My Unibadan Experience
The atmosphere was filled with ecstasy, euphory and excitement. You can easily tell from the brimming smiles that lit the faces of my classmates and I; it was that of joy and accomplishment. It was the day we wrote our final examination as an Undergraduate. My final semester at the University of Ibadan was unexpectedly the most interesting and unarguably the most eventful. Lots of memories were created as I came to the realization that time is almost up.
I felt fatigued and often had the thoughts of “what next?” pop up my head intermittently as I further approach the completion of my programme as an Undergrad — a feeling I continually nurse and feels it’s natural to be experienced especially as the future looks gloomy with no promises considering that there is hardly any system working in the country. At some points, I sought counselling from mentors and very close colleagues. This was a quest for self-discovery and development — a pursuit I’m glad I achieved. Towards my last months, I remembered chatting with my HOD, Professor Awodoyin, a number of Professors, and Lecturers within and outside my Department (Crop Protection and Environmental Biology) and the feedback I got emphasized the need to keep my feet on the ground and my eyes on the stars; never to settle for less.
keep your feet on the ground and eyes on the stars; never settle for less
Backwind to the Department’s project defense day where I had to defend my Undergraduate thesis and convince the Board of Examiners, comprised of internal and external supervisors, that lo and behold, I truly did author my project, in less than five minutes. This was one hell of a day, though it turned out interesting. This was a bit challenging because of the uncertainties and uncontrollable factors that beleaguered our project defense which hitherto was scheduled for March 2020 but no thanks to ASUU strike and COVID19 Pandemic for delaying by another year. I successfully defended my project and that moment officially signaled the end of my Undergrad as I heaved a sigh of relief. All that’s left to look forward to is my Postgrad and what lies ahead. I had just completed a chapter of my life.
Reflecting on my journey through my Undergrad in the University of Ibadan, largely regarded as the ‘First and the Best’, was nothing short of an eventful and exciting journey, although not without its ups and downs — guess what? That’s what makes the journey more adventurous. Just like every other fresher, I came to the university with all of the right, success-oriented, leading mindset required to set off with a head start. My story might not be far-off from that of an average Nigerian Youth just about seeking admission to one of the public universities in the country. The peculiar challenges of acing your Joint Admissions Matriculation Board exam, post-Jamb, is such a herculean hurdle to cross and if you successfully accomplish this challenge, you’re on course to having a great academic sojourn and you’re at an advantage over your peers that are otherwise unlucky.
At the beginning, it was not all rosy for me, as I had to settle for a course, I never heard of nor knew existed — Crop Protection and Environmental Biology. I had applied for Pharmacy but didn’t make the Cut-off mark. Despite applying for change-of-course to Veterinary medicine and Chemistry as the second choice, UI deemed it fit for me to be a Crop Protectionist and Environmental Biologist instead. I accepted this offer then, whilst telling myself this will only be a stepping stone to more successes, subconsciously telling myself if I’m unable to become a pharmacist, then, being a Plant Doctor/Consultant wouldn’t be a bad idea. Alas, this was a blessing in disguise.
Further rewind to the matriculation day, where almost 3500 students were sworn in as a Bonafide Uite out of a possible 10,000 candidates. This day happens to be one of my favourite days in my UI’s journey as it reminds me of how it all began and marks the commencement of my academic sojourn in a higher institution of learning. Quite a number of orientation programmes were organized, however, the one that resonated more and guided me through my Undergraduate journey was that of Professor L.A. Akinbile. He said: “I welcome you all to this great citadel of learning. I want you all to know that you are all on a perfect CGPA of 7.0, however, the decision to maintain it now lies on you.”
Those words, as simple as they sound, had echoing effects on me and was enough motivation to spur me on as I vowed to maintain the perfect grade and set records. I strengthened my resolve to graduate with a perfect CGPA of 7. Days passed, months vanished, years ran out and the clock ticked down right under my very eyes as it seemed like yesterday, just like a dazzling mirage, the time faded away. My days at the University of Ibadan have now come to an end. A few leaflets and turns of pages would not be enough to document all the experiences I had in the past six years; however, it is safe to say that each day and every moment of the journey was worth it.
Although I started my journey on a soft pedal and at a slow pace, towards the end, I was pedaling on the fourth gear. My early days in the University were my most sacred days and least distractful as I lived as though I was a lone ranger. I had little to no friends. I was more of a triangular student as my location per time can’t be hard to guess, I was always shuttling between the lecture room, my room, and the mosque (reading room). I barely had time to entertain friends, I lived largely a boring life; it was worth the sacrifice though. No thanks to the popular ‘Book of life’, as it’s fondly called, that revealed my identity at the end of my first year as being one of the bookworms in the Faculty of Agriculture,an exposure which until today I can’t decipher if it was a blessing or otherwise. However, one thing was certain, it was the moment that turned around my boring life and set me onboard a new adventure.
My seriousness with my books paid off in my first year, helping me to start off on a very good note and providing the much-needed bedrock and cushion for subsequent years upon which I continue to build my CGPA. I can boldly say that my efforts were largely SELF-DRIVEN and no form of motivation beats SELF-MOTIVATION. At the end of my first year, I was at a 6.2 CGPA, and at this point, I knew only magic would be required to reach 7.0 CGPA. Then, there was a slight modification to my original plan — to remain in the first class till I graduate. I was no longer in the race to achieve a perfect GPA at the expense of other areas of growth and personal development like leadership, volunteering, and extracurricular activities.
My midyear in school was my most explorative years and the most interesting years in my adventure at the University of Ibadan, as I blended adequately my academics and extracurricular life. At this point, I found a new cause worth pursuing and I had started investing my time and energy into other activities too, as a complement to my academics. Following up on a piece of advice given to me by a friend:
“To allow the university to pass through you, you have to involve yourself in one of PRESS or POLITICS”.
Guess which option I went for? POLITICS. (You guessed correctly)
I started off by volunteering to be my Class Representative, a position I eventually held till I finished, and then my Department’s Treasurer in my third year and ultimately, the Department’s Undergraduate Club’s President in my final year. These leadership experiences have given me more exposure, connections and real-life experiences than I could have gained from merely being glued to the four walls of the classroom. Oftentimes, we forget that the word ‘UNIVERSITY’ is a coinage of ‘UNIVERSE’ and ‘CITY’, that is, a universal city of learning. Learning should not be limited to the classrooms alone as the University is made to encourage individuals to be able to apply theoretical knowledge to solving practical real-life problems.
It is not enough to pass through the University but also allows the University to pass through you as it equips you with the arsenal needed to face the real-world fraught with uncertainties and multifaceted challenges.
This journey would not have been a memorable one safe for my amazing colleagues and classmates, mentors and coaches who have made each step of the journey worth reminiscing as we created a series of long-lasting, exciting memories all through the way ranging from crazy stunts and jokes cracked in class, group discussions, projects, practical sessions, especially the mushroom practical and my amazing lecturers who have been above and beyond and instrumental in my success, having patiently taught and diligently passed across their wealth of knowledge unto me that I may become a valuable asset to my immediate community, my Country and the world at large.
Looking back, I can’t help but smile and give thanks to God for the grace that has been bestowed on me, how much I’ve learned and despite not making a perfect CGPA, I ended up achieving my dream of graduating with a first-class degree, placing me in the tiny top of the pyramid and in the top 1% of my peers — a feat that’s worthy of all the hype it receives.
Yeah, that’s it! Eureka! Eureka! Eureka! 💪🏼🎉✨🎆
- Put God first in all that you do and every other thing will fall in place
- Trust your guts. Do not falter on what you strongly believe
- Life is not a bed of roses, neither is it a bed of thorns; make realistic plans, and stick to the plan religiously
- Take your first year very seriously. I can’t overemphasize this fact. It is the bedrock upon which you build and it has got to be very strong.
- Do not pass through the University without letting it pass through you in turn. You’re better equipped and well-groomed for the world outside that way
- Have fun! Create Memories!!!
Cheers! Excited for the adventure that awaits me going forward.
Let’s Connect! Ibrahim Moshood🌹 | LinkedIn