She is a combination of beauty and brains. Abe Opeyemi, 21, graduated with a first class in Food Science and Technology from Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, having had a 4.57 CGPA in the 2014/2015 academic session. She shares her experience with Punch’s Tunde Ajaja. Enjoy…
How did you handle gestures from men?
I was wise about it and God helped me. Then, I was careful with my choice of friends, which was key. So, to a large extent, I didn’t have any untoward distraction.
Did you plan to graduate with a first class when you got to school?
Initially, I didn’t really plan for it, but as semesters passed, I saw that it was not impossible to have it. I dreamt it and vowed to make it happen, so I had to read for extra hours and spend some more time with God in prayers. It wasn’t easy but God made a way for me. I didn’t have first class until I got to 300level and that was when I started leading my class. Even though my first year, especially the first semester, was a little bit rough because I resumed very late; I missed tests, did some make-up tests and had to copy notes from friends, so, with that kind of rough beginning and my wish to have excellence, I decided to be more serious with my academics, and it helped greatly, coupled with God’s grace. At the end of that semester, I had 3.96. Some people told me it was impossible to have first class, more so that I didn’t have a very good start but that challenged me to do more and achieve the best.
So, we can always achieve success if we can put our minds to it and work towards it. Notably, I have not done badly for myself in the past; I passed my Senior School Certificate Examination and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination at one sitting, but I know that God actually saw me through.
Some people have argued that it is easier to have a First Class in a private university than in public university. What’s your view on that?
I don’t believe that. Whether in a private or public university, excellence requires a lot of hard work to come out with good grades, not to talk of a first class degree. What makes the difference, in my view, is that the learning environment differs. In some public schools, students wake up as early as 4am so they could secure a seat in class for a 7am lecture because of inadequate space and seats, unlike in a private school where minimum comfort is guaranteed. Then, the distractions in public schools are many unlike what obtains in private schools. So, those differences are capable of influencing students’ performance. I believe I am a product of hard work and it was self-driven, coupled with my parents’ encouragement.
Some students tend to think that one needs to read all the time to have a first class. Was that what you did?
There were days that I didn’t read at all and I slept well. I remember I was sleeping for at least six hours in a day, save for exam periods that I needed to do more than I used to do. I believe the important thing is for people to understand what works for them. Some assimilate faster while some don’t, and when it comes to reading, some can read in a noisy place and understand faster while some others need to seclude themselves. So, students need to understand themselves. For example, I rarely used the library and I can count the very few times I entered the library to read, while some prefer to read in the library. I was also involved in several extra-curricular activities that required a lot of my attention most times, but I thank God I was able to balance them. I worked hard and God crowned my effort.
How would you describe your social life in school?
I tried to balance my life and be as sociable and interesting to be with as possible. In fact, I spent my leisure time watching movies, resting, entertaining few friends, chatting with my friends, listening to music, and surfing the Internet. So, I was not always reading.
Where would you like to work?
I would like to work with an organisation where my potentials can be fully utilised, where I will be able to add immense value and find fulfillment. It has to be a place where I can find career progress and have my skills properly harnessed. I look forward to working in a place where I can put to adequate use everything I’ve learnt in school and the practical experience I’ve had. However, there are some organisations that I have some preference for, especially those that are into food or drink processing and then oil companies.
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