Oluwabusola Ayeni was the recent Best Graduating Student of law and Second Best Graduating Student overall of the Osun State University with a CGPA of 4.86. She speaks on her journey through academics and how she achieved the feat.
What attracted you to law?
I can’t pinpoint what attracted me to study law. Usually, most people who go for arts in secondary school choose to study either law or mass communication. My sister had already studied mass communication, so a friend advised me to study law.
I was reluctant at first because I was just an average student, and I felt law was going to be a difficult course for me. But he encouraged me that I could do it. I decided to do that, and I am glad I followed his advice.
However, upon my admission and getting acquainted with most of the courses, I had more germane reasons that made my interest in law increase.
What’s your academic history?
I attended Prime Touch Comprehensive School for my primary school certificate, then I proceeded to Saint Francis Catholic Secondary School, but I had to leave when I was in SS2 because of financial difficulties.
I then went to Tunyo Comprehensive College, where I sat for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
Again, because of financial constraints I was forced to wait a year after finishing secondary school in 2013. My older siblings were in private universities, and things became very tough at one point. I eventually gained admission into Osun State University in 2015 to study Public and International Law.
What are the most memorable experiences for you as an undergraduate?
My memorable moments on campus include when I had 5.0 GPA in 300-level and also, when I won election as the vice president of my chambers in school. As the vice president, I was in charge of the academic programmes of the chambers. I also organised a series of events and competitions that included client counselling competitions and public lectures, tutorials for my junior levels, especially on how to answer law questions.
Another happy moment was when I founded the Intellectual Property Law Club. Intellectual Property Law is one area of law that I have an avid interest in. It is concerned with the protection of creators and the owners of innovations. I was inspired to start the club after attending so many intellectual and entertainment law summits organised by various universities. Prior to that, I had taken some online courses on Intellectual Property Law and had also done personal research on the course.
I was also thrilled and filled with so much happiness when I got internship opportunities at top-tier law firms in Nigeria.
What was your secret of making a first class?
It’s a result of hard work, and I am so glad that it paid off. From the second week of resumption, I started reading. Apart from what I was given in class, I did my personal jottings and research.
I was determined and focused. From my second year at university, I had my target set to graduate with a first class. I also made sure I studied the personalities of my lecturers. I achieved this by making inquiries from my seniors about the expectations of my lecturers.
I also credit my academic success to having the best support system possible, which included my parents, siblings and husband who were always there to encourage me. They never doubted my abilities, and it gave me the courage to do better. I knew how happy they were whenever I showed them my results, and I just wanted to always see those smiles on their faces.
Would you say having a first class was easy?
It wasn’t easy; to be sincere. It required me to focus my full attention to my studies. I didn’t really have an active social life. My routine back then in school was going for classes, going to the library to do additional research, and reading till late at night, especially during exam periods. It required intense hard work and dedication.
Law is very voluminous, and I had to deduce my own study pattern. From the materials given to us by the lecturers, different textbooks, and online resources, I made my personal jottings. I read those materials as many times as possible until I became familiar with them. By the time exams were close, I had read and knew almost all the topics, cases and sections.
I also never selected topics to read, like some students do. I made sure I read all the topics that I had been taught.
I had to read so many pages of material and cram sections and cases. Most of the time, there was not enough time to write down all that I had read, and I had to write as fast as possible.
I also had a best friend who doubled as my study partner and was also hungry for success like me. It helped me a lot to achieve my goals; we were sources of encouragement to each other. We read together till late at night, and I am glad that we both had outstanding success.
Was there a time you doubted your ability to make a first class?
The only time I doubted my ability to make a first class was during my 100 level, but when I saw my results and realised that I was on the exact 4.50, I became more serious, and it served as a morale boost.
What were your most difficult times?
In my final year I was pregnant, and I feared not remembering things that I had read or not being able to devote so many hours to my books, like I did before. However, God helped me, and I read for so many hours, and even had a 5.0 GPA in both semesters of 500 level.
What was your social life like?
I participated in beneficial extracurricular activities. I also attended law and chamber dinners.
I am not an extrovert, and I don’t attend parties that much, so there was nothing really that I liked, and I had to let go.
However, I had to reduce my activities on social media. Whenever I was on my way back to school, I would delete my Instagram account, my Twitter account, and only subscribe to WhatsApp. I also avoided watching movies because they would be sources of distraction for me. I watched them only after exams as a form of compensation for all the exam stress.
What was your typical daily schedule like?
I usually woke up as early as 7am, depending on the class schedule for the day. I attended classes and then went to the library to either read or make my jottings.
I finished my classes most days by 3pm or 4pm, and I went back to my hostel to cook, eat and relax. Once the generator came on at 7pm or 8pm, I went back to the college building and read till 12am, depending on my strength for that particular day. On the days that I didn’t have lectures, I made use of the library.
During exam periods, I slept only for two or three hours. However, I slept longer before my exams. Even during my final exams, I was in my last trimester of pregnancy, and I still read for over 14 hours each day.
What is your next plan?
I am currently an aspirant for the Nigerian Bar Part II programme. After my NYSC, I would like to go for a masters’ degree in Intellectual Property and Technology Law at one of the renowned universities abroad. I hope to get a scholarship to enable me to achieve my dream.
In addition, I also wish to work at one of the top-tier firms in the country during my service year in order to learn more about corporate law. I also wish to one day give back to society, either through a pro bono lecturing job or by providing scholarships for indigent students.
What advice do you have for students who wish to make first class?
Firstly, I will advise anyone who desires to have a result like mine to have a personal relationship with God. God is the number one factor in my success story.
Work smart and hard, choose the reading method that is suitable for you, and try to be consistent and dedicated to the method.
Also, it’s imperative to have the right friends and mentors. You need someone to always guide you, encourage you and cheer.
It is also important to understand and study the personalities of your lecturers and their expectations. This helped me a lot.
According to Alexander the Great, “There is nothing impossible for him who will try.” The success of anyone is a function of the decisions and effort that they make.
Always seek assistance and guidance. No one is an island or an encyclopedia of knowledge. I was never afraid or shy of asking questions or looking for help. Ask and ensure that your questions are answered.
Also, don’t give up even though your results may not be commensurate with your effort.
Keep your head high and always hope and aspire for the best.
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