer took notice of me and encouraged me and right there and then I encouraged myself too, told myself that maybe the things I thought were too difficult to learn were not so difficult after all if I put in more effort and was consistent with my reading over time.
The other experience was the snap test. The results were not the best, but I knew they could be better and that law school was not as difficult as we were made to believe, looking at the sorts of questions asked, particularly that I was not prepared for them, prior to the time my readings were just free style, I was writing more than reading, and the little reading I did was just to have a grasp of the topic before class, and I never picked after class to revise.
After I got my results and they came out fair despite my unpreparedness, I told myself I could do better only if I prepared better and stayed focused.
Additionally, when I was in the law school, I would say I had enough fun, I hung out with my friends and roommates so often, went to the beach plenty times, saw movies about twice every week, celebrated each other’s birthdays, went carting several times, went on boat cruise, attended few shows, visited resort. I never gave up my social life or social network life for law school. I had social activities side by side with law school, I just knew law school stress was much, so I needed the activities to ease off the stress, and church was not left out. But in all of this, I was consistent in my reading, I read each topic ahead of the class everyday just to have an idea and follow up with the teachings in class. Based on my practice of reading everyday, when it was time for externship and I started revising, it was quite easy. I also had two of my seniors putting me through, encouraging me and constantly reminding me of how easy law school was and how I needed to be calm and diligent.
Also there is this habit of people finishing a course during exam and concluding that it is the end, thinking they have failed or have lost the opportunity of making their desired grade, based on the grading system in which students graduate with the least grade, probably because they think they did not do as expected in the course of writing the particular paper and as a result of this mindset, depression sets in leading to poor performance in the succeeding course, not knowing the course they thought they did badly will turn out better. So in actual fact the succeeding course they should have prepared better for will deprive them of the desired result and not the previous course they thought they performed poorly.
I almost fell victim of this too, after my criminal litigation exam I was sad, I did not feel fulfilled about how I tackled my compulsory question and as a result I initially could not prepare well for my corporate Law exam, but thanks to the inspiring story told by Mr Udemezue (property law lecturer, Lagos campus) of a first class candidate who thought she did not tackle her compulsory question well but still turned out to make a first class because she was able to prevent it from weighing her down and losing concentration in respect of the subsequent papers.
Apparently some of this mistakes are not worth depriving one of the desired grade, we only need to stay focused and pray to God to bless the little we have done. This was exactly what I did and thanks to God I had my desired grade.
While in the Law School, I had my strategy and I did not only map out a strategy but I followed it meticulously .My strategy was simply to read each topic ahead of the class, and so no matter the outing I go for it was a must to cover the topic before sleeping, and the next morning before class I do a form of second reading.
Also I did not restrict my readings to the textbooks, I read the laws even before the textbooks, it was an habit I formed at the later stage of the law school program, I wish I started early. I read my CAMA like a novel, same for my RPC and my Civil Procedure Rules and little of my ACJA and ACJL. When it was Externship period I was simply revising and practicing my drafts. I equally made sure I was present in class both for the morning and afternoon session where I listen to corrections of the group work, except when it was so impracticable.
I don’t know if my story makes any sense, but I just want anyone reading this and hoping to get a particular grade to know that there is no need emulating anybody or getting intimidated by anybody, but rather develop your strategy and stick to it, different strokes for different folks, also always remember that life is beyond law school, so make quality friends, get involved in activities and create time to ease off the stress, no matter how little.