Omolola Okunlola recently graduated from Babcock University as the overall best student at the undergraduate level with a CGPA of 4.91. She tells us about her experience in school and how she was able to navigate through responsibilities.
Please introduce yourself. My name is Omolola Okunlola. I studied Mass Communication at Babcock University, with a specialty in PR and Advertising. I’m a reader, poet and writer. Some people call me a storyteller.
How does it feel to graduate with a first-class degree? It feels surreal. It almost feels like I’m having an out of body experience. It’s a different thing to have imagined this moment and although I always knew from my first year that if I put in just the right amount of effort, I would graduate with it. It still feels unreal to me. With a great CGPA comes great responsibility.
What was your experience like in school? My experience in school was great. In answering this, it may feel to some like I didn’t have the full ‘university experience’, like attending social events, meeting new people and generally just engaging in more social situations, but by my standards, I had a wonderful experience. I made friends that filled my life with peace and healthy challenges. I attended events when I could and met some beautiful people along the way. I also worked as the Director of Academics of the Mass Communication student body while I was in school and I experienced what being a leader means and how to navigate that with school work. I got involved in social impact work by becoming a Millennium Fellow in my final year. Overall, it was a wonderful, growth-filled experience.
What challenges did you face in school and how were you able to surmount them? When I served as the Director of Academics for the department, I had a difficult time balancing my academics with my responsibilities. I eventually got the hang of it with the help of my other executives and my wonderful friends. I would definitely say that my final year was a challenging period in my life. At that time, I was working towards being a Millennium Fellow, working remotely as an intern, balancing school work and also working on my final year project. The pandemic threw everything off balance and my final year was, for the most part, virtual. It was a struggle working on my project because I missed the physical company of my friends and academic support system. I changed my project topic twice because I wanted something exceptional. This is actually a defining quality of mine – my need for exceptionality. My supervisor, Dr Helen Adekoya, was very instrumental in helping me put in my best. God and my family were my rock during this time. I experienced a great deal of anxiety on many days, I doubted my ability to actually pull through and come out on top. I had the fear of failing and disappointing the people who expected better of me. Like every determined human being, I had to show a great deal of courage. I took my losses and strived to do better.
What kind of learner are you? Majorly, I’m a solo learner. I prefer to read on my own and find meaning to complexities on a personal level. However, I also value interpersonal learning. I find that studying in groups helps to solidify knowledge.
People say, first-class students always read. Was that the case for you? No. My final year roommate thought I was unserious. I don’t blame her really. I wasn’t reading all the time. Sometimes, I preferred to watch movies or read other things unrelated to my course of study.
Were are you in a romantic relationship in school? If yes, how were you able to strike a balance? There were a couple of ‘situationships’. But I didn’t get into a serious relationship till my final year. There was never a need to strike a balance and there was no need to think of one as more distracting or time consuming than the other. My relationship helped me in my school work. It was amazing to have someone so dependable and encouraging to lean on during that time in my life.
What efforts and sacrifices did you make to attain this award? My beauty sleep (haha).
What are your strategies for academic success? My strategies for academic success isn’t so much a list as it is a phrase — just try. Try to put in work, try to put in effort, try to pull those all-nighters, try to learn something new (it helps if it’s even unrelated to your course of study), try to read far and wide, try. Just try.
Do you intend to do your Masters? If yes, what do you want to study? Yes. I have a couple of options in mind. There’s digital marketing, public relations, creative writing and publishing. I’m considering my options for now.
What is your plan after school? My plan after school is to explore. We are a mosaic of different experiences. Right now, I’m entertaining the idea of trying different things and acquiring knowledge from different spheres of life.
What is your advice for students who want to graduate with a first-class degree? It’s as I said before, just try. Go the extra mile. Try and pray for favour.
Nire Adetimehin graduated from Babcock University with a CGPA of 4.71 after studying Mass Communication. Nire tells us about her university experience and her plans after graduation.
How does it feel to graduate with a first class?
Wow, it feels so fulfilling and beautiful to graduate with a first-class degree. It reminds me that whatever I set my mind to, I can get it. It’s a lifetime achievement for me. I know this is a starter for greater things I will achieve.
Were there times you almost got fed up with the amount of effort you had to put in?
Yes! Many times. I don’t think I can count how many times I broke down. As an undergraduate, I juggled my academics and my responsibility as the Director of Public Relations for Babcock University Students’ Association. Final year was a rollercoaster experience for me. I really got fed up during that period because I was also handling my final year project.
Who was the most influential person during your time at Babcock University?
I’ll say my future self, my parents and my close friends. Having the right community helps one to achieve your goals. My friends played a huge role in my success in school. We spent most of our time together and they ensured I was always on my toes.
What activities did you get involved in when you were in school? I was part of the sabbath school department at my church. I was also the Director of Public Relations at my department and the school’s association. I also laid the foundation for my dreams of being a coach.
How do you think Babcock University has prepared you for life after graduation? I appreciate the time I spent in Babcock University. BU prepared me physically, spiritually, mentally, socially and morally. The academic and non academic curriculum catered for life after school and I am grateful for that.
What are your plans now? Do you have any things that you want to do now? How do you intend to go about it? For now, I want to acquire as many skills as possible. I’m looking forward to enrolling into a culinary school. Later on, I want to take a course in social media management and become a certified social media manager.
Describe your university experience in three words. Beautiful, eventful, insightful.
If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be? Lanre Olusola.
Is there anything you would have loved to do as a student that you could not do? No, not any I can think of.
What is one piece of advice you would give to people looking to be in your position? My advice is to remain diligent, prayerful and goal oriented. I have learnt that you can achieve your goals if you remain disciplined and focused.