Meet Owolabi Deborah Omotola a First Class graduate of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun state, Nigeria, who studied Food Science and Technology and graduated with a CGPA of 4.58, Class of 2016 on episode 9 of #SuccessStoriesSeries. She started 16 and graduated 21 years.

Enjoy the interview…

Q: It’s a pleasure to have you on the 9th episode of the #successStoriesSeries. Can we meet you?

A: I am Owolabi Deborah Omotola, the only female and second of three children. I’m from Fiditi, Oyo state and a Food Science and Technology graduate of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun state, Nigeria. I’m 24 years old.

Q: Can we know your academic background?

A: I attended St. Francis Catholic College (2006-2008), Sped International secondary school (2008- 2011) and then Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State (2011-2016). I would say, I was an average student during college days. I got my undergraduate admission immediately after secondary school, I had written JAMB examination to study at either Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state or University of Ibadan, Oyo state, but I wasn’t offered admission into either schools. I already obtained Bowen university admission form before I was denied admission in the aforementioned universities just as a plan B in case things didn’t work out. Being the only girl in the family, my parents did not want me to stay home an extra year, so, I ended up in Bowen.

Q: Was studying Food Science and Technology your most preferred course right from the start? Was there any challenge at all?

A: Right from start, I wanted to study medicine. I changed my mind in the penultimate year of the college days because I noticed I wasn’t so excellent in the three major science courses (physics, chemistry and biology) which were very necessary for any intending medical student. I also realized I freak out at the sight of surgeries after watching a video clip on caesarian section. A friend introduced Food Science to me and after doing research on the course, I fell in love with it and decided to go for it.

I didn’t really face any challenge as such from school, they were just from home but I turned deaf ears to all they said and went for what I wanted (Food Science). Okay, studying FST, I had to deal with some Engineering course works, though, my course is more of an engineering one, but at the end I came out strong.

Q: What were undergraduate days like?

A: I had good and bad days because my school was so full of unnecessary rules; being a private university. The best moment to remember was when I finished my defense then came the feeling of ‘I didn’t have to read anymore’. For some chapel days; the bell was definitely something  to remember. And when I had to study a pathway in biochemistry in 200level, I literally cried my eyes out and wouldn’t stop complaining more because there was not enough time to prepare for it. In fact all the rules in the school were frustrating.

I could remember having a threat, which was a deep one. It was the fear of being killed during the armed robbery attack that happened in school on the 22nd of September, 2011. I was already confessing my sins.

God was and still He’s my strength. As an undergraduate, I also found strength in keeping good friends (Oyewale Odunayo and Ogundele Blessing) and singing.

My weaknesses were watching movies, sleeping, also wasn’t so good at chemistry related courses.

My type personality wasn’t so social neither was I so into myself. I like to go out but I don’t unless I had a company by someone. During lectures I used to be this cool type, even times I knew the answers I would keep quiet for the fear of being wrong

Q: Tell us your class of degree and Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)? Did this come with a sense of fulfillment and what was your motivation? What were your grade points (GPs) like from 100l 1st semester till the last semester in the final year?

A: I graduated First class 4.58/5.00. Absolutely, there was a sense of fulfillment. Graduating with a first class was what I always wanted and I’d learnt to be optimistic, but considering the fact that I wasn’t a fan of reading that much, it was more based on God’s grace.

I started with a second class lower GP (3.40 precisely) and finished first class, that made me glad beyond bounds. I wanted better though but it’s an achievement to remember. I started really low like in said earlier, and as time went on it was progressive, taking it a step at a time.

Q: How easy was it achieving this feat? What were your parents’ reactions each semester as you build up the CGPAs?

A: It wasn’t easy. The time I was most scared was the first semester of my final year, felt my CGPA was going to drop and that was worrisome. We all know cgpa is easy to crash than build, feeling unserious got me then, but as God would have it, that was the time I recorded my best result ever. I had a 5.0 GP (all A’s). The fear of dropping kept me going and most importantly, I had complete trust in God beyond anything else.

Parents were glad of course. Even though my dad, being an academician, always had a way of telling me I could do better and they didn’t take my first GP (3.40) nicely, it was hell. But at the end they were proud of me.

Q: Who/what was your motivation along the quest and was there a mentor or role model?

A: I had two great friends that were bookworms. We shared common goals and they were great motivations to me. As earlier said, I wasn’t a reading type and they really helped me in that area and made me want to be better. I won’t stop emphasizing that beyond everything God kept me going, never thought I would have achieved all these without Him. Many of my results were mostly unexpected.

I had some role models but mostly spiritual. My younger brother with his high level of brilliance made a role model for me. I know that’s kinda strange, but yeah he made me want to be better.

Q: How was the relationship and entrepreneurial life during undergraduate days? How did you make a balance with academics?

A: I had relationships at different times and also close male friends, but none of them were in my school. Probably because they were not students in my school I could deal with that and also face my academics. I engaged in fashion designing, I was always engaged whenever on break, so it did not in any way interfere with my studies. And presently, I run a fashion brand; basically fashion designing and makeup artistry, called Borah Concept

Q: Balancing academics and extracurricular activities (if any), which roles were they and how did the balance go? Also, what is your opinion on pursuing academic excellence?

A: I was a chorister from 100l till 400l, joined sunday school in 200l and I was among the departmental executives in 400l and 500l. All these didn’t really affect me as such, the truth is that, I don’t really read until few weeks to exams, so I had time for those activities. I just try to reduce attendance in those places times to the exam but only when necessary.

In my opinion, I don’t believe in cramming to pass. So, if you seek academic excellence, remember you must be able to defend it after school, this many forget.

Q: What do you think is one of the expectations of the society having graduated with a First class?

A: The society kind of expect you to have all the answers to issues, even to unrelated ones.

Q: In one sentence, what is your encouraging note to someone (a student) out there reading this? Do you have a parting line or philosophy towards success?

A: Okay, believe in the best of yourself, never compare yourself to anyone, know what works for you and most importantly trust God. My philosophy towards success is simply this

‘the fact that you are better than someone doesn’t mean you are the best of who you can be, strive harder’.

Owolabi Deborah

Q: Thanks so much for your time, you had just motivated us with this session, having started with a second class lower grade point and you were able to climb to finish with a first class CGPA, this is gold! We bid you more wins ma’am.

A: You’re welcome. …thanks for having me

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

Facebook: Deborah Omotola Owolabi

Instagram: deborah_omotola  and borah concept

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