In an exclusive interview with ThePUNCH, Otunba Mary, 26, a graduate of Economics at Caleb University narrated how she finished with a first-class degree despite working and schooling at the same time.
Born into a polygamous home, Mary knew what strife, pain, tolerance and endurance were as a child. She understood the body language. The what, where, when and how stolen glances work.
Life was not a bed of roses for Mary and there were sad moments she didn’t like to talk about. She lost her mum and dad in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Their death was a bitter pill to swallow for her as the little pond where she swam dried up.
However, with faith, hard-work and perseverance, she was able to scale through the hurdles of life.
When asked how the journey to attaining the academic feat began, she said,
“My goal was to either graduate with first class or finish as the best graduating student, and with that in mind, I ensured I had a plan that would be actionable daily to achieve my set goal.”
“It was in the first semester of my first year. I used to complain to my friends that my Grade Point Average was not strong enough and my friends in other classes of degree would just marvel at my dissatisfaction. Inasmuch as they felt I should celebrate where I was, I didn’t like to settle for less. I always believed it could be better.”
“So I had to give my academic work my all, especially in terms of burning the midnight oil.”
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“I was in college trying to obtain my diploma, I mostly preferred group discussions in the day, while I did personal studying at night. I simply replicated that in the university and while taking my exams to qualify as a chartered accountant. I could read anytime and anywhere if I made up my mind to,” she added.
In combining side hustles with academics, Mary said that she encountered many challenges but she was able to manage them with the help of people who mentored and parented her throughout her university education.
Mary however said that working, schooling and taking professional exams at the same time did not give her room for any social engagement.
“Some of my friends could not understand why I pushed myself that hard and some stepped aside along the line. I also got tired of trying to explain to them, but all that has passed now.”
She advised students aiming at similar academic feat to set their goals and have a workable plan that would guide their steps towards achieving their desires.
“I would say goals should be set right from the start. If there is any student who has yet to do that, it is never too late. The truth is there is no one way to do these things. It is about identifying what works for you and making sure you always set your mind on that goal. Have a plan that will guide your steps towards achieving that which you desire and do a daily assessment of the plan.”
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