“My father thought I was sleeping around, and never on campus. My father’s doubt in my ability to excel in the university propelled me to achieve the feat among the 15 First Class graduates produced by the university.”
These are some of the words of 21-year-old Mariam Oluwadamilola Oloko, who led the pack as the Best Graduating student of Achievers’ University, a private university in Owo, Ondo State for the 2020/2021 academic session. Oluwadamilola, a graduate of the Department of International Relations emerged as the best student among the 330 graduating students churned out by the university.
The graduate, who urged every student to believe in themselves, and that it is through this they could actually achieve their dream, however, lauded one of her lecturers, who, according to her, identified her potential and encouraged her to harness it, saying this led to her success. “Also, I always remember, as I was told, that I was the reason why my mother couldn’t complete her university education, and I vowed to make her not to regret aborting me. So, I have strong determination to complete my education to make her proud,” Oluwadamilola recalled. She added that she was also motivated by her father’s doubt about her ability to succeed, saying hence she was determined that she must succeed to make her parents happy.
Oluwadamilola, who recalled that she had to stay away from going to parties or engaged in frivolous or social activities, said: “Partying. God, I never went to a club all through my four years of study. When my friends are going out, I will be like let us just stay back at school.
But, I do go to eateries because I love food; particularly chicken and chips. I only go there to get food to eat, but partying and clubbing, not all.
Again, for boyfriends too, no didn’t have time to date anyone. I am not saying a student should not do that, but for me, I easily get distracted. I like focusing on one particular thing at a time and that is my study.”
While recalling that most times she had to cry because of humiliation when I tried to borrow money from her mates to buy books or make photocopies,
Oluwadamilola noted: “There is a saying that nothing good comes easy; it was not that easy, but it was not entirely difficult either.” On her challenges, she said: “One of the challenging times I personally faced was when I fell ill and had to visit the University Health Centre.
The next thing I remembered was waking up in a wheelchair at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo. I didn’t know what really happened and neither did I have the strength to ask questions.
But, I thank God and the medical personnel and staff of the university that ensured that I was given the necessary medical attention, including provision for food.” Speaking on her plans for the future,
Oluwadamilola, who said she would like to impact knowledge on others, however, hinted that she would wish to get scholarships for her Masters and PhD programmes abroad