Miss Funke Olanrewaju of the department of Food Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) emerged the best graduating student for the 2017/18 academic session with a 4.91 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA). She shares her experience with IYABO LAWAL of The Guardian.
Ques: You emerged the best graduating student in your set, did you deliberately decide to graduate top of your class?
Ans:No, all I wanted was to put in my best academically and get grades so as to reward the efforts of those who put in so much for me to get a higher education. Along the line, I just found out to my surprise that I made the Dean’s list every academic year. In all, I believe that God was behind my academic success.
How many times did you sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)?
I sat for it four times. It was not as if I failed but somehow admission eluded me. It was after the last attempt that I gained admission into FUTA.
Were you at any point discouraged?
Yes I was. I actually lost hope and was already giving up. But my secondary school principal encouraged me. He was the one that purchased the UTME forms each time. He was optimistic that I was destined for greatness and I am glad today that his persistence paid off.
Did life on campus present any pressure or temptations?
Yes the freedom was initially exhilarating but I was focused. I was determined to succeed. I did not have everything I needed but I was contented. I refused to compare myself with anyone. I was therefore not pressured into engaging in unwholesome activities.
What was your social life like? Did you have any friends?
I was the sister’s coordinator of my fellowship at a point. I also socialised in the most decent ways possible. I had friends who were my reading partners. All of my friends were very supportive. One of them in particular stood out. His name is Matthew Shonibare. He is the perfect example of how young people of the opposite sex should relate. He was supportive and sacrificial throughout my sojourn in the university.
Do you plan to encourage girls to embrace the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)?
I have always had passion for the girl-child. I have a desire for them to fulfill their potential regardless of gender restrictions. One thing that limits the female folk is ignorance of the amount of influence that they wield. And I believe that eradicating that ignorance is the first step in the right direction. My plan is to get people to believe in themselves in order to make the world a better place.
Besides academics, did you learn a skill on campus?
I learnt how to bake. I really do love baking. I love kneading with my hands. I plan on improving on what I have learnt. I intend to combine baking with any career I will pursue in the future.
How well do you think a woman can balance academic excellence and the home front?
It is unfortunate that in our society people feel the hallmark of a woman’s achievement is marriage. That is why any other attainment is downplayed. With dialogue and mutual understanding, a woman can achieve her full potential when she is married. I believe though that the achievement of women folk must be celebrated whether they are single or married.
What is the next thing for you?
I get my instructions from God. I know everything will fall in place once God speaks. For now I plan to serve my country and thereafter pursue my Masters degree.