First Class demystified! Meet Akanbi Comfort Oluwatosin a First Class graduate of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun state, Nigeria, who studied Economics and graduated with a CGPA of 4.90, Class of 2017 on episode 2 of #SuccessStoriesSeries. She started 15 and graduated 19 years.

Enjoy the interview with her…

Q: Hi, can we meet you?

A: I am Akanbi Comfort Oluwatosin, the first of 3 children, from Ogbomoso, Oyo state, I’m 21 years Old.

Q: To start with, what would you say was your level during secondary school days and how has your academic background been?

A: Actually, I was the brilliant one with prizes at the end of the session. I attended Tadey International School for my primary education after which I proceeded to Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School and then Bowen University, Iwo (The Best of Western Education in Nigeria).

Q: How did you get admitted into Bowen University and your choice of study, was studying economics your most preferred course right from the start?

A: I got admitted through Jamb. I had 220 in my first and only Jamb through which I got admission to Bowen. I actually processed admission into Obafemi Awolowo University which I actually got but for the strike at that time, I went to Bowen university. Yes o, in fact my first, second and third choice was Economics.

Q: Why economics out of all social science courses, and did you encounter any challenge studying economics?

A: Okay, while in my late JSS 3, I was privileged to access an economics key point (a concise preparatory pamphlet for WAEC and other external exams), out of curiosity on opening the pages, I stumbled on something like ‘wants are unlimited but resources are limited, so you have to make choices…’ These are basic things in economics and I found it real like … people have so many things they want but the money to buy is limited, so economics trying to say how can we manage what we have to get what we need. I found that interesting and made enquiries about economics, what it entails, people that have studied it, what they do and all. I got grains of answers and got to know those that have studied this course in the past and their constant exploits till date, such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and many more. So, I was intrigued about economics and at that point I knew what I really wanted, which was nothing but economics.

Hmmm, challenge? It depends on your definition of challenge but basically since it was what I wanted, the passion to drive through was there, every challenge was seen as a stepping stone and additional knowledge being acquired.

Recommended: Read more success stories on this series

Q: Can you share the moments you remembered to be the most frustrating and best in school and why?

A: The most frustrating moment was during my research project. It really gave me tough time and at the end of chapter 2, a lecturer advised I change my topic since what I was embarking on was bigger than my level and preferable for an M.Sc student. I cried out my eyes then since it was already second semester and I was wondering where I would start from. Now it’s all story but it wasn’t funny then.

My best moment was my project-defense day, I was so excited that finally, the journey of 4 years ended successfully coupled with the fact that final year project which I had anticipated with so much fear was a success and I carried out every single work myself by God’s grace.

Q: What can you say were your strength and weakness during undergraduate? Also, what was your class of degree, Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) and what were your grade points (GPs) like from 100l 1st semester till the last semester in the final year? Was there a sense of fulfillment with this class of degree?

A: My strength was making effective use of my time, ability to understand easily and even teach others while my weakness was unavailability to attend a lot of events which I wish I had attended.

I graduated with a First Class honors CGPA 4.90/5.00. The GPs were 4.89, 5.00, 5.00, 4.94, 4.70, 5.00, 4.89 and 5.00. Yes o, there was this sense of fulfillment and it was more like I dreamt of it before entering the university, so like I always say it was first class or first class.

Q: Can you share with us what motivated you finishing with 4.90 CGPA? Was achieving/keeping these GPs easy probably there was a moment of giving up. What kept you going?

A: The Motivation came from a book I read before entering the university ‘Be careful what you call impossible’ and it was intentional like I mentioned before I worked towards it from my first year and thanks be to God for crowning my effort with brilliant success. My motivation was hinged on seeing the end from the beginning, more like, I kept looking at the end, convocation, after school and the honor of finishing with a first class kept me moving.

No, it wasn’t easy at all keeping these GPs, because the higher you go, the harder it becomes to build the CGPA and any B like this drops the CGPA but even all As might increase your CGPA by just 0.01. And yes, I almost gave up after my 300 level 1st semester result came out where I had 2 Bs in courses I thought should have been As, it really demoralized me reason being that, it dropped my CGPA seriously but the next semester was an encouragement with a 5.00 GP.

Q: May I ask if there was a mentor or role model?

A: Yes, Olawale Perfect the author of the book I mentioned earlier. He graduated with a first class from University of Lagos, and studied Biochemistry. He happened to had written the book in his 100L days. I read the book when I was in SS 3 and his story motivated me. I kept in touch with him basically at the end of every semester to tell him my results, and he would always tell me how it can be better. He then promised to come for my convocation if I finished with a first class, which he did.

Q: Now on striking a balance between academics and involvement in extracurricular activities (if any), which roles were they and how did they go?

A: In my final year, I was involved with a lot of activities- Lydia Auxiliary President, Bowen Baptist Students Fellowship Treasurer, Member Student Representative Council, Member Bowen Got talent Committee, Member NESA Electoral committee. The basic thing was managing my time effectively.

Q: What is your opinion on views of the public about private university students recording first class CGPA as something easy to come by, than can be rarely attained in either state or federal universities with rigors and sometimes strict or sadists as lecturers?

A: In my opinion, being a private, state or federal university graduate doesn’t hold a factor to whatever class of degree someone finished with. The person must have done a lot of work in finishing strong and above all, I’m of the mind that all schools must fulfill the NUC requirements for graduation with standard procedures being observed and not compromising their value systems. The difference I can say is that, private university students have a conducive environments and adequate facilities to facilitate learning than it would be in a federal university setting, and due to a raised population in there (federal schools) the constant struggles to graduate first class is inevitable. Now personally, the fact that I went to a private Uni doesn’t make my first class easier since it was my determination from onset.

Q: You authored and published a book ‘GOOD SUCCESS’ in the year 2018, it’s so glaring your zeal for academic excellence inspired the birth of the book. What does ‘Good Success’ aim to achieve?

A: Good success basically aims at giving the practical steps I used in finishing with a first class which anyone can also apply and would finish with good success too.

Q: Briefly, what is your encouraging note to someone (a student) out there reading this … trying to get academics right but with a mixed priority? An

A: Don’t give up because it is not over until it is. Also, don’t be short sighted in pursuing your long term goals.

Q: Do you have a parting line or philosophy towards success?

A: Yes…You cannot be short sighted and reach long term goals.

Q: What is your opinion on pursuing academic excellence?

A: As it might seem overrated and people will say it does not really matter in the real world, there are some places academic performance will be the one to announce you and then how you manage it from there depends on you. More like I always say; a first class or second class upper result will announce you but then what you really know will determine if people will listen to you.

Recommended: Read more articles on Academics, Motivations, blog contents and other interview series.

Thanks so much for your time, wishing you the very best in your further pursuits. We would be glad to have you for another awesome session someday.

Thanks for having me too and I will anticipate another session like this.

You can connect with our guest on the following social media handles:

Facebook: Akanbi Tosin

Instagram: Akanbi_Comfort

Twitter: @ComfortAkanbi

Are you inspired with this success story? If YES, feel free to comment also subscribe to our newsletters for update on subsequent episodes.

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