Chibuzor Augustine Sonde has narrated how he was able to graduate as the Best Graduating Student (BGS) in both his Polytechnic and university Education.
In an interview with CampusNews, Chibuzor, the first child of a family of two who hailed from Imo State revealed that he emerged as the Best Graduating Student in Civil Engineering at University of Ibadan.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Can you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Sonde Augustine Chibuzor, a recent civil engineering graduate of the University of Ibadan. I am the 1st child of a family of 2 children (a boy and a girl). A native of Imo State. But then, I use Ogun State as my state of origin.
You emerged as the Best Graduating Student in Civil Engineering at (OND & HND, Mapoly) and now claiming that giant stride in the premier University of Ibadan. How did you maintain such consistency?
All glory be to God for the victory so far. In 2013, I made a CGPA of 3.57/4.0 in the Civil Engineering Department, Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta which made me graduate as a “joint-best in the department” in the National Diploma (ND) category, while in 2016, I made a CGPA of 3.89/4.0 in my Higher National Diploma (HND) which made me finish as the best in the department and faculty of the same school. More so, I will attribute that to the principle my mum taught me while growing up. She said all that I am required to do at any time is nothing but my best… Even when I expected to be disappointed with some of my performances while growing up, she would scratch my hair with her hands and say, “I know you did your best, that’s all I need!” So, doing my best at everything I find doing was integrated into my lifestyle, and the results have been so good. That’s basically how I have been able to maintain consistency.
You started your journey at the University of Ibadan as a 300 level student. How were you able to do this? Why did you consider the University of Ibadan when there are other institutions that offer your desired course?
I have always loved the University of Ibadan as a little child or let me say the city of Ibadan. But then, I was made to believe that I wouldn’t be able to gain admission into the school due to the level of competition associated with the institution. Interestingly, I believed it will be difficult gaining admission into the school due to my WAEC that wasn’t so outstanding so to say… So, I had to settle for other Universities but was denied admission. I had to go to the Polytechnic just to satisfy my mum, and hope that my plan of gaining admission to University work out within my 2 years of National Diploma.
Unfortunately, that still didn’t work out as my Jamb score that year was 180. So, I concentrated on my National Diploma, graduated with a distinction and decided to put in for direct entry into Obafemi Awolowo University. But then, I would say the admission process at OAU wasn’t clear. I still didn’t know why my admission was denied… I was so disappointed in the admission process, and I had no choice but to return to the Polytechnic for my HND. As God would have it, I graduated with a distinction too, I decided to put in again for Direct entry into a school that can offer 300L admission. To the best of my knowledge, very few schools offer this admission (UI, Unilag, Unilorin, and one federal University in the North). So, with my research of these schools and many other schools. I concluded that the University of Ibadan is the school with the most transparent admission process… The challenge then was that UI admits just 1 or at most 2 candidates through HND Direct entry to Civil engineering. I decided to go for it, as I believe it will be better if I know I failed to the best-qualified candidate than to choose a school where I am not so sure of the transparency. Fortunately, I was the only candidate admitted as a 300L student into civil engineering that year.
What is that aura that draws you to ” Civil Engineering” anytime and reveal to us your reading strategy?
The thing is, I tried running away from courses that involved Biology like medicine and the rest like that, and also move towards courses that do a lot of mathematics. Also, I stayed with a civil engineering guy when I went for UNAAB (now Funaab) post jamb. I admired him then.
I do not have a structured reading pattern. I read anytime I feel like reading, but most times, I read very close to the exams and tests.
Are you currently in a relationship, and if yes, would you like to share?
Yes, I am in a full-time relationship. I could remember that day, I was new and walked up to her to ask for direction to the mathematics lecture theatre. I didn’t know she was my coursemate.
After the lecture, we proceeded to a seminar room for another lecture. I guess I had to do one or two things before joining them in the class. Immediately I set foot into the class like this…it was as if everywhere was dark, and she was just radiating. Lo and behold I couldn’t resist the temptation… I later asked her out and things metamorphosised. She is really the best part of my studies in UI…
Most people are of the notion that First class students are the “La cram La pour La forgette caucus, do you subscribe to this?
This can be the reality in some schools. But here in UI, it’s really not so, especially civil engineering department. The reason is that the questions asked are applied and they most times demand proffering solutions to real-life situations. For instance, the question can begin like Mr A’s company is proposing to increase the capacity of his production by 50%, his options are to complement the existing machine with a small one, or change to the new technology. Advice Mr A… How do you want to cram for this kind of question?
Of what benefit do you think Internship roles and project research has played a major contribution to your personal growth as a Tech enthusiast?
Interning with reputable engineering firms have really been of great benefit to me. It avails me the opportunity of seeing the practical application of some of the things taught in class. I could see how software, phone applications help solve engineering problems. A course like civil engineering, where the total replacement of materials with eco-friendly ones are currently being undertaken requires one’s research skills. One thing project research has equipped me with is how to identify gaps, proffer alternative solutions, and make informed decisions.
What is your advice to the upcoming ones who would love to take a career in the Civil Engineering space?
Attach yourself to a mentor, to a reputable firm as early as you can. Even when you feel, you don’t know what they are doing. Just stay put, and run errands. It will be valuable in years to come.
Basically, what would you like to be known for, and what are your future plans?
I would like to be known for my impact either in engineering or otherwise. To be known as the person that expands the frontiers of Civil Engineering. Get a scholarship, and go to one of the finest engineering schools in the world. It’s my utmost desire.
Lastly, mention those people you’re most grateful of?
I appreciate my lovely mum Mrs Sonde Florence and my late Dad, Mr Sonde Chukwuma for being a supporting system. I will also like to honor the gift of men who are immeasurable like Mrs Agnes Oyinleye and my wonderful relatives.
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