With a CGPA of 4.91 in Microbiology, Ijeoma Roberta Igwe recently emerged the best graduating student of Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, during the university’s convocation for the 2018 academic session. She shared her experiences and dreams with HAKEEM GBADAMOSI.
To what do you attribute your performance and emergence as the best graduating student?
I would like to give it all to the Almighty God, and also my mother who had been a major source of encouragement to me throughout my school days. I can remember many times in which certain assignments and examinations made me wish I would be better off anywhere else but school. I would call my mum and wail and sometimes even threaten to give up. But she would always offer some words of encouragement. These words were my guide throughout my years in school.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I went to Grace Citizens Primary and Secondary Schools, Ojo, Lagos State. I am the only child of my mum, but I am from an extended family; so, there is a lot of competition where I come from. I am an indigene of Imo State, and I came to Elizade University by chance. It’s not by choice, but I would say it’s by design and the will of God. This is because I actually wanted to study medicine, but my mum pushed me to study Microbiology. When I resumed here, at first, I thought I would not give my best to it, because that was not my dream course, but my mum’s prayers contributed a lot to what I am celebrating today.
How many times did you write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, and did you choose Elizade?
I wrote UTME twice, and I never picked Elizade; but I did a change of institution. At first, I was reluctant to come here. I was not comfortable to come here, but when I got here, I loved the environment because it felt like I was not in Nigeria. There was no stress, and I loved it. Everyone I spoke to encouraged me to give my best, and the lecturers were good too, and encouraging. I would love to attend this school again to study more. I was exposed to so many things, and there are always one or two things to develop you and prepare you for the future. It’s a great experience to be here at Elizade.
Everything couldn’t have been rosy, could it? Did you face challenges?
My number one challenge was my own stubbornness, because of my reluctance to come here in the first place. You have to first beat the mind before you can beat any other thing; so, I had to convince my mind to love this place. After that, it was smooth sail.
Academically, were there challenges?
My biggest challenge was when I didn’t get something easily. I get easily frustrated when I set my mind on a certain goal and I don’t get to that goal. I might just give up at once. So, it took a lot of encouragement and a lot of hard work to get to this place.
What are your plans now for the future?
I will either go and get my Master’s degree in Biotechnology or go back and start with Medicine, because that’s my initial dream. I am just 21 years old, and I believe age is still on my side. Age should not be a barrier, as long as you achieve whatever you have passion for. I have always had passion for medicine, and will always have passion for it.
You spoke a lot about your mother; what can you tell us about your father?
My dad is the bookworm of the house; he is always telling you you have to be the best. He is always pushing us to be the best. Though he had other kids before me, he knows how to push you to succeed and achieve your dreams. The major thing I did was to set my priorities right. I shunned pleasure to make my parents proud.
With your kind of brilliance, you could do well going into academics. No such plans?
If I go for my Master’s in Biotechnology, I will definitely move to academics; but if I decide to pursue my dream, I will opt for medicine.
How social were you on the campus?
To some people, I was social; to some people, I was very quiet, and to me, I am very quiet when you don’t know me.