Despite suffering emotional imbalance towards the conclusion of her studies, Abisola Olajumoke Fasuyi came out the Best Graduating Student of Covenant University at the 12th Convocation Ceremony tagged, “The Release of Eagles 2017”. With excitements, gesticulations, giggles and eye-rolling, she spoke with Ayo Ajayi of edutorial.ng on her journey to distinction. Excerpt:
Q: Family background?
A: I am the last born of four. I have two brothers and a lovely sister. My parents are godly people, they showed us love and they know when to scold and when to hold close. I had my share of the house chores, the shouts and the scolding. I wasn’t pampered.
Q: Did you want to study Accounting from onset or it was chosen for you by dad and mum?
A: Actually I had wanted to study Accounting. My dad is a Chartered Accountant. Since I was little, I go stock taking with him, I see what he does and then the only thing that was in my head was to be an Accountant. No one opposed it; my dad did not even have any intentional influence since he is in that line, it was ok by him.
Q: Why CU, any influence?
A: Actually, I wanted CU. The first time I came to Covenant University, I came with a family friend to see their daughter. I saw some girls dressed nice and looking beautiful, so I told the sister I came with that I want to come here and be like them. I was already in SS2 then but my parents did not really have that kind of money. My sister was already in a private university then. So we were all looking at a public university. My teacher in secondary school was also discouraging me from going to a private university. But I like this school and wanted to come. My first choice was OAU even though I knew I wasn’t going there because of age, I was just 15 then. My second choice was Covenant University which I wanted to come. So I did not bother to write post JAMB at OAU since my age did not favour me. So I believed God for CU and glory be to God. Let just say coming to CU was divinely orchestrated.
Q: Any initial regret coming to Covenant University?
A: Not at all. I enjoyed every bit of my year one. I met God and had a brand new life. When I realised the advantage of coming to CU, I had no regret at all. I am super glad. I don’t know if I would have known God this much and if I would have learnt and met these great people this much. So I came to the right place.
Q: Any financial or academic challenge?
A: No, I did not have any, glory to God my parents were able to pay my school fees before resumption. I have few issues with some courses but they were not serious issues.
Q: So tell us your experience from year one as much as you can remember?
A: First of all, I am an introvert. I don’t get overly involved in things and I keep to myself a lot. Though, I can be very funny, playful and naughty but to those who are very close to me. So it took a time to adjust. It was difficult to make friends, most of the friends I have, made me their friend. And I find them good enough to be friends. Most of my year one I was not really involved in too many things. Then I began to have issues with friends, they said I wasn’t communicating very well. I had to pray to God to make something great out of me. And somehow, I began to improve; I communicate better and got involved in a lot of things. I joined Service Group (Hospitality), made friends, I did a lot of tutorials (I love teaching) and I had a lot of fun. The only thing I was not involved in was the sport. I am not the sports type. I just did the things that are important.
Q: How did friends contribute to being the best?
A: I had awesome friends. God is my solid rock, the main factor. Apart from God, the greatest assets I have are my friends. I had wonderful friends right from my year one. I had people that showed me the way. I was the kind of person who likes doing things by myself but in 200 Level, I met Oyinkan Odunayo who said we must read together because, in 100 Level, I was the only one with 5.0 CGPA. So a lot of people knew me through that. At first, I wasn’t too comfortable with it but later, I realised that she was helping me the whole lot. Sometimes I may not be in the mood to read and she would encourage me to read. And our results improved. Some other people joined us later and these people helped all aspect of my life which influenced my spiritual and academic life. Now I have four wonderful friends that we really worked together, Oyinkan, Chinonso, Paulette and Winifred. They are awesome friends and I am glad their results too are wonderful.
Q: How did Spirituality generally and other Core Values affected your performance?
A: I think that is an advantage of coming to Covenant University. That’s what makes CU different from other universities. I knew God before I came here. I gave my life to Christ at age of 10 but I wasn’t serious about it. I don’t read my Bible; I was just a nominal Christian. But in my 100 Level, I met God, I rededicated my life and my journey with God started on a serious and conscious walk with God. All the spiritual gatherings, Chapel Services, Covenant Hour of Prayer (CHOP), Worship Him In The Evening (WHITE) etc. made me strong spiritually, that even when I was off campus; I was able to stand strong with Him. The spirituality has actually influenced every aspect of my life. It is the basis of my life.
Q: CU is a place where students jokingly say rapture can take place in the sense that you can sleep and wake up to realise that some of your room mates have been sent away for one reason or the other. Did you have any friend that was sent away which probably affected you somehow?
A: Not really. I was never close to anyone that was sent home.
Q: No warning letter?
A: Ok, I had a warning letter (laugh)
Q: For what?
A: (Laughter) it was funny. Ok, in my 300 Level, I did an internship with CU Alumni Association during the Session. It was the first time they were preparing their books, so I and some of my course mates worked with them. One of those days we had to work overnight because we had a deadline and we made a mistake not to take permission from the Dean of Students. So we just told the Hall Officer, signed out and went to work overnight, thinking that it’s a school assignment, the school will understand. But it was a Friday, they had the headcount and I wasn’t there. We had to face the SDC (Student Disciplinary Council). I and the other four that worked with Alumni faced the SDC together. Our SDC session was funny, all they talked about at the SDC was our CGPA and I think that nullifies the punishment but at the end, I got a warning letter (laugh). Somehow, it didn’t affect me but I was scared to tell my parents. They would have said, “We didn’t send you to school to go and work with Alumni Association. But then it didn’t affect me since it wasn’t that I did any bad thing. Should I say it was my ignorance that caused it, if I had done the right thing, I wouldn’t have found myself in such situation. So it didn’t affect me and I was never close to anybody that was expelled. Of cause I always feel bad when people are sent away. Sometimes I had to pray for them.
Q: Did it ever occur to you that you are going to be the best graduating student in your set and if it did, at what point?
A: Yes indeed. When Victor Ubong, the guy that graduated with a CGPA 4. 99 also in Accounting came to talk to us about how easy it is to get ‘A’s in all our courses, I could picture ‘A’s in all my courses all my semesters, because “You cannot feature in the future you cannot picture.” But I wasn’t thinking of being the best graduating student. I was just thinking of excellence. In 300 Level, it looked like it because my CGPA was really high, 4. 98 and my sister really talked about it. She practically drew the picture by rehashing my Convocation as the best graduating student. But I wasn’t too keen on it because I don’t know other people’s CGPA. I don’t know if I was the highest but I prayed to God that if this is what He wants for me I want it too. I will be glad if it happens and if not, glory to God. So, my sister and my mentor, Ogwu Onyeka were so sure of it. I was the only one not too sure; I was like, “if it happens glory to God.” You know when you are trying to avoid disappointment (laugh). So when I was told some weeks before convocation, I wasn’t shocked because it was already in my subconscious that it could happen. So it was at my 300 and 400 Levels that I became conscious that I could be the best graduating student.
Q: Any word for the University management, faculty, staff and students?
A: Covenant University is going places. Each time we pray about the Vision 10: 2022, I am so sure we are getting there. This is a great school. Any other school should just emulate Covenant University because this is a place you grow all-around. You get a good foundation which is Spirituality. You are encouraged to grow. Covenant University is a place where you are really educated and not just schooling. You are not just attending lectures but all aspects of your life are speaking education. Sometimes ago, I had to check the meaning of education and I realised that it’s not about going to class but opening and exercising your mind and that is one thing you get at Covenant University. I want to say a big thank you to all our Lecturers, they are really awesome. They really did what they have to do to get us to where we are.
Q: Any advice for those in school who may be motivated by your success story?
A: Ok what I will say is that my journey in school was good because I have God. Without God, there is no true success and fulfilment of purpose. I took God seriously and whoever want to achieve whatever you think I have achieved must take God seriously. I set my priorities right; I knew what was important, what was urgent to do and did them. There were a lot of times that I wanted to be somewhere but I couldn’t because there were some things more important. There were birthday parties I wanted to attend but I couldn’t because I had a test which if I did not prepare for, it would tell in my result. So you have to set your priorities right. Life would not give you what you deserve; it would give you what you demand. Another thing I want to say is what I mentioned in my speech which I think a lot of people did not give attention to is divine motivation. We all need motivation; it is the force that pushes you that tell how far you go. Over time I have to ask God to give me something to motivate me and He always gives me the motivation I needed. Sometimes He tells me “I am going to teach you so you can teach others, or I am going to make you great that every other person will see you and know that I am real. In my final year I went through a lot of emotional imbalance because of my project. I wanted to do something different though I don’t have the knowledge. So I have to search for the knowledge all by myself couple with limited time. There was a lot of pressure on me but God taught me to trust Him. He gave me a scripture in Mathew 5: 14-16 where He said I am the light of the world. I learnt from that scripture that Iike the light I am to shine, but He also placed responsibility on me to let my light so shine for others to glorify my God. Then I told myself that I must not be ordinary, my CGPA must not be put in the midst of others, it should be above others because I am the light of the world. This made me really put in a lot of efforts because I have a responsibility to shine. Our Chancellor always says, “You are absolutely responsible for the outcome of your life.” So whatever you become, you have to make it happen. I know that God’s grace is sufficient for us. I understand that what I have received is from God, but a lot of work was put into it. You have a responsibility to make that thing happen. So if you are in school, you need God, you have to get your priority right, you need to draw motivation from the word of God, especially if you are a Christian and know who you really are and what you can do. You need to know that you are absolutely responsible for the outcome of your life.
Q: After school what next?
A: I will go for my NYSC and then go ahead to write my professional exams. Accounting is not a big deal when you are just an accountant. You have to be a chartered accountant to carry weight in the professional line. I am going to start my professional exams sometimes in September and this December, I am writing ACCA hopefully. And then I want to gain some experience in the use of Accounting software and then go ahead to do my Masters. I will love to be a lecturer in the future, I love to teach, I think I have a calling into that line. But I don’t want to go into teaching directly; I want to garner experience in the business world because I learnt through experience that those who practice in the industry make a better teacher due to their practical experience.