With a CGPA of 4.84, Miss Elizabeth Toyin Ajiboye was adjudged the overall best graduating student of the 2017/2018 graduating set from the Department of Chemical Sciences of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State. In this interview, she shares with MODUPE GEORGE the secrets of her success. Excerpts:
It appears you were the overall best in almost all the courses you took, and ultimately you emerged the very best on graduation day. How did that make you feel?
Happy and grateful to God.
Why did you choose to study Chemistry?
I just love that aspect of science.
Sciences are dreaded by many students, especially the female students. Why is the case different with you?
It is true that many think that Sciences are some of the dreaded courses, but those who have excelled in various aspects of Sciences will tell you that it is not true. There were no secrets or new reading techniques I had, other than to first depend on God and not on my intellectual quotient or how far I could read. I knew the period of the day, place and posture that was convenient for me to read. I read ahead of class, used the library, browsed the internet for deep comprehension and solved past questions too. To the glory of God I was able to attain a CGPA of 4.84 out of 5.0.
Did you choose education or that was what you had to settle for when others failed?
I wanted to study medicine at the University of Ibadan, but I didn’t meet up to the cutoff mark, so I obtained the form for a change of institution to Tai Solarin University of Education. At first, it wasn’t a passion, but when I came to TASUED, I believed it was for a purpose and so the passion came alongside the determination to give it my best.
At what point exactly did you determine to graduate with First Class?
It wasn’t really predetermined, but I had the mindset of going to the higher institution to be the best that I could ever be. When I came into the higher institution, the first semester of my first year seemed like I had forgotten what my goal was; but to the glory of God, I was able to wake up from my slumber as soon as possible and that was in the second semester of my first year. Since then, I kept that focus.
What actually influenced your decision to top your class?
Well, I didn’t know that I was going to top my class. I just believed that I could achieve it with the help of God and hard work. I also had an inner drive to always put in my best and keep pushing believing that I was meant for the top.
You sounded as if there were no challenges on your way to achieving this feat. Were there difficult moments?
I had a lot of tough and difficult moments in school. It included trying to balance my spiritual life with my academics, essentially because I was a leader in my fellowship. This I was able to achieve with the help of the Holy Spirit. The times I fell sick were also very challenging. Others include financial constraints, time management, as well as failure of electricity supply which we experienced for several months.
In specific terms, what were the standards you set for yourself before you could achieve your success dream?
First and foremost, I had to rededicate my life to God, knowing that success without Christ is a bad success, but I wanted a good success. Another is utilising every opportunity I had to visit the library and do some research work or assignments. Also, ensuring that I covered all my courses wherever I might have lagged behind due to one programme or the other and revising my notes before going to class in case of impromptu tests were some of the strategies that worked for me.
Your school is known for dual system of education. Which of the vocations did you choose, and why?
I chose Fashion Designing. I did simply because I love innovations.
Who are your parents? Tell us a little about your background?
My parents are Mr and Mrs James and Irene Ajibode. I am from a family of six, which is made up of two boys, two girls and my parents. I’m the third child. I am a native of Ogun State. I started my primary education at Florence Ade Akodu International School, Maitama, Abuja before my family relocated to Lagos in 2003. I continued my primary school education at Simmic Primary School, and from there I moved to Simmic High School, Abaranje, Ikotun, Lagos State, where I graduated in 2012. I gained admission into Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State in 2014.
What role did your parents play in your emergence as the overall best grading student today?
My parents played the most important and incomparable role in making me who I am today. Their love, prayers, financial support, self-denial, encouragement, sacrifice, support and determination brought me to this height, and I will forever be grateful to them. I love them.
How did you handle distractions, especially advances from male admirers?
Well, I didn’t have any distraction from male admirers. I was always decently dressed and didn’t engage in flirty conversations. When such occurred, I’ll just joke over it and go my way.
Did you socialise at all while in school?
Yes, I did only when it came to positive social activities.
What word of advice do you have for undergraduates?
Do not ever limit yourself. You can! Don’t always forget that whatever you vividly imagine and enthusiastically work upon with prayer must inevitable come to pass.
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