‘I got best 1st class grade in UNILAG having fun and studying’

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Iziren Josiah Akhigbe

Iziren Josiah Akhigbe

I am Iziren Josiah Akhigbe. I am 26 years old and I’m the third of five children. I am a Christian of Anglican background. I attended Lara Day Nursery and Primary School, Ikeja. For secondary school education, it was Federal Government College, Ibilo, Edo State. For tertiary education, I attended Yaba College of Technology at first before UNILAG. I did my National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Yabatech in the department of Mechanical Engineering. My dad is a structural engineer (Civil) while my mum is a teacher in a secondary school.

How does it feel to be the best graduating student of UNILAG?

The feeling is that of happiness and fear. I’m happy in the sense that there is so much attention being paid to me now. I’m not really used to this kind of attention, but as it is, that privacy has been broken. For me, it’s all fun. But then I am also afraid. This is because so much is expected from me. Henceforth, anything I do, people will always expect me to be perfect and even be the best. It’s a serious challenge.

Why did you choose UNILAG to set this all-time record?

Attending University of Lagos has always been my dream. After several attempts to gain admission to the university failed, I decided to attend Yaba College of Technology (YABATech) where I did my National Diploma (ND) programme in mechanical engineering.  After the completion of ND, I still tried gaining admission to UNILAG through Direct Entry, having graduated with Upper Credit, but again my application couldn’t sail through because I was told that UNILAG will only accept me as a Direct Entry student if I had a Distinction grade.

So I had to return for my Higher National Diploma (HND) programme in YabaTech and fortunately enough, I was able to earn a distinction grade. And so in June 2008, I applied to study mechanical engineering through Direct Entry once again and in September of that same year, I was granted the admission.

What inspired your performance?

Actually, there were quite a number of factors that influenced my performance. Having heard a lot about UNILAG as a fun-raving institution, I was already looking towards catching fun when the admission finally came. But few days after I was admitted, my mother called me and sat me down. She said she wanted me to make her proud in UNILAG considering the number of years I have tried to gain admission into the institution. And most importantly, she reminded me that I had done well in securing distinction in YabaTech, hence I should also set another record here in UNILAG. That was the first inspiration.

The second inspiration I received was from the orientation programme organized for us by the institution’s management when we first came in. During the programme, a former student of UNILAG, Deborah Ayodele who was the best graduating student during her set was called to address us and I must say I was really inspired by her speech that I said to myself that I would also do something great before I graduate from this school.

Also, there are two of my outstanding colleagues, Titilayo Oniyide and Christopher Ogbinazor whom I studied with and who continuously encouraged me that I have what it takes to be the best in my study. They always kept me on my toes. But most importantly is the fact that I was able to learn from all those I came across while my undergraduate studies lasted.

Most inspiring for me was also the kind of academic record I was able to maintain while the undergraduate programme was on. There was a time that all of my papers were just in “A” and not a single “C” grade. And to that extent I was inspired that I will go all the way to be a first class graduate.

So, the quest to become a first class graduate denied you the fun you had looked forward to in UNILAG?

During my stay in UNILAG as an undergraduate, I played a lot. I also hung out with a couple of friends. It would interest you to know that I had an adopted daughter while on campus as well as a family. In other words, I’m saying I was able to study and have fun at the same time. The truth however is that, despite playing and catching fun with friends, I was still able to manage my time. In other words, I had time to play and time to study.

How easy was it for you to marry pleasure and study at the same time?

Despite playing around, I was still able to manage my time. I do like to read early in the morning and late in the night. But I never for once read in the midnight. The truth is that I like my sleep and don’t want to compromise it in any way. If there was any reason for me to study in the afternoon at all, that may only be for note writing. So I used the hot weather for note writing and the cool weather to study.

So far, have you been approached by any company offering you a job?

No, but I am looking forward to that. I would be glad if I receive any of such offers. But in the meantime, I am pursuing my academics to the next level.

What advice do you have for those coming behind you and fellow graduants?

For those that are coming after me, I would like to tell them that there is time for everything. There is time to play and time to work. During my stay in UNILAG as an undergraduate, I played a lot. I also hung out with a couple of friends. But I think what is most important is that you learn all you can; play all you can and also earn all you can. For some of my colleagues who are graduating with me today, I will say we are the future leaders. We need to have positive minds because we can be the change we aspire to be for our country. We should not allow this piece of paper;s being given to us today to deceive us. Though it matters, but I tell you that is to the extent we want it to be. Hence for those who have lower grades, they need to summon courage and realize the fact that it is not the end of the world. You can still go into the world and show us all the hidden potentials in you.

For those who graduated with good grades, I will like to caution that we need not to be overjoyed. Pride goes before fall. Know yourself and relate with the wise ones. Life is all about learning. If we make mistake along the way, we should learn from such mistake.

Any last words for your school?

Yes. Like I said while delivering my speech, I think a time has come for UNILAG to also find a way of not joining nationwide strike anytime it is called.  If UNILORIN can decide not to join ASUU strike anytime it is called, I believe UNILAG which is even more prestigious can also chose to do same. I hope the varsity authority will look into this.

In : Education

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