Motunrayo Ajia from the Department of Petroleum Engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, emerged as the best graduating student of the 2018/2019 set with a perfect CGPA score of 5.0. In this interview by Olasunkanmi Oso, she speaks about her academic sojourn through the faith-based institution.
Can you please give us a peek into your growing up years and family background?
I had a ‘normal childhood’ growing up, having three siblings, my mum and dad. Definitely beautiful family and friends.
How did you feel when you were admitted as a freshman at Covenant University?
To be honest, at that age, I wanted to study outside the country. I wanted to leave Nigeria with its problems; so it was a case of mixed feelings for a young girl like me.
Did you ever dream of graduating with a perfect score? And what was the propelling force behind your academic feat?
I didn’t think much of it at first. I just wanted to pass university, until the second semester of my second year, a family friend randomly said ‘you know this is possible; someone almost did it’.
You set a record at the Covenant University beating even your male colleagues in a course like Petroleum Engineering. How easy was that? And was there any time you felt like giving up on your dream?
Of course, I felt like giving up sometimes but I had a really good support system, so I’d bounce back. It really doesn’t matter the gender, if you want to succeed, you will.
What propelled your choice and passion to study petroleum engineering?
My cousin had mentioned it to me and well, I decided I’d do it, since the energy industry is one of the most influential industries in Nigeria and the world at large. But I wouldn’t say I had a passion in the beginning.
Looking back through the years, were there times that you didn’t meet up with expectations (either yours or your parents’) and how did you handle such?
Yes, I’m not perfect; we’re all not perfect, but we have to pick up the pieces and try again. We’ve all messed up; we’ve all had a point we’ve failed. Someone once told me that in the end, it will be fine; if it isn’t fine, it’s not the end. I’m not sure he understood what he was saying completely, but it really helped me.
Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities while in school?
In my earlier years in school, I took on roles in my departmental activities, but towards the end, not so much.
What was your schedule like as an undergraduate?
I didn’t have much of a schedule. I knew I had things to do and I had to get them done to have my desired result; so I tried to read until I understood each course.
Many students have the drive of achieving same feat as yours, but many lost steam before the finish line. How did you manage to keep your eyes on the goal?
Like I said, my family and friends are the absolute best. That’s how I was able to do this. They kept praying for me and checking on me. No man is an island, to be honest.
What’s your next plan after this?
I am actually weighing my options, but I would like to work in an organisation that makes impact in the society. Also, I am anticipating my national youth service and to see how I can add up to the value system of my country.