Firstly, what is Education? It is an academic process by which students are motivated to learn ways to make a sustained, substantial and positive influence on how they think, act and feel; It is a process that elevates students to a level where they can learn deeply and remarkably.
Academic Excellence is the demonstrated ability to perform, achieve and/or excel in scholastic activities. Academic excellence has been identified with achieving high grade and superior performance. However, academic excellence is more than just making good grades.
It is no longer news, the huge and surprising poor performance of students in academics today. A lot of students has relented in their academics, some have no interest anymore, while others have given up totally in the pursuit of academic excellence. All these declines in academics do not go without causes and challenges that leads to them which stare students to their very faces. It results also from lack of knowledge or rather ignorance on the side of the students regarding these causes and effects.
There are several causes of decline in the pursuit towards academic excellence and if they are not dealt with, many students would continue to swim in poor performance and may never excel in their classes. They include :
Slothfulness:this is the state of being lazy, inactive and indolent. Some students are so lazy and sluggish to devote proper time to their studies. They while away their time, play, sleep always and end up with last minute rush on the eve of their eexaminations or test. Such students are planning to fail. And if they manage to pass at all, they end up on the average. It goes in line with an African adage that ‘he who fails to plan, plans to fail’.
Improper time table:Any student without a proper time table or workable timetable is planning to fail. It is sad that many students do not have a timetable at all. They have no direction in life and thus resulting in outright failure or an average performance.
Inadequate study time: this has been a common occurance among students of today. They do not devote time to thoroughly study their books. No student can lay claims to excellent performance without burning the midnight candles. in the words of Henry Wadsworth long fellow. He stated that “the height that great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night”. if there is any shortcut to success, I’ve not found one yet. You must painstakingly study to excel in the academics.
Lack of study materials: The unavailability of  this would certainly impede student’s progress. students  come up with poor results because of inadequate study materials whereas, other students who posses adequate study materials and more focus will likely excel more than those who don’t.
Financial constraints: This is one of the factors that inhibit student’s performance in their studies. When there is no money to purchase textbooks and study materials needed to reach the pinnacle of success, the end result is usually average performance. As a student, it is necessary that you read books on how to make Money in campus to overcome financial constraints. Also, notwithstanding the points that some students use the money given to them for textbooks and study materials to engage in irrelevant activities or buy unnecessary things. A student who does so is likely to yield a poor performance output in his studies.
Discouragement: students who are discouraged are bound to fail. Discouragement sets in when there are problems in the lives of students. This will often lead to poor performance and failures.
Doubt: doubt is a giant that stays on the border or the promise land of success to terrify and make students who are matching to success afraid. Doubt defeats the belief system and desire for success and as such success is hindered . It always defeats its   victim, a doubteris bound to loose as his future is all darkness, defeat and average performance.
Despair and lack of interest: when there is doubts and Discouragement, the student affected will certainly be in Despair which will greatly obstruct progress in life and confines one to average performance and failure.
Lack of trust in God: this is the most important of all. A student who relies solely on his ability has totally planned to fail. many students do not pray and put God first in all they do. They experience slow success or poor performance because they refuse to hook on to the author of success. Ask yourself, what challenges do I face here?
Peer group pressure, cultism: this remains a crucial point in students life. Because they want to feel accepted or a sense of belonginghood, forgetting that evil association corrupts good manners.
The Way forward to overcome these challenges cannnot  be overemphasized. There is no problem without a solution to it. Thus by outlining these solutions, students will be able to identify their challenges and advice themselves on how to overcome them.
Have the hunger for excellence: you need to want to achieve excellence’ the emphasis here is on what ‘you’ want not what others want. Make sure the goal is something you set for yourself, because without this, chances reveal that you don’t really want it. And if you don’t want the goal badly enough, it doesn’t matter what you try to do since the drive will not be there to keep you moving forward. It is however pointless to sign yourself up for something and put in a half naked effort, because it is not being true to yourself. It is will amount to a waste of time.
Benchmark against the best: what is it you are working on? Who are the people who are best in that area? What are the results that have achieved? Set your target to the same level as their best results. Or even higher if you think you can.
-Believe you can do it: self belief is paramount to every success, you need to first believe in yourself to get somewhere. If you don’t have self confidence, who is going to believe you? If you often experience low self belief, look back at the times when you achieved something regardless of how big or small it was. From there build your confidence and leverage on it as you pursue your goals. As you begin to see positive results, your confidence will increase over time, which will create an upward spiraling effect.
Build concrete strategy and plans: every goal needs a proper strategy and plan for it to come to life. setting goals and not following through with proper planning is like getting into your car to drive to your destination without knowing how to get there or even having a driving license. Many people fail in their goals because they fall to follow through with planning. The bigger your goals, the more important it is that you invest proper time in building your plans.
Learn from the best: hook
 up with people who are best and learn from them. They have the best insights and tips which will be extremely helpful and valuable in your pursuit of academic excellence.
Do not limit yourself: do not be afraid to try every single thing that might take you to your goal of achieving academic success. If you limit your self, you will become limited.
Work really hard: with every success comes hardwork and without hardwork, you cannot achieve good/excellent results. There is no shortcut to success and people who try to find the easy way out are just kidding If they think they can achieve excellence without putting in hardwork. Hardwork is the universal quality that pays off. Once you put in your time and effort, there is no how you won’t achieve excellent output in your academics.
Never give up: Elbert Hubbard said “there is no failure except in no longer trying” failure is not when you fail, it is when you fail and decide to quit. An African adage says.. ‘Failure is the mother success’. Don’t give up. Remember that defeats never occur unless you accept it as a defeat. If you have a problem too big for you to handle, then break it down into smaller pieces so it becomes ensure for you to tackle. As long as you keep trying and working hard, you will eventually achieve success.
Pray always: put God first in everything you do. When you work hard and pray always, then success and Excellence is yours.
Time consciousness: if there is a course like time management, some students need to go in for that course because they  lack wisdom as to how to manage their time and set their schedule therefrom. A serious student jokes not with his time for he knows that any time Lost can’t be recovered.
Read to acquire knowledge and not just to pass your exams or obtain good grades. Both are good but knowledge is paramount. Wise students do not only read to pass examinations but to acquire knowledge for posterity sake. Because if you know, you know.
Be serious, know what you came for, humble yourself, bend down and read your books, make good and wise friends who have the same vision with you. Try to discover your potentials and talents and device ways to develop them
With these, the pursuit towards academic excellence will be achieved and the challenges overcomed.
About the author
Ezeaku Chukwuemelie Kamsiyochukwu.
A student of law in COOU.
She started her early education in St. Pauls Nursery and primary school.
She obtained her first school leaving certificate from Benbee Unique Primary school, then she attended Bethel Home Convent, Enugu for her junior secondary school and further proceeded to  Federal Government College, Nise, her Alma mater, where she obtained her Wassce and Neco.
She is the Vice president of legal ideas forum, a member of the Lawsa House of Assembly and the Bible Study coordinator of CLASFON which is a fellowship body in the faculty.
Chukwuemelie is a principled and disciplined fellow.
A lover of justice and fairness who recognizes the fact that the right of the common should be upheld.
Her clamour for wisdom and knowledge is not to be over emphasized and this evident in her numerous contributions towards development of various knowledge oriented platform.

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