She started brilliantly, but two years into her course at the Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Ayokunnumi Tiamiyu found herself at the verge of dropping out of school as her source of funding suddenly ran dry. Providence intervened: she got a scholarship from the founder of the institution, Prince Bola Ajibola. And she made it count! She sustained her brilliant performance throughout, eventually emerging as the best graduating student with a CGPA of 4.94 – the highest ever in the institution. She spoke with LAOLU HAROLDS.
What informed your choice of Microbiology at Crescent University?
I didn’t want to study microbiology or attend a private university, but because of strikes (in public universities), I had to go to a private university. So, I had no other choice than to study the course, but later on, I grew to love the course.
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At what point did you begin to notice you might end up graduating with First Class? Or, did you actually set out to achieve that?
In my 100 Level first semester, when the result came out, I wasn’t expecting a First Class, but I had a CGPA of 5.0. It really didn’t mean anything to me still. I just kept going; but later at my 200 Level, because of circumstances that surrounded me I had to decide that I must maintain my CGPA, and I must graduate as the best graduating student.
I’m sorry I don’t want to talk about it.
What personal discipline did you subject yourself to sustain the momentum you found?
I denied myself so many things. I saw other students in school going about enjoying their social life; but I believed that I could later cope with my social life after school. Everything has an appointed time. I made sure I read very early in the morning, maybe around 6am; and sometimes till 12 in the afternoon. I denied myself most of these social habits of going to parties and things like that.
Did anything threaten your goal of graduating with a First Class, and possibly the best student? What challenges did you experience?
Yes, I did experience many challenges on the way, especially when I got to 200 Level. I needed fund for my education. There was no money. But at this point, the proprietor of the school came and sponsored my education from my 300 Level to 400 Level, my final year.
Do you want to tell us a little about your family background, where you grew up and so on?
My parents are Alhaji and Chief Mrs Tiamiyu. I grew up in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. I had my primary and secondary education in Ijebu-Ode.
Social media addiction has become a big problem among young people these days – pinging, chatting on Facebook, posting photographs on Instagram and so on. How did you cope with that?
I’m not the Facebook or Instagram type. I chat on my phone with family on whatsapp, but I do my studying in the morning when most people are still sleeping.
Crescent University is a faith-based university, and there must have been some restrictions; some dos and don’ts. Young people don’t particularly like such monitoring or restrictions – dress codes, limits of interaction and socialization. How did these affect you?
At first, it was very difficult in Crescent University, because I’m a Christian. The lifestyle was covering your hair, wearing long dresses and so on. When I got to Crescent University where I couldn’t wear jeans or put on my earrings and all, it was quite difficult to adapt to in my 100 Level, but there was not choice. I eventually got used to it and got comfortable with it.
As for restriction or socialization, I think it really helped me; because in my school, you only have time to go out about three times in a month. You can’t just go out anyhow; and I didn’t really know anybody in Abeokuta. So, I wasn’t really that affected, because I’m not the going-out person.
You said something now that is very significant. Many people may not know that an Islamic university has Christian students. First, you said you are Christian. But Tiamiyu is a Muslim name…
Yes. My dad is a Muslim and my mum is a Christian. I have practiced Christianity from childhood. And Crescent University is a faith-tolerant school. Nobody discriminates against anyone on account of faith. I went to church from school. I just wrote letter to the registrar that I had to go to church, and it was approved. We were given a particular time on Sunday to go to church. My own was from 8am to 12pm. I attended Rhema Chapel.
Looking back now at your sojourn through this university, what vital lesson did life teach you?
I think the vital lesson I learnt was that it’s good to do whatever you have to do at the right time; not to procrastinate. At first, I was a chronic procrastinator. Most of the time, I did my things casually; but later when I now knew that I had a goal to pursue, from my 300 Level, I had to balance things and do the right thing at the right time.
What do you plan to do next?
I’d really love to go for my Master’s degree.
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