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“I had Over 30 Rejections before Gaining Admission into University of Texas,” says Nigerian 1st Class Graduate doing his PhD in US

The man identified as Olusola Dehinsilu said he has been trying for the scholarship since 2018 before finally having a breakthrough. Sharing adorable photos of himself on his LinkedIn page, he urged people to learn from his success story and never give up.

A young Nigerian man identified as Olusola Dehinsilu has taken to social media to celebrate his achievement after bagging a PhD scholarship in the United States.

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The pioneer first class graduate of mathematics from Olabisi Onabanjo University shared his academic journey on his LinkedIn page, where he disclosed that he will be studying at the University of Texas Arlington.

According to Olusola, he served as an assistant lecturer at The Polytechnic Ibadan during his NYSC.

The young man said he was automatically retained as a Graduate Assistant (GA) in his alma mater in 2018.

Olusola’s post read in part: “With this opportunity as a GA, I was saddled with the responsibilities of proctoring examinations, grading exam scripts, taking tutorials, assisting the HOD in executing extra-curricular activities, and many more.

“And I also enrolled for my Masters of Science in Mathematics @ Olabisi Onabanjo University, which I graduated in 2021.

“After so many rejections since year 2018, I wish to now congratulate myself on this great feat, as I successfully become a University of Texas Arlington Mathematics PhD scholar. I wish everyone could pick a point from my story (don’t ever give-up).”

In an interview with GODFREY GEORGE, a Correspondent Punch Newspaper, Olusola explained how he achieved the feat.

Below is an excerpt of the interview:

You graduated with first class honours in Mathematics from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. Did you see it coming?

I was actually the pioneer first class graduate of Mathematics from OOU, Ogun State since the institution was founded in 1982. I also graduated with distinction in my master’s from the same university in 2021 and I am currently a PhD student in the University of Texas, USA. In all these, I would say God Almighty has been my major motivation. I’ve simply enjoyed the grace of God. Although, I played my part, the Bible says, “Except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it. Except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” So, it has all been by the grace of God.

What was your experience like during your undergraduate days?

I must say it was really tough, especially in terms of finance. I never believed I could become a graduate judging from my family background, especially with the fact that I lost my father immediately after I gained admission. This was a very serious setback for me, but in all, we thank God. God used a lot of people to raise me to this level, especially, my pastor, Professor Agbolade, my foster mother, Mrs Onitilo (Iya Subomi), Dr Abass Taiwo. I must also appreciate Dr. T. O. Olatayo, he is a good father and mentor.

Was there any study pattern you adopted that helped you to graduate at the top of your class?

I am not a fan of studying at some specific or fixed time. I always made sure I studied whenever I felt like. Some people believe in studying for certain number of hours on a daily basis, but as for me, that is not my style. I study only when I naturally feel like studying. For instance, I did not have a schedule or timetable for studying but anytime I found myself available to study, I did, and I did so extensively and this is still part of my lifestyle till date.

It is common for females to gravitate towards a brilliant male classmate but some people see it as a distraction. Was that your experience in this regard?

(Laughs) Females can never be a distraction. They were created to always be a support system. Hence, I won’t say they distracted me, but I was cautious of many.

How did you approach or prepare for exams?

Usually, I started preparing for exams right from the beginning of the semester.

Was there any moment you would describe as most challenging for you in postgraduate school?

Except for the stress of combining my job as a lecturer with studying, I’d say all other challenges in the PG school were nothing extraordinary because God surrounded me with lovely and friendly people to work with. For instance, my supervisors, Professor O. A. Adesina and Dr. O. S. Odetunde, were so kind and friendly. They were always ready to answer my questions regarding my dissertation, even sometimes, at midnight. My Head of Department, Dr. M. A. Usman, was also an exemplary man as he never toyed with his allocated assignments. Many other exceptional beings like that made my stay as a student/lecturer in the department enjoyable. The pandemic period posed a lot of challenges to my PG programme. If not for the COVID-19 lockdown, I’d have completed my programme in 2020; but all is still fine.

Many people don’t like Mathematics. What do you think is responsible for that and what do you think should be done?

Yes, you are right and it is because many believe Mathematics is complicated, which is actually true. Indeed, if one is not so determined, the focus will not be there, and once focus is lost, there comes deformation and the aftermath of that is not being interested in Mathematics. At times, the kind of teachers assigned to teach Mathematics also has an impact on the students’ interest in the subject, like the example I cited above. Above all, I’d recommend that Mathematics teachers should learn to crack some simple jokes while in class just to arouse the interest of the students, if not, the class might be boring to a lot of them. Schools should also endeavor to always allocate the subject only to the experts in the field.

You are currently pursuing PhD in Mathematics. What is your ultimate goal?

I want to continue to develop humanity, contribute positively to the universe, and eventually become a professor of Mathematics.

Before your admission into the University of Texas, did you have any rejection?

Sincerely speaking, I had over 30 rejections before University of Texas, USA gave me this offer.

What do you think you failed to do right at those times?

Well, I was just thinking that maybe only graduates of federal universities get scholarship opportunities. But thanks to my mentors like Dr Ahmed Ijaola, Mr Tunde Falola, Mr Olajide Vincent, Dr Peter Ogunyinka, Prof. O. A. Adesina, Prof. D. A. Agunbiade, Chinonso Odeabutu, Samuel Adeleye, Gift Chukwunonye and many others for their tireless encouragement.


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