With 16 awards and a CGPA of 4.85, Aminat Omilani emerged the overall best graduating student of Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, for the 2021/2022 academic session. In this interview by YUSUF ABDULKADIR, she talks about her academic journey and how she achieved this feat.
Why did you choose to study economics?
I believe God orchestrated it because I initially wanted to study law but the school helped me to pick economics because of my UTME subject combination and as at that time the school was not offering the course.
Emerging as the number one among thousands of students is no mean feat. How does this achievement make you feel and what does it mean to you?
I was surprised and I didn’texpect it. I feel there are many other students who deserve the position more than me. All the same I feel elated and delighted that I was able to make my parents proud especially my mum because of how hard she struggled to send me toa private institution. This accomplishment makes feel that once I keep being diligent and put God in all my endeavours, success is guaranteed.
What was your reading pattern like? Were there any special methods you adopted?
During classes, I made sure I listened attentively and go online to download more materials on the topic being taught or go to the school library to borrow textbook for better understanding of the course. Also, I made sure I spend at least two hours daily reading my books. There wasn’t any special method, it was just me being consistent in reading and tenacious in all I do.
Being a first-class graduate what was your relationship with your peers?
Actually, I didn’t have any issue with my peers because they were understanding and loving people. I was accepted and appreciated and also they were always eager to learn from me.
What motivates you to strive for academic excellence?
My background and my interest in academics motivate me the most.
Was there any time you ever gave up on graduating with first class?
Yes, especially during my 300L first semester. My CGPA dropped. I was scared and worried that I might not be a first class graduate after all. However, I was able to overcome with the word of God and also with my mentor’s advice.
What would you say about the role Precious Cornerstone University played in your exposure as an undergraduate?
Precious Cornerstone University played a big role during my undergraduate days especially in the area of my spiritual life and I was able to meet people of like minds.I also had the opportunity to meet with quality lecturers.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I am from Ibadan, Oyo State, and I was born into a family of five. I am the first born of my parents. I have two other siblings. I lost my sister 14 years ago and I lost my dad 5 years ago. My dad was a large-scale farmer while my mum is a civil servant. After the death of my dad,my mum took up the responsibility of raising my siblings and I. So far God has been helping. My brother is an undergraduate while my sister is about to enter a higher institution.
How many awards did you receive? List them.
I received a total of 16 awards. Education award/Grant for excellence for first class students (2020/2021 session) Precious Cornerstone University; Chaplaincy award for outstanding academic excellence; Chaplaincy award for integrityPrecious Cornerstone University Chapel; Departmental prize for First class graduateDepartment of Economics; Faculty Prize for first class graduate,Precious Cornerstone University; University Prize for First Class graduate,Precious Cornerstone University; University Award for overall best graduating student, Chancellor’s prize for best graduating; BOT Chairman, Rtd, Gen OladayoPopoola’s Prize for the best graduating student; Mrs Victoria Tokunbo Oke’s prize for the best graduating female student;Deaconess Philemon Adeniran in support of Mrs Victoria Tokunbo Oke’s prize for the best graduating female student;Vice Chancellor’s Prize for the overall best graduating student in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences; Pastor BestmanNwoka’s Prize for the overall best graduating student in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences; Mrs OmodeleObileye’s Prize for the best graduating student in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences; Mr BanjiOsunkunle’s Prize for Best Graduating Student in Economics; New Horizon’s Excellent Prize award on International IT and e-business Professional Skills and Certification; (Faculty of Social and Management Sciences);Gift of a Computer Tablet.
If you had not studied Economics, what would you have studied?
I would have studied law.
What was your happiest moment in school?
My happiest moment in school was when It was first announced that I was the best student and was given a cash prize of N20,000.
What other activities did you engage in while studying?
I engaged myself in chapel activities and gift packaging as entrepreneurial skill. Also I was a member of the student disciplinary committee; PCU electoral officers and ceremonies and the convocation committee
Was there any low moment for you while in school? How did you overcome them?
Yes. When the school wanted to resume for another academic session, that was my 400 level, I found it difficult to pay my school fees and I thought I wouldn’t be able to graduate with my colleagues but God came through for me. Also at the beginning of the 1st semester of 400 level I fell sick for a month. I thought I couldn’t make it but God came through. I overcame them with consistent prayers and seeking advice from people.
Is there anyone you look up to as role model in the academic arena?
One of those I looked up to was the late Dr Abiola Abidemi. He played a big role in developing my interest in Economics and I will forever appreciate him for his interest in grooming me. Also, Dr Francis Adeyemi. He was my head of department and he made the course interesting to us.
Do you think the situation of things in Nigeria is hindering young people from optimally exploring their potential?
Yes the country is not providing the resources that the youths need to explore the potentials in them thereby leading to brain drain in the country.
What are your career plans?
I look forward to being a renowned economist, a professional chartered accountant,an educational consultant and an emeritus professor.
As a certified economist, what would you do differently to impact the world?
I would like to impact the world in the economic and educational sectors. In the economic sector, by offering policies that would influence the world economy most especially in the trade sectors. While in the educational sector, I would like to stabilise the educational system most especially in the west African countries.
What advice would you give to students who want to achieve academic excellence like you?
Know God. Serve Him. Trust Him. Be diligent in all your endeavours. Strive for the best, don’t be discouraged if you have failed in one aspect keep trying. Just like he said in his word “ seeth thou a man is diligent in his business he shall stand before Kings and not before mere men.”
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE