Best graduating student of the Olabisi Onabanjo
University,
Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Dami a Ayorinde, tells SAMUEL
AWOYINFA, the secret of her success
As she donned her academic gown and beamed with
smiles, not many guests knew what Dami a Ayorinde
went through to become the best graduating student of
the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
For many of those seated in the expansive OGD Hall of
the university, because of the number of times the young
lady mounted the rostrum to receive academic laurels, it
was easy to conclude that destiny had been good and fair
to her.
Life, many of them would think, had been full of roses for
the Plant Science graduate.
Indeed, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.80,
Dami a towered above her colleagues in all faculties
and departments in the institution.
But the life story of the valedictorian is a different handle
of narrative. Poverty, she claims, dealt a deadly blow on
her.
Telling the story of her four-year sojourn in the
university, she says her parents were so poor that she
could not buy a single textbook throughout her higher
education adventure.
She explains that to make up for this she got familiar with
the Internet where she read relevant topics and printed
out materials with money she could get from good-
spirited people.
She adds, “It was by the grace of God that I was able to
complete my study. My parents are so poor that I could
not afford the luxury of buying a single textbook
throughout my four-year study.
Tthe valedictorian, whose father, Samuel Ayorinde, is a
property agent, and mother, Elizabeth, a petty trader,
received no fewer than eight awards.
The honours are the Department of Plant Science and
Applied Zoology prize, Vice-Chancellor’s prize,
Chancellor’s prize, and the Prof. Afolabi Soyode’s prize for
best graduating student.
Others include the D.B. Oguntuga Memorial prize for the
best graduating student in the Faculty of Science, Dipo
Dina prize for the best first-degree programme student,
Dipo Dina prize for the best in the faculty of science, and
the Faculty of Science prize for the overall best graduating
student.
Sharing the secret of her success, the light-complexioned
Dami a adds that she also relied on notes she could
copy during lectures, as none of her well-to-do colleagues
were willing to release their textbooks to her.
She explains, “None of my colleagues was ready to lend
or give me their textbooks to read because they said I
had none to give them in return, as in exchanging books.
So, I had to carry my cross by going to the library,
Internet and reading my notes.”
The intellectual damsel, who claims she had no time for
boyfriend relationship, notes that she also likes reading
alone.
She says, “I normally lock up myself in the room while
reading. Though I have some distant relations staying
with me, since they are younger, I made sure they never
disturbed me.
“Again, I prefer to read early in the morning when the
weather is still cool. I assimilate better under such a
condition. I had no time for a boyfriend. I focused on my
studies, knowing the kind of background I come from. I
never gave room for any distraction.”
But she also faced psychological torture, especially as her
young sister had to sacrifice her education for her sake.
Dami a, the first child among her three siblings, says
her immediate younger sister, Tosin, had to discontinue
her education in the same institution at 100 level for her
to proceed with her study.
She adds, “I’ve had to eat dry garri and groundnut when
there was nothing to eat. Many times I trekked to school.
Till now, my parent’s house is still not completed. My
convocation suit is the first I bought in life. But in all, I
have reasons to thank God.
“Our parents are so poor that two of us could not afford
university education at the same time. In fact, my
younger sister had to drop at 100 level in 2012 for me to
continue with my own study.”
Twenty-year-old Tosin also graced the convocation to
share in her elder sister’s joy.
Tosin, who corroborates her sister’s story, hopes to
return to the same school, after sitting for another
Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations conducted by
the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board Examination,
some day.
She states, “I need someone who can sponsor my
education. As it were, my parents cannot shoulder the
responsibility now.”
Besides, Dami a links her success to God’s help and her
school’s fellowship pastor, Joseph Josh-Adefisan.
According to her, Josh-Adefisan contributed to the
payment of her tuition, accommodation, feeding and
mentorship.
Josh-Adefisan, while hailing Dami a’s courage, says, “I
also graduated from this institution but I am the pastor in
charge of student fellowship at the OOU main campus
and some other campuses.
“I knew about Dami a’s challenges through the campus
fellowship and that was how I started offering my little
assistance to her.”
But since her parents are still facing hard times, is there
any hope for further education? Dami a says yes,
declaring that she looks forward to pursuing a master’s
degree in Pharmacognosy.
Talking about other things that prepared her for the
excellent performance, she reveals that she is from an
extended family, where the girl-child is not known to
aspire to greater heights. However, she chose to be
different.
Dami a’s father attests to this. He explains that his
daughter has always been an achiever from her
formative years.
“She was the head girl when she was in primary school,
Mastok Nursery and Primary School, Orile Agege, Lagos;
and the library prefect when she was at Iganmode
Grammar School, Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
“She has always been a bookworm. Even when she was
much younger, when others were watching television
programmes, she would be busy with books. I am not
surprised at this feat.”
Dami a, who wants to impact on youths, advises other
undergraduates to focus seriously on their studies.
She notes, “I look forward to becoming a graduate
assistant until I secure admission to further my
education. My vision in life is to occupy an enviable
position in life where I will impact on as many lives as
possible.