With a 4.88 Cumulative Grade Points Average in Environmental Science and Resource Management, Mr. Adebayo Fabiyi emerged the Overall Best Graduating Student at the National Open University of Nigeria last Saturday. He shares his experience in this interview with OLALEYE ALUKO. Excerpts:
Tell us about your family and educational background
I am from the Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State. I am 35 years-old and married with three children. I was admitted to the National Open University of Nigeria, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, campus for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management. Earlier, I attended the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, where I obtained a Higher National Diploma in Chemistry. But I wanted a university degree.
Although I wanted to go to other universities, I chose NOUN because of my tight schedule at work. I was actually interested in Environmental Chemistry, but NOUN did not offer the course. So I settled for Environmental Science.
Did you plan to finish as the overall best graduating student of the institution?
Sincerely, when I was coming into the programme, I only made up my mind to excel. My belief was that anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. There was this enthusiasm in me. I wanted to succeed. My motto was that whatever your hands find to do, do it very well.
My ambition initially was to get a Five-Point perfect grade. Unfortunately in my first semester, I got a Grade B and that hope was dashed. In spite of this setback, I was determined to get the best I could get from the programme.
I tried my best and finally, came out with a 4.88 CGPA. I think that is fair enough. If I aimed for the sky and I got the roof, I think I have tried. But at the Masters’ level, I think I would still like to get a five-point grade.
What factors inspired your academic performance?
My wife is one of the factors. She was very supportive. She was a huge source of inspiration to me. I think my children played an important role in my success, too. Whenever it was time to study for the examinations, they cooperated with me. I have a small study room where I read. Whenever I entered that room, they knew it was time not to disturb me and they gave me space. My wife also made sure I did not fall asleep during those periods.
After many days without enough sleep, I grew very lean. Some days, during examinations, I had to forego my meals. If I ate, I would become very heavy and sleepy. Sometimes, for a whole day I drank only water and fruit juice. I did not sleep for more than one hour daily and this continued for about three weeks. But, I slept well before the examinations.
What other sacrifices did you make for this programme?
The biggest sacrifice, for me, was not sleeping as much as I should. I am someone who loves to sleep. I enjoy sleeping, but I had to stay awake most of the time to achieve this dream. My wife and children were with me at the convocation. I think my wife was even more excited than everybody else. She said that she could not imagine getting handshakes from top professors because her husband emerged as the overall best graduating student.
What is your advice to the government on job creation for teeming Nigerian graduates?
The government is making some efforts to solve the problem, but I think it can do better. The private industries can also create more spaces.