After obtaining his Master’s and working for some time, Kingsley Oleghibe-Moore returned to the University of Lagos for his Postgraduate Diploma in Education and graduated with a distinction (4.51 CGPA). He tells TUNDE AJAJA about his educational journey and why he took that step
You obtained your Master’s in Finance in 2013, why did you go back to school for a PGDE six years after?
It was an interesting challenge. I believe my story will encourage many youths out there never to rest on their laurels and to always strive to aspire to greater heights, regardless of their age. Before the PGDE, I already earned two Masters from the Department of Finance, University of Lagos: Master of Banking and Finance and MSc Finance. I had a brief stint with two real estate companies and owing to restructuring, I was relieved of my position in November, 2014, and all efforts at getting another job proved unsuccessful. But before entering into the corporate world, I had already started teaching. Teaching for me is a calling and based on the frustrations and the need to eke a livelihood, I decided to pursue a qualification in education without which I would not be a certified teacher. Teaching has become professional and new standards set in order to get rid of quacks. So, everything about the PGDE programme was orchestrated and not based on serendipity; I needed the certificate to boost my profile.
Could you take us through your educational journey till the time you went for the postgraduate diploma?
I have always loved education, and even though it was rough before I could enter the university, having six distinctions in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination boosted my urge to go further. I wanted to study accounting at UNILAG and I took the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination several times but I didn’t meet the cut-off mark. Eventually, I settled for Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State. Armed with my first degree, getting into UNILAG became very easy at the postgraduate level. So far, I have three postgraduate certificates from the University of Lagos.
What do you do at the moment?
I’m presently coaching and doing freelance writing in selected online news media.
At the time you were going back to school, were there people who tried to discourage you?
Yes, a lot even from family and friends. They kept asking if I wasn’t tired of studying, more so with my two daughters in the university. But, I’m not a man that can be arm-twisted with words of discouragement. I know my goals and aspirations at every moment of my life, and like the words of Tom Hopkins, ‘Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.’ So, if you seek to go far in life and you try stopping to check at everyone who throws stones at you, you will never arrive at your final destination.
How did you combine your studies with family and career demands?
I have a loving wife who understands my aspiration, so I wasn’t burdened by family pressure. Family demands are always there and they will remain until the end of time. Demands are insatiable, but family, brethren, friends and my colleagues with whom I undertook the programme came as a worthy rescue. They were wonderful and I owe them gratitude.
Did you work towards a distinction during your PGDE or you simply worked hard?
First, I came into the programme with gusto, and beyond being a new field for me, I was determined to give it my best. However, I took all my courses seriously and prepared for every course with equal alacrity. My colleagues and I organised tutorials for ourselves and we were better for it.
What was your reading schedule like?
I’m a nocturnal person; I love the ambience of the night. Besides, as soon as I start a programme, I familiarise myself with past questions so as to study the pattern of questions and this works for me. I set targets for myself and based on the principle of objectivity, I organised my reading in line with my itinerary. I didn’t allow my notes to pile up before exams. Days when there were no lectures, I spent quality time in the library studying and taking notes. And when exams got nearer, we organised group reading.
What were your most memorable moments?
As a result of the leadership traits I deployed as the class governor, I was given an award by the Dean, Faculty of Education, Prof Ubangha Bassey, through the recommendation of our astute and charismatic coordinator, Dr Patrick Akinsanya, and my dear colleagues. The plaque has on it ‘Award of Excellence in Class Governance and Leadership.’ This is one award I cherish dearly. The other bigger one was when the broadsheet of results was pasted and I saw that I earned a distinction. My joy knew no bound as this was one thing I had always wanted. This for me has changed the trajectory of my life and I can never allow any form of under-performance hit me again.
What were the special efforts you made to graduate with a distinction?
No success comes easy. It has its own price. And the only price success understands is hard work and consistency crowned with perseverance. Sometimes, there could be discouragements here and there. Just shake them off and move on. In every human setting, they exist.
When you checked your result and found that you made distinction, could you capture your feeling at that moment?
The euphoria and maybe tears of joy knew no bounds. The joy can be likened to a nation winning and lifting the trophy of the FIFA World Cup tournament. The players who participated in the tournament will always savor that moment eternally. For me, it was a glorious and sensational moment.
How would you have felt if you didn’t graduate with a distinction?
Life for me demands that I should keep pushing, that I should never give up on my ideals and expectations and pursuit of success which would always spur me to keep doing my best every time opportunity comes up. So, if I did not graduate with a distinction, I could earn it in future. I do not give up easily on anything I set my mind upon.
From your experience in all your levels of education, what would you describe as the vital ingredients of success?
I try as much as possible to do away with self-limiting beliefs. They are killer idiosyncrasies. Self-doubts and not being able to combine idealisation with future orientation in anything you set your mind upon tends to lead to failure from the outset. I have always believed that everything is possible for them that believe. With this, I enter every programme and career with positive emotion and energy. They have worked for me and can work for anyone who applies them.
How many of you were in your class and how many of you made a distinction?
We were 43 and we had a good number of 4.00 CGPA and above. A few narrowly missed it. They were indeed superb, inspiring and ambitious. I love them.
Overall, what would you tie your success to?
I would tie it to the grace of God upon my life. We are all a product of grace. And again, everything that we achieve in life has been written of us and we only wait for time for it to come through for us to actually become what is written of everyone. If you remove that grace, I am nothing and neither is anyone anything outside of grace too. After grace is hard work that comes through understanding and wisdom.
What is your advice to people who wish to go back to school but are procrastinating?
Age is just a numerical, chronological count. If you look at your age, you will never achieve anything because you will keep making endless comparisons and excuses for not achieving something or anything. Recently, I heard a story of a 73-year-old woman, a Nigerian, who earned a PhD from a foreign university. Opportunities abound everywhere for anyone who is determined to take up the challenge and make a difference. The difference between a person who achieves and one who makes an avalanche of excuses is action orientation. The person who is able to achieve took action while the other person made excuses.
It’s a common belief that it’s easier to go to school at a young age than at an older age, especially when you have started working and have a family, what’s your view on that?
It’s not completely true. When one has a strong educational background and the wherewithal is available, going to school is achievable and enjoyable. Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, is one example here. He went back to school after he was overthrown. Many others did too. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo earned a PhD years after he left as a civilian president. So, I encourage everyone who has the means and interest to go back to school to go ahead. Why many run from it is because of the responsibilities that come with being an adult, especially when they have a family already. For example, the programme I underwent was very rich in quality and content. Everyone should be encouraged to go through such and become professional. I want to serve humanity in any capacity and add value to the system. This is the real essence of my sojourn into various citadels of higher institutions.
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