The 2019 best graduating student of Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, Rita Oluwadarasimi Agha, graduated with 4.85 CGPA from the Department of Mass Communication in the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences. In this interview with BOLA BAMIGBOLA, she shares the secret to her success
How easy was it graduating with a first-class degree?
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I won’t exactly use the word easy, because it was not. However consistent studying, both inside and outside the lecture rooms every day, working with media organisations, making use of the facilities provided by my institution for educational purposes and prayers, among other things, made it possible.
You said part of the things that helped you was that you worked with some media houses, could you expatiate on that?
Yes, I worked with a radio station for six months. During the period, I was trained in news writing, studio management, conducting interviews, advertising on radio stations, among others. I also worked for a few months as the Osun correspondent for an online media platform. The experience really helped my academic performance.
Was there any point you felt you could not graduate with a first-class degree?
No, there was no time like that. This is because from 200 level to 400 level, my results’ grade point average for each semester never went below 4.69.
When did you start having results that could make you graduate with a first-class degree?
I started having results that could make me graduate with a first-class degree in my first semester at Adeleke University. In my first semester, I had a 4.83.
What influenced your choice to study mass communication?
I would say it’s my love for writing. But a year into studying mass communication, I realised that there were so many opportunities in mass communication that I could tap into. Some of them include public relations, advertising, creative writing, scriptwriting, and reporting. Without discrediting other disciplines, I can boldly say that mass communication is the best discipline among them to study, particularly for me.
How did your background influence your academic performance?
I know that it heightened my determination to do well in school. My mum is a civil servant and so her salary for one year could barely pay my school fees for one semester, so the struggle was real. My dad is an engineer. He and my mum were able to work together to pay my fees, even if it meant sacrificing their own needs for me. I did not want to make their sacrifices and effort end in futility.
Would you have felt bad if you had not graduated with a first-class degree?
Not really. Even if I had graduated with a second-class upper or lower degree in mass communication, I would still have been proud of myself. It takes an extraordinary person to successfully study mass communication. Most people think mass communication is so easy but it isn’t quite easy. A significant number of individuals believe that mass communication is as simple as being outspoken. Well, it is not. It’s as broad as knowing everything about everything, such as psychology, marketing, religious studies, philosophy and knowledge of the international community, among others. I had to read wide and focus on my studies.
You are also an entrepreneur, how were you able to achieve a balance between your business life and academic life?
Yes, I am an entrepreneur. I make handmade slippers and sandals. I also have a clothing line. I was able to maintain a balance between my business life and my academic life with time management. I had a fixed time I spent on studying daily and a fixed time I spent on managing my business activities.
Do you see yourself becoming an entrepreneur now that you’ve graduated or do you see yourself as a career person?
I want to pursue both; being an entrepreneur and pursuing a career in creative writing. I hope to get a scholarship to go for a master’s degree programme in creative writing at the University of Kent. I also want to expand my business. I definitely want to explore my interest in both areas.
What was your daily routine in school like?
I would pray, attend classes, spend at least one hour in the school library to read the day’s newspapers and any textbook I find interesting, spend another one hour on business matters and two hours studying. That was how I spent my typical day.
Apart from books and entrepreneurship, did you engage in any other activities in school?
Yes, I did. In my final year at the university , I was the financial secretary of my department. This position got me an award for my meritorious service to my department. I always thought I couldn’t handle school politics and focus on my studies. But in my last semester at the university, I had 5.00. I am so happy I took that opportunity to serve my department.
What is your plan for life after school?
I want to get a master’s degree in creative writing. I dream of a day when every piece of work that involves Agha Rita Oluwadarasimi would interest the world and inspire people for good. I want to establish an international magazine organisation to help me achieve this dream. I also advocate women’s rights through social media platforms. I also want to pursue my interest in fashion, particularly the relationship between fashion and communication.
Were you in any relationship?
No, I was not. I don’t think it would have been a distraction for me, but I was involved in so many things. I did not believe being in a relationship was necessary.
Was mass communication your first choice to study?
No, I wanted to study law. When I checked the fees for law, it was quite expensive, so I chose mass communication which was also on my list of possible courses to study. Thank God I made that decision. I love that I studied mass communication.
What advice do you have for students?
Education entails more than just a degree. Submit yourself to the learning process, explore every opportunity you find in it; the experience you derive from it all is what gives an individual complete education.
What would you describe as your memorable moment while on campus?
That would be when my entire class organised a development project. We visited a government school in Ede. We educated the female pupils on the importance of menstrual hygiene. I was happy that I made an impact on others that day in my own little way. Another moment was when I received an award as the best student in my faculty when I was in 300 level.
How did your parents react to your being the overall best graduating student?
They were extremely happy. As I gave my speech as the overall best graduating student, I could see the bright smile on their faces. It was really satisfying.
What comes to your mind when people say ‘there is no job out there’?
I think as an educated individual, if there is no job out there, we can create jobs for ourselves. We can use what we have learnt to put jobs out there for ourselves and others, if possible.
How many years did you wait before you gained admission?
I did A level for a year after my secondary school education and got into the university. I gained admission in 2016. The duration of the course is four years, but I spent three years because I came in through direct entry. I did Cambridge A level.
How many of your mates also graduated with a first-class degree?
Two other students from my department also graduated with first-class degrees – Fajinmi Boluwatife and Bukola Omotoyosi.
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