In this interview with SAMUEL AWOYINFA, the best graduating student 2015/2016 session at the Bells University of Technology, Ota, Miss Oyindamola Badejo, with 4.89 CGPA in Bio-medical Engineering, speaks about the secrets of her success
What was your strategy for reading?
That is funny because there is an irony about my reading style.
First, I will say that I am not a ‘reader’. I do not like to read or study. So, I definitely wasn’t a library head or someone that would stay up all night studying. My strategy for studying was built on self-evaluation and analysis. I know I’m a kind of person who gets it in class. So, I made sure I attend all my classes once I didn’t have to be unavoidably absent.
So, reading afterwards was just to brush up. Additionally, I have a strong level of understanding and perception, so I don’t have to spend hours reading. I only spend a few minutes reading and I am good. As a matter of fact, I would only start reading a week or a couple of days before my exams.
How would you have felt if you fell short of first class and you did not make the current CGPA?
Well, in all honesty, I don’t think I would have ever fallen short of a first class degree. I started pretty strong and I definitely wouldn’t watch myself go down. But if in a parallel universe it did happen, it would be sad but it would not have been the end of the world. I mean it is nice to have a good degree but that is not all life has to offer. So, if I didn’t make it, it would have been a very bitter pill to swallow but I would have swallowed it all the same.
Why do you think students fail?
I think most students fail for a number of reasons, among which is lack of preparation on their parts. By this I don’t mean that students don’t read. What I mean is that there can be lack of preparation in the light that students do not do proper self-evaluation. Some people don’t even know how their brains work.
Another reason has to do with lecturers. Some lecturers derive joy from the pain of students. Some like to see students beg and cry before them so they can feel like demi-gods. I don’t know if this is an ego ride for them but this is another common reason for failure. How can a lecturer give you a textbook and just appear in class on a few occasions and tell you to read the entire book on your own? In as much as we don’t expect to be taught everything within the four walls of the school, we do expect to be taught something valuable; that which triggers your thirst for more information.
Students also fail because of some learning conditions. Who wants to go to a class on a very hot afternoon with no fans and about 100 students in a very tiny space? Even lecturers are uncomfortable. Yet some fail because they are simply lazy.
Was there anything in your background that helped you?
Not really. I’ve just always been a goal-oriented and focused person though I am also playful.
Have you always been a brilliant student from your primary school?
My primary school never awarded positions. Rather, it graded us in percentages and I was always between 80 and 90 per cent. But I don’t even remember ever reading in primary school. I hated reading and I still do. In secondary school, however, I had to try a little bit so I would not fail. In junior school, I was always between 1st and 3rd positions and in senior school I always came first or second in class. That time, I had a very strong contender. So I would like to believe I have always been academically strong.
Bio-medical Engineering as a course is relatively new in Nigeria and at Bellstech. How did you cope with the course in terms of getting textbooks and qualified lecturers to handle the course?
Through the Internet! Everything you need is on the Internet. All hard-copy books can be found on the Internet, so getting books wasn’t a problem. The university’s library has some books as well but I personally prefer using the Internet.
Concerning qualified lecturers, I’m in no position to answer that. All I know is that the college and school by extension do a very good job in hiring lecturers at least in my programme. Eighty per cent of my lecturers were either doctors or professors. We even had a professor that would come all the way form Enugu for classes, Prof Okoye.
Could you list other awards you won as the best overall student?
I won the Best Graduating Female Student with Outstanding Academic Performance and Leadership Qualities; Overall Best Graduating Student, Best Graduating Student in the College of Engineering, Best Graduating Student in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department, Dr Oluyombo Adetilewa Awojobi’s Prize for Best Graduating Student in Biomedical Engineering and the Bells University Student Association’s Student of the Year.
Were you in a relationship in school or you saw it as a distraction?
Yes, I was in a relationship. Something is only a distraction when you want it to be; when you lack focus. Relationships should not mar success. It’s part of this ‘adulting’ thing. You have to learn how to juggle your personal life and work/school or business relationships.
Do you have any regrets?
No regrets. Everything I have done in the past was the right thing to do in that moment. It was what seemed right at that point and maybe not everything ended up being advantageous on the long run.