Temitope Nwachukwu, who recently graduated from Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, with a cumulative grade point average of 4.91, the highest in her set, speaks on her tortuous journey to academic excellence and what she thinks about not being declared the best-graduating student by the management of her school. Another graduate, Alexandria Braie, with 4.90 CGPA, was announced as the best- graduating student.
CAN you let us into your background?
I am in my late 30s and I am from Oyo State. I had dreamt to be a pharmacist but I am now a graduate of Chemistry.
I had always wanted to have a university education. But it was not working out for me. So I ended up attending a polytechnic where I studied Science Laboratory Technology. I worked with Access Bank after graduation. I also worked in Ecobank for eight years. I eventually resigned in 2014.
Did your background in science contributed to your outstanding academic performance in the university?
It could in a way but I left school 11 years ago and one or two things could have been forgotten. But I have always been above average in my academics. I graduated with an Upper Credit grade from the polytechnic. I started my primary school education in Oyo State but I completed it at Orile Primary School, Oshodi, Lagos State. I attended Oshodi Comprehensive High School, Bolade, Oshodi, in Lagos State.
Does that mean that attaining the best CGPA came to you easily?
It was not smooth at all but for every pain there is a gain. I am married with three children and I am involved in church activities. I went through full time study and I also had to take care of my family. It was taxing to burn the midnight candle and be there for my family at the same time. I had to go without sleep many times because I wanted to read before class. I want to encourage every married man whose wives want to be achievers to support them. My husband has been fantastic. I hardly missed classes. I was always present in class. If I ever missed any class, I talked to my colleagues and copied their notes. The Internet was also very helpful because I researched about what different authors professed about a topic to have a better view.
I also use Youtube to see how things are done. I remember that I checked out the concept of thin layer chromatography on Youtube. When you see a green plant, you think that green is the only colour. It has other colours.
You had a CGPA of 4.91, the best in your set, yet you were not named the best-graduating student on your convocation day. How did you feel when another student with a CGPA of 4.90 clinched the prize?
Well, I was shocked. I did not understand it. As we speak, I do not know the criteria. I was asking myself what happened. My husband and I were asking what could have happened. Both of us concluded that that might not be for us to decide. There is no problem.
Do you then feel that your investment in your academics was worth it?
It was worth it. I think I have not done badly. I have documents to back up my academic achievements.
Who are your role models?
My husband is my role model. He is my best friend. He is always positive even when things are rough. He encouraged me to attend university and told me not to give up on my dreams. While I was working at the bank, I enrolled at the Enugu State University, Ikeja satellite campus in Lagos, to study Business Administration. I was sitting for my 300 level first semester examination when the National Universities Commission struck and the centre was shut. I had invested my time and paid tuition for three years. I was sad but by husband kept encouraging me. He told me never to lose focus of being a university graduate. I even bought the form of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, twice but it did not work out. But my husband never wavered, he is my role model.
What lessons has your journey taught you?
Quitters never win and winners never quit. I was seven years when my mother died and I am from a polygamous home. We the children lived with the firstborn of my mum and when my dreams of getting admission into a university did not materialise on time, I had to go to a polytechnic because I was not living with my mother and there was a limit to which I could bother my guardian. But I have learnt that there should be a purpose and mission in one’s life. That will keep one going when things go wrong. Now, I desire to go for my Master’s and get to the Ph.D level.