With 14 awards and a CGPA of 4.96, Oluwakorede Adedeji emerged as the best graduating student of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State for the 2020/2021 academic session. In this interview by YUSUF ABDULKADIR, he speaks about his academic journey and how he achieved this feat.
With a 4.96 CGPA, you graduated as the best student of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ilorin. How does this achievement make you feel and what does it mean to you?
It means a lot to me. It feels great to have received the award and to inspire others to do the same.
Tell us how you felt when you discovered you were the best in your set?
I feel excited. I have wonderful classmates with very high CGPAs. It wasn’t easy trying to maintain my CGPA. Realising that I was the best made me very happy.
How would you feel if you had graduated with any grade other than this?
I would still be grateful, as long as I graduated a pharmacist.
Has been a pharmacist being part of your dream?
Yes, it has. Pharmacy has always been my first choice of study since secondary school, and I am really happy to finally achieve it.
Which area of the course did you find most interesting?
There were a lot of areas I did find interesting. I mostly enjoyed courses like Pharmaceutical Chemistry, where you get to study atomic and molecular interactions in drug compounds; Pharmaceutics, where you get to calculate; and Pharmaceutical Microbiology, where you work on microorganisms. However, pharmacy school is known for a lot of lab practicals. I think I enjoyed most of them.
When you were a child, were there times your parents forced you to read?
I can’t remember any time like that. I have always been competitive in academics for as early as I can remember, and that always motivated me to read without being told to do so.
What was your study schedule like? And what reading style worked for you?
My reading style varies. It depends on the course. Most times I try to read for at least a few hours every day, but sometimes that changes due to many assignments and lab reports I had to write. On average, at least 1 – 3 hours daily, and more hours during tests and exams.
Were you involved in school activities?
Yes. I served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students, Unilorin chapter, where I helped publish the biweekly newsletter, the annual magazine, and the book of scientific abstracts for the faculty. I was also the Campus Director for the Millennium Campus Fellowship which focuses on social impact projects in the school and the community at large.
What was your social life like and how would you say it influenced your performance?
On a scale of 1 – 10, I would say my social life was a 5. Academics are just as important as relationships and friendships. I think I tried to set a balance that would not adversely affect my performance.
How many awards did you receive? List them.
I received a total of 14 awards. Prof. Agunu Memorial Award for the Overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) award for the overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; PSN Kwara Award for the Overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; Christopher Okpaleke Memorial Award for the Overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; Bioraj award for the overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; WACPC Award for the Overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; NAPA Unilorin Award for the Overall Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; Mega Life Sciences Award for the Best Graduating Pharmacy Student; Best Graduating Student in the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry; Best Graduating Student in the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology; Best Graduating Student in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy; Best Graduating Student in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Prof. P. F Olurinola Award for the Best Graduating Student in Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology; and AIPN Award for the Best Graduating Student in Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy.
Apart from good grades, what skills did you acquire while studying?
Well, I developed myself in design and innovation thinking, and went on to win some competitions in my school and nationally. I also learnt how to sew, and sometimes made clothes including scrubs and lab coats for others. I also developed myself in research writing.
If you had not studied Pharmacy, what would you have studied?
That would have been mathematics, because I love calculations a lot.
What were your most memorable moments in school?
Too many to count. I think the most memorable for me was my first day setting foot in pharmacy school and my induction day.
What are your career goals? How will your academic achievements help you accomplish these goals?
I aspire to continuously improve myself in my field and to gather as much skills and experience needed to do that. Having a very good academic record goes a long way in providing credibility to my capabilities and helping me gain useful connections.
Who are your role models?
So many. I look up to my parents and my lecturers.
What is the one thing you would advise students to do or run away from?
Never set limits for yourselves, only set goals and remember to pray.