Imagine excelling in every college course and obtaining an A average in each subject area semester after semester for four consecutive years. It sounds challenging or even impossible, but S.C. State graduating senior Janique Francis has defeated the odds and turned the impossible into reality. The Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago native arrived at South Carolina State University in the fall of 2008 and since that time she has consistently maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average.
“I had days where I thought it was going to be gone,” said Francis when speaking of her untarnished GPA. “Honestly, sometimes I felt like I wanted a B because it would take some of the pressure off of me from having to maintain an A all of the time. I would often feel like, oh, my gosh, this exam didn’t go the way I wanted. But at the end of the semester when the final grades came out, I would say, ‘Wow, I still have it.’”
Since arriving at S.C. State, the full tuition scholarship recipient constantly pushed to excel, something she admits to not doing while in high school. Although she received top grades, they were not all A’s. Her college experience would be totally different. Her goal was not to necessarily achieve and maintain a 4.0 GPA, but to strive to do all she could to have a rewarding experience.
Francis worked in various capacities to include serving as an assistant in the honors program, working at the I.P Stanback Museum and Planetarium, participating in a study abroad program in Washington, D.C. and now managing a research position in the area of political science.
With a full schedule, Francis seemed to have everything together academically and professionally, but she admits to one thing that often proved to be a hindrance.
“I procrastinate a lot,” she says. “But when it’s time for me to work, I’ll do it. I will wait until the last minute to get something done, but if that last minute means pulling an all-nighter and not sleeping until the morning to get it done, then I’ll do it. I often think if I would just have taken the time and studied before and revised, then I wouldn’t have to be going through all this stress.”
So what’s her regimen for success?
“I would say that the key for me is sitting down and listening in class. I am not a person would could easily read a textbook, but if I sit down in class and the teacher is lecturing, I can absorb all of that material,” Francis said. “Then when it’s time to revise at the last minute, I can skim through the textbook and remember what the teacher taught in class and put it together.”
She also tries to keep up with all homework assignments, follows her syllabus precisely and takes advantage of extra credit opportunities by attending symposiums or other events on campus. Additionally, her hours of study extend from 6 p.m. until around 9 p.m. each evening for four days a week, all while carrying anywhere from 15 to 18 hours of courses per semester.
Despite her aggressive study habits, Francis is not all work and no play. Maintaining balance is equally important.
“My brain is tired from Monday through Friday from working all of the time because I pay so much attention in class and do so much during the week that on the weekend I just need to de-stress,” she said. “I’ve tried to do work on the weekends, and I just can’t do it. I get only a little bit done, but as soon as Monday hits, I’ll be doing everything that I was supposed to do.”
Her de-stressing activities consist of attending student events, going to the movies, attending plays, listening to music, shopping and exercising.
“It’s all about balance. I had to put some things over the others sometimes,” Francis said. “As much as I wanted to be active in student life, I had to set priorities. I need to have a job to help take care of myself and just be independent on my own. I had to know what was more important.”
The other contributing factor is her faith.
“It wasn’t just about the work. You have to have the right mind and spirit to be able to do hard work. A lot of times when I was so depressed, upset or sick ... , I would pray,” Francis noted. “I have total faith in God. He was the one I was praying to protect my family back home and to always keep my friends safe.”
As she marches across the stage on Friday, May 4, during S.C. State’s Commencement Convocation Ceremony, Francis will hear the words Summa Cum Laude behind her name, a moment she is eagerly anticipating.
“I’m excited, and I’m really grateful for the four years I’ve had at S.C. State, but I’m ready to get involved in the real world and launch my career,” she said. “Being in school was just one of my dreams. Now that I’ve accomplished that, I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter in my life.”
Francis says that after graduation, she will seek a governmental relations position in Washington, D.C. similar to the one she held with The Nature Conservancy where she completed her study abroad program two years ago. She also plans to enroll in graduate school in the fall of 2013, where she will “try as hard as possible to maintain her 4.0 GPA.”