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My playful nature made people judge me as unserious –Oloko, Achievers varsity first class graduate

Mariam Oloko graduated with first class honours in International Relations from Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, having finished with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.80. She speaks with PETER DADA, a punch correspondent about her background, education, and aspiration

Mariam Oloko

Tell us a bit about your background.

I am from Ijebu Ode in Ogun State. I attended Amville School in Ilupeju, Lagos, for my primary education, and Basil International Schools, Ilupeju, Lagos, for secondary education.

Was Achievers University your first choice?

Choosing Achievers was not planned. My dad called me one day and asked for the way forward and which school I would like to choose. So, I just went online and chose Achievers University. The name was just catchy. The next thing was that I found myself on the road to Achievers University for the admission process.

Which school did you plan to attend initially?

Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State.

Was International Relations at AU the programme of your dream from the beginning?

International Relations was not my dream programme but I loved it as time went on. My dream course was Mass Communication. I have always loved the idea of being on TV, writing, smiling and reading the news, being a TV personality and so on. As a child, I also dreamt of becoming  a pediatrician but I left science class in secondary school because my mathematics was really bad, so I moved to an art class.  I had always wanted to be on TV but Achievers University changed everything for me. Now, I am aspiring to become a diplomat or a varsity lecturer.

How many times did you take the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination?

I took UTME once and passed.

What would you say placed you on the road to making a first class?

How I made a first class and became the overall best graduating student of the university is still a puzzle to me because I never thought I could achieve such feats. All I know is that I tried my best in all the courses. So, I’ll just say all thanks to God.

Can you recall some of the challenges you encountered during the programme?

I faced a lot of challenges. I had limited funds and also I didn’t really believe in myself. Many people also didn’t believe in me because of the way I do my things. I am a very playful and jovial person, so people thought I was unserious and often used my personality to judge my capability. I never planned to graduate with a first class. But one of the lecturers in the department saw my potential and called me aside to advise me. I decided to go in the path pointed me; and I promised that I wouldn’t disappoint myself. Luckily for me and thanks to God, I didn’t disappoint myself nor did I disappoint the lecturer and my family.

How did your parents react when they saw your final results?

I had always wanted to make my family proud anywhere. My mum and dad were happy because they contributed to my success story.

Having completed your first degree, what do you plan to do next?

The Nigerian economy isn’t that good anymore but I really wish to go for my master’s straightaway because I would really love for this fire in me to burn brighter. I would love to have my master’s and PhD abroad, but funding is my concern. I already imagine myself being called Dr Oluwadamilola and my family filled with happiness. Studying for a postgraduate degree in Nigeria is always full of uncertainties and I am really afraid of that because I want no interruptions in the process of achieving my dream. I want to be a lecturer because I want to impart knowledge and motivate students who do not believe in themselves, like I initially didn’t. I want to be like one of my lecturers who had his master’s and PhD abroad and returned to Nigeria to teach.

Were you in any relationship as an undergraduate?

Not really. I had someone I actually truly liked but I was afraid of being derailed academically and disappointing my dad. As an individual, I get easily distracted, therefore I chose to let everything go and focus on what was more important. But trust me, it’s possible to have a boyfriend, go to parties and still do well academically. It just depends on the type of person one is.

What was your study pattern on campus?

I wasn’t the type to go for all-night reading but some of my classmates challenged me and ensured I read outside my room at night. They thought I would sleep off and they were all concerned about me. I really thank them because they didn’t allow me to choose laziness over hard work.

How did you cope with social distractions on campus?

That was another challenge for me. But I avoided clubs and other social activities and God helped me. You know there are different kinds of activities. Dinner or drama night is a social activity too. I recall I attended a dinner in 100 Level but after that I didn’t attend any other one. I just stayed in the hostel waiting for the gist. And this was not because I was reading but because I was simply trying to stay out of trouble. I wanted to graduate with peace of mind.

SOURCE: PUNCH.

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