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In my Primary School, I was an Olodo —Fahidat, UI First-Class Graduate

On November 12, 2019, Fahidat Gbadamosi graduated with a first-class degree in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Ibadan. In this interview, this first-generation graduate opened up about her most memorable moments and the challenges of university life

Fahidat Gbadamosi

Tell us more about you?

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I am 21 years old. I am the first child in a family of 7 children. I am from Osun State and currently doing my National Youth Service in Lagos State. I enjoy solving problems and volunteering. My graduation from UI marked a monumental moment in my life and that of my family. I became the first (in my family) to not only attend and graduate from the university but with an outstanding performance. 

Have you always topped your class?

I have an unbroken record in secondary school. I made the best WAEC result of 6As and 3Bs in my school. I know it is not 9 As but I am proud of the result. I had the ‘B’s in Economics, English and Biology. I went to many schools during my secondary and primary education. When I was in primary three, I was an “olodo,” an “olodo” of life (laughs).

My story could be likened to a group of kids training to be professional footballers. With good mentoring and practice, you would realise that one or two of them suddenly become soccer stars like Messi and Ronaldo.

 Initially, I was always scoring zero in Maths and English. My mum got me a lesson teacher. My lesson teacher was very good. He helped me very well in my Maths and English. We paid so much attention to Mathematics then which is why Maths is like a piece of cake for me now. 

My English was not that good. From that period, I was always topping the class. I hope to meet that lesson teacher someday. In SS1, there was a guy in my class who always came first. I would come second. In SS2, he repeated the same feat. My dad encouraged me to beat him in something and boom, I did it in WAEC. I had the best result.

What stirred your interest in industrial chemistry and why did you choose UI?

I did not pick Industrial Chemistry while filling the UTME form. I selected Medicine and Surgery but in my first post-UTME at the University of Ibadan, I scored 61 and was 9 points short of the cut off mark. I decided to try again the next year and I scored 78. When I saw my result, I was excited but my excitement did not last for long. The cut-off mark for medicine and surgery that year was 80. I needed just two marks to make it. In summary, I had to change my course and I selected Industrial Chemistry which is a course I am very glad I studied.

Do you consider yourself a genius?

I don’t think so. A genius probably knows all already and I am still learning every day.

What were the prizes you received in school?

I received several scholarships during my undergraduate years which included TOTAL National merit scholarship, AbdulKabir Aliu Foundation Scholarship etc. I also received an award from my department in my second year for achieving a perfect CGPA in my first year.

Fahidat Gbadamosi

How hard was studying industrial chemistry?

I won’t say it was completely easy but I enjoyed studying industrial chemistry, maybe because I have always loved chemistry from secondary school. When you love what you do, it probably becomes a piece of cake. Even in my everyday life, I do not see anything as tough. I try to break it down into small bits and I complete each bit one after the other. So, studying industrial chemistry was not completely easy but I never conceived it as a tough nut to crack.

Was there a time you felt like the first class was impossible?

Not at all. I started with a perfect CGPA. Instead, I felt maintaining the CGPA was not going to be easy.

Did you set a goal to make the first-class and how did you keep yourself in track?

When I joined UI, I didn’t know what was a first-class or second class. I did not have all that orientation. I didn’t even understand what CGPA means.

My parents never went to university and I didn’t have elder brothers to tell me about university life. My goal in my first year was to find my feet first and avoid boyfriend. New students were always victims of “catch them young” love venture initiated by senior students.

I had a test in school for a course calls GES. I didn’t study well. I went to the test hall and I saw a question that was for 14 or 16 marks and I could not write anything. 

When I finished that test, I walked in the rain. I was telling myself, “are you mad? What is wrong with you? Did you come here to be average?” From that point, I made a reading time-table. 

Even if got to my hostel late, I would still read for hours no matter what. I even went to buy a table and chair for myself. When our first-semester result came out, someone told me, “Fahidat, you have a 7.0 (a perfect grade)”. At that time, I didn’t know what 7.0 means. I was excited when I got to know it is a perfect CGPA.

After that success, people wanted to associate with me. In UI, your result would determine whether people would associate with you or not. In my second semester, I put in more effort and at the end of the session, I had a 7.0. I had less in other semesters because it became tougher.

How many hours did you study for daily?

In my first year, I ensured that I studied at least 4 hours a day but in the subsequent years, I can’t say I studied for so and so number hours. I just made sure my books didn’t pile up. Plus, I am not a night-reader, so I had to make sure I used my day-time well.

What roles did your parents play in your academic success?

My parents were and are still very supportive. Even when it seemed too tough for me, they emphasised how much they believe in me, how they are sure I could handle whatever it is. Not to forget, their prayers were particularly helpful.

What were your most challenging moments at the university?

My most challenging moments were times I probably did not have what to eat. I would stay alone in my room and act like everything was fine. My family was going through a hard time and it had effects on me. I thank God I was able to scale through these situations and never allowed depression to take over.

My most challenging moment was in my 200 level when financial issues started to take its toll on me. Financial hardship hit my family. During that period I lost so much weight that people were asking me if I was sick.

I became a regular “garri taker”. That period, I could not even afford to buy water. I was forced to drink from my hostel’s tap water which was not good for drinking. I got sick because of the water I took. It was tough. 

I was just 18 then. Luckily for me, God wanted to favour me and answered my prayers, I got a scholarship. It was in my 200 L I started getting scholarships which helped me. The interesting thing is that most of my scholarship money went into taking care of my siblings because my parents were not financially sufficient. I don’t tell people my predicament but people just like to pity me and maybe they sensed it that something was wrong with me financially. They offered help without me asking.

How did you manage to read when you didn’t have food to eat?

To be quite honest, that period was the beginning of the fall of my CGPA. I started with a perfect CGPA of 7.0 in 100 levels but in my 200 level, it dropped because of the hardship. My 200L CGPA was the lowest I had. It was frustrating. Thank God, however, that it didn’t drop so much. I dropped from 7.0 to 6.7 at the end of the year.

What was your study tactics?

I didn’t see anything as hard. No matter how hard the thing appears, I would tell the thing, “see, the person you are coming to meet is harder”. I won’t say I had one reading tactics, except that in my first year, I made sure I read for at least four hours a day. 

I am not a night reader at all. I always made sure I used my day time well. The secret was to know oneself and what works for one. If I wanted to be like others in UI, I might probably have broken down.

 We have a reading habit in UI called TDB( Till daybreak) or MTN (Morning till night). That is what most students do. They started reading from the night till morning or morning till night. I don’t follow the crowd. If I did “TDB”, I might not get anything from it. Many people did TDB and used half the reading time to sleep and not be productive. 

When those folks are coming from the reading room, people would be hailing them “jackometer” “jackophyte”. This slang is commonly used by students and it is derived from the word “jack” which means to study hard. I understood myself. I must listen in class. If I don’t listen in class, it would affect me. Listening in class helped me to assimilate well during reading. 

What was your lowest grade and in what course?

My lowest score was in an analytical chemistry course I took in 300level. I scored 56%.

What was your social life like?

I do not have any phobia for a social life or connecting with friends. I can relate well to my friends.

What are the habits that you formed that enhance your productivity?

At the end of every week, I ensured that I covered up every topic we had. This helped reduce the workload.

What are your plans now?

I intend to pursue graduate studies in a reputable university outside Nigeria and hopefully obtain a PhD degree as soon as possible. I want to carry out research that can contribute to solving problems in our world.

How would you advise young people who want to excel in their career paths?

I would tell them to set a goal and have a mantra. My mantra is ‘Until I can explain success through myself, I won’t give up’. Whenever it seemed too tough, I speak these words to myself. It motivates me always. I would say, find a way to always motivate yourself! Being self-motivated makes everything seem easy.


Thank you so much for reading. We will appreciate it if you share this with your loved ones.

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Kola Olaiya

Am always enjoy your articles. God bless you.


What can I study in medical field with 160 in Eksu

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