Karinate Alex was the second best graduating student of the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, in the 2018/2019 academic session, with a CGPA of 4.67/5.00. The 27-year-old graduate of accounting, who hails from Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, tells ALEXANDER OKERE how she achieved the feat.
What inspired you to choose accounting as a course of study?
Back in secondary school, while in Senior School 1 to be precise, I had an accounts teacher who created the impression in pupils that studying accounting as a course was an impossible task except for people like him and I needed to prove him wrong. However, at the point of filling my Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination registration form, I opted for business administration and marketing because I was then under the impression that it would be difficult to secure admission to study accounting.
However, when the admission list was released, I was offered admission to study accounting instead of the business administration and marketing, which I initially applied for. At that point, I felt it was God’s will and so I followed the path of accounting.
Having graduated with a first-class degree, would you say you had a good academic background at the primary and secondary levels?
I wouldn’t say I had a good academic background at the primary and secondary levels because, like most Nigerian kids, I attended public schools with poor facilities and teachers who had lost their zeal to work, and I think the government also didn’t do much to motivate them.
How easy was it securing admission to university?
Although I secured admission after sitting my second Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Post-UTME, I wouldn’t say it was difficult for me to get admission to the university. My UTME score was 220 but I didn’t bother to check my Post-UTME score. All I can remember was that the admission list was released and I saw my name on it.
Having graduated top in your faculty, what were the things you set out to achieve in your first year and how did you achieve them?
What I set out to achieve upon gaining admission to university was to get a clear stand, and pass all my courses with good grades. To achieve that, I planned my study time in such a way that I went to school to study from 6am to noon and 4pm to 10pm on lecture-free days. On other days, I studied at home. In all this, I rarely studied at night. I also made it a habit not to miss lectures.
It is generally believed that success comes with hard work. Were there things you had to sacrifice to stay on track?
Yes. I stopped watching movies at school and avoided going to parties except when necessary. I also kept a limited number of friends. I tried as much as possible to create one excuse or the other so as not to travel home for weekends and public holidays.
Didn’t such sacrifices affect your relationship with people around you?
Yes, I guess they did. In distancing myself from large circles of friends, I noticed some persons felt I was feeling too ‘big’ to associate with them. But of course, I knew I was doing what I needed to do to stay on track.
Did you have any intimate relationship as an undergraduate?
Yes, I did.
How did you manage it?
He showed a lot of understanding and supported me all through because he also wanted me to come out with good grades.
What type of friends did you keep as an undergraduate?
My friends were my classmates who also took their studies seriously.
Some people believe successful persons must move with those who are successful, especially regarding relationships. What is your opinion on that?
Yes, I agree to a large extent. If you don’t want to get distracted or lose focus, you must watch who you associate with because birds of a feather, they say, flock together.
What was your recipe for focus as an accounting student?
I try not to let a day pass without reading my books. However, I didn’t study at night and I didn’t have a fixed study timetable.
At what point did you realise you were on your way to graduating with a first-class degree at NDU?
When the result of the first semester of my first year was pasted and my Grade Point Average showed it was already in the first-class category, I just told myself that with more efforts, I could graduate with a first-class degree.
How did that make you feel?
When our results were posted on the walls for everyone to see, it made me feel awkward and shy because people were pointing fingers at me whenever they saw me. Some even walked up to me to ask how I achieved that as a female, though I had the lowest GPA of 4.50 in my faculty, among the 11 students with results in first-class category at that time. And I was the only female and only person from my department at the time.
Were you at any point worried about not graduating with a first-class degree after all the hard work?
No. I was not worried at any point about not graduating with a first-class because my GPA was at that level in all my semesters.
What were the major challenges you faced as an undergraduate that you considered a threat to your academic success?
The challenges I faced were expensive school fees and poor electricity supply, which made reading a bit difficult at night.
Many accounting students find studying some of the courses tough. Which among them gave you the toughest challenge and how did you deal with it?
To me, all the courses I took were equally challenging because I didn’t rate one over the order. I studied all my courses with the same zeal and determination.
What was your scariest moment at university?
That was when I wrote my research project. Combining it with my final-year studies, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it before the end of the semester and that gave me much worry.
What was your happiest moment as a student at NDU?
My happiest moment as a student of NDU was the day I saw my final-year result.
What can a prospective students do to excel at university?
They should attend classes, study to understand each course and not just to pass exams. They should also believe in God, for only He can crown their efforts.
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