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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

THE LOVE FOR MY MOM DRIVES ME TO EXCEL - Ifeoluwa Opeyemi Bejide (REDEEMER UNIVERSITY, Best Graduating Student)


Despite being a Science student, Ifeoluwa Opeyemi Bejide who emerged the best graduating student at Redeemers University few days ago, is an interesting personality. She agrees that even if she had been in the arts, she would equally have done well. She had once been a singer in the choir, and had even gone through a fashion designing training. A child with a single parent, Ifeoluwa believes that the love she has for her mom, spurs her on to diligence and academic excellence.

So what did you graduate in?
I graduated with a Bsc. Hons Microbiology First Class degree. 

Any awards?
I have numerous awards, best graduating student, best graduating student department of arts and sciences, best students department of natural sciences from 2014-2017.

How old are you?
I am 20 years old.

It’s been a long journey. At what point would you say that your ability to excel in academics came alive in you?
That was at my primary school. I was the best graduating student there. Also when I moved to Redeemer Secondary School in Mowe, I was the best graduating student there in 2013. So this is actually the third time in a row that I am achieving this feat. I give glory to God.

Were you living in Mowe then?
Yes we were living at the Redemption Camp. My mom was then working at Redeemer's Camp.

You decided to attend the Redeemer University, a private university that is considered in some circle to have expensive fees, are you from a privilege home?
No, I am not. I was privilege to attend a convocation ceremony of the university in the company of one of the senior lecturers. It was from there that I was impressed and inspired to attend the university. That convocation was in Mowe, they had not yet moved to the Osun, Ede site then.

What did you really see at the convocation that inspired you?
I saw a lady receiving the best graduating prize and all other prizes along with cash. To me that money was very important then because I thought if I was the one, I would be able to give my mom the much needed money. So that really inspired me.

Was it easy for you to get into Redeemer University?
We wrote two different examinations and I was admitted to study microbiology.

Why did you choose the sciences and not arts?
Arts crossed my mind at a time. That was when I was a little girl, people used to say that I should study Law because I could argue and talk. But it didn't really get into me. I guess I was not just cut out for the arts. It’s not like I wouldn't have done well, but it’s just that I have no interest in the arts.

WITH THE VICE CHANCELLOR OF REDEEMER UNIVERSITY
What do you intend to do in future with your course of study?
For now, after the NYSC programme, I want to further my education. I want to go for Masters. Though, I am still thinking about the next course to study. I have three options.

So which would you prefer, to work in the academia or to work outside the school body?
(Laughs) I would prefer the academia but that of course may not limit me to it.

What kind of student were you on campus?
I was more or less a triangle kind of student, hostel to class and then to chapel. I had friends on campus, friendship that I have made and hope to keep for long, but then on campus being a private university, we had a restrictive social life. We couldn't break the rules.

You mention restrictions
Yes, but the authorities made up for it by allowing us social nights once in a while: Though it was not allowed into the late hours of the day.

So you re best graduating student in the university, does it mean you were reading every day?
(Laughs) Certainly not! I really didn't have a steady reading habit. People don't really think that I read much except my close friends. I am not the type that reads voraciously. I prefer to listen in class and understand what is being taught. I feel good when I understand what the lecturer is saying and then usually, I read few days to the examination.

How about your mom?
She is a single mother. She takes care of my sister and I.

So, if your mom is not well off, how did you fund your education in a private university?
(She became emotional) It was through God's help. My first year was sponsored by a member of staff, though it was not full scholarship but the payment of school fees by the person, encouraged me to perform. Once you are the best in your college, the university gives you scholarship, but it wasn't full scholarship probably tuition and books so you pay for food and other basics.

But we heard that when you got to your final year, you were hard up with money and with no hope of paying your fees, you applied to defer your final year studies.
Yes, there was no money to pay. I felt there was no point hanging on and pretending. But just when I went to drop the letter, I was told that Mommy GO had intervened and paid for the final year tuition. What happened was that, when there was no hope for the fees and I came up with the idea of deferring to another year. I was advised to write a letter to Mommy GO. So in that state of mind, I wrote the letter. But I didn't know that she will get to see it. But she did. So after waiting, on the day that I finally made up my mind to go and drop the letter, I was told she had paid.

While on campus, which curriculum activities or clubs were you into?
(Laughs) we didn't have such, we were limited to our departmental association. I was involved in that one. I was the Financial Secretary of the Biological Students Association.


Overtime, did you have the feeling that you would come out tops in the university?
Yes, I always knew because it was something that I had already planned for and God help me to get it through. I was always watching my grades. When I entered the university, I had 5.0 in the first semester. So I knew I had to keep it that way to be the best. It wasn't easy to maintain and it wasn't all that high from the beginning to the end because it dropped with some courses, but it also kept coming back up.

Now I know that relationship in a private university is not so easy, but let me ask all the same, did you have any of the opposite sex that was very close to you?
No, I didn't have, but I had friends among the boys, but they were all friends no special relationships. 

So you mean all of four years, you didn't have a fine boy on campus that you liked?
(Laughs) Of course they were nice guys but there was just no relationship, no special interest, we were just friends.

Now you are out of campus, are you looking forward to having close relationship in future?
Definitely. Yes o. It is in view right now. I only kept it for a particular time.

So will that be after your Master’s degree programme?
(Laughs again) Anything can happen. It can happen during the Masters programme, or during NYSC programme or even now. It is in God's hands.

What kind of personality character will you be looking at?
I would want someone who is God fearing, someone who will understand me, one who will understand the kind of things that I will want to pursue in future.

Can you describe yourself?
I'm cool, but some of my friends call me weird because I just sometimes like to keep to myself. I don't like doing so much stuff that every other person likes doing. Things that everybody does, normally don’t appeal to me. I'm trendy, I'm jovial. I am playful.

What appeals to you?
I like people who are sincere. I like friends that watch your back for you, friends that though you are not there, they will speak well of you.

Hobbies?
I read novels but I stopped for a while. Now I am trying to pick it up again.

What kind of novels do you read?
I read fiction and science. I like music. I love to dress in clothes that fit. I was once learning fashion designing. I make clothes and was selling clothes at a time. Was a member of the choir in my church but we changed church and I didn't have opportunity to do it again.

Your mom said that even while you were on campus in your final year, you used to join her to sweep the classrooms and other parts of the school?
I had to help her. She finds the heart to help me so I had to find the heart to help her too. And in future, my sister and I are looking at returning to her the love that she showed to us.

How do you feel about material things?
I appreciate it but I am not compelled by it. If it was to be attractive to me, then i would have hanged unto my rich friends or people i know and be eating from them. And of course I would have missed out on my genuine friends. I was brought up in a home where contentment is everything. I don't get carried away by material things.

Did you feel intimidated by the wealth you saw on campus from privileged children?
Not at all, I was not popular on campus for being poor! Many people did not even know me to be less privilege. That was because even from the little I had I tried to give as well. I blended but I also knew where i belonged. I had friends who were genuinely interested in me.

You said earlier that you want to further your education, so is there a particular fund somewhere for you to do so right now?
No, there isn't. But I think it will be best in my situation to go for my Masters before being ready for work. So I am counting on God again for the funding. I have hope and I have faith. But then if i get a job that allows me to do my Master on part time basis, i will gladly accept.

Generally what do you make up of Redeemer University?
I have to encourage children from poor homes; they should not look down on themselves. Not everyone in this school is rich, yes you should appreciate your family if they are rich but then if you are not from a rich home, still appreciate your parents. Do not look down on your parents. Be contented with what your parents give you, don't go getting into trouble because of things that others have that you do not have but strive harder in a good way to achieve for yourself.

Do you miss your dad?
I don't really know because I didn't grow up with him. But it would have been nice if he was around today. Who wouldn't want a dad?

But he is still alive
Yes definitely.

Do you see him from time to time?
Not quite, because it has been long.

But you are still in touch
Sometimes.

That mean you have hope that you will see him again
I hope so but for over three years now I have not seen him.

Is he in Nigeria?
I don't know.


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