Home education “I never used library, never read textbooks, yet made a first class”

“I never used library, never read textbooks, yet made a first class”

by Church Times

Deborah Odunlami finished with a first class degree in Pharmacology at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. She shares her academic journey experience with Church Times’ Oluwatise Osinaike. Find below excerpts from the interview



Did you start on a  first-class CPGA in your 100 level?

Yes. I started 100 level with a CGPA of 4.6 but as I got to 200 level it drastically reduced to 3.9. The experience was quite different when I got to my second year in the university because most of our classes were online, and I didn’t like online learning. I skipped most of the classes and I paid little attention to the ones I attended. I also resumed very late due to financial issues, and that was also part of the reason I had a poor result. It was at the time I had a carry-over course. But as I got to the 300 level, God helped me and I eventually graduated with 4.56.

What course did you have to carry over?

It was a GNS course, but it was a mistake from the school portal. It was later discovered I got an E.

What later gave you the drive that you could still make a first class?

I wanted to make my parents very proud and I just wanted to have it. I had attended a Polytechnic before coming to OOU. I was studying Pharmacy Technology before I changed to study Pharmacology at Olabisi Onabanjo University. I had maintained a distinction grade at the polytechnic already, so I wanted to also continue in that line.

What are your strategies for reading?

I read mostly at night. I prefer it a lot. I also like to read on my own because I demonstrate with my hands and read out loud. It would also interest you to know that I never used the library throughout my stay at the university. I also never used textbooks. I only stuck to the materials that were given to us in class and I didn’t go out of it.

Were you involved with other things aside from academics?

No. All I did in school was academics. I have a very big fear of multitasking. I love to concentrate on doing only one thing at a time. But I was very much involved in fellowship. But I was also a committed church worker. I was majorly in the choir. I was also made the Academic and Ast Evangelism secretary during my last year in school. Aside from church and school, I wasn’t involved in any other activity.

I hear people say being involved with spiritual activities often diverts one’s attention from academics, what’s your reaction to that?

That’s a big lie. It was at the time I got more committed that I started having good grades. I can only attribute the reason for my first class to being a committed church worker. I started having good grades the semester I was made an executive of the fellowship. Just after I was given the post, I had a 5.0 PA in that semester. There were many scenarios I would read exactly what would come out in exams. There was this particular course I hadn’t read at all and it was about 8 pdfs. I was able to cover just 4 of them and those were the exact places where questions came out. God was faithful.

There are also records of people in my fellowship that have had excellent results. I know of a president of a fellowship who was involved in a lot of things and still came out with an excellent grade after school. God has a way of blessing those who walk closely with Him.

None of my church activities interfered with my academics. We do most of our services in the evening and that would have been after my classes.

I heard you had a problem when you got to 400 level because you didn’t register for your courses. What happened?

I didn’t register for any of my courses in the 400 level. And I also got to know very late I did not register. I can’t explain how it escaped my mind to register. This automatically meant a carryover for me for all the courses. By the time I realised I had not registered, the portal had been shut.  I went to the main campus at Ago Iwoye a couple of times to seek for solution. But all was to no avail. I even told my mum about it, she told me she didn’t have money for an extra year and all that. It was a very big shame on my part because I was the Academic Secretary of my fellowship. I couldn’t imagine telling them I had an extra year because of a very silly mistake of not registering for my courses.

I went to meet the person in charge of the ICT, but he assured me that they were going to reopen the portal. But from the way he said it, I perceived that it was in a bid to allow me to leave his presence and not cause any extra disturbance in his office.

After a lot of going back and forth, I was told they wouldn’t be able to reopen the portal and that I should start preparing for an extra year. Oh! I cried so much.  My mum also went to the main campus to meet with those in charge of the ICT. She gave me a contact to call, and when I called, apparently it was one of my lecturers’ numbers she gave me. He too also assured me that the portal would be opened.

I told the BAMSSA president, the SUG president, and the many people I could tell. At a point I gave up, I didn’t even want to write the exams, but I got support from friends. Again in the exam hall, my name did not appear among the names that had already been printed on the attendance list. This caused me to worry a lot. Up till now, I didn’t even know how I wrote the exams because my whole body system was destabilized. I had to start writing my name with a pen at the back of the attendance list after every exam I had. We were done with exams and still, the portal wasn’t opened, we did project as well, and yet no positive news.

Read also: How we made first class in FUTAhttps://churchtimesnigeria.net/how-we-made-first-class-in-futa-despite-church-activities-fellowship-excos-1/ despite church activities:

I thank God for the help of my lecturers and the many people who supported me. One of my lectures was the one who went to the main campus and pleaded my case along with some other people who had the same problem. That was how the whole issue was rectified and I was able to register for the courses.

The question was did it bother me? Of course, it did. 95% of the time I wasn’t able to read or concentrate. I was very worried. When people say they can’t read due to one problem or the other I’m always amazed at how challenges can take one’s mind so much that you won’t even be able to read. When this thing happened to me, I now understood the meaning. At times I would just pace around my room and think about a lot of things, I would think of the money my parents had spent up till now, and to think I would have an extra year again was something to bother about.

What’s your advice to undergraduates who still aspire to get a first class?

It’s still very much possible. I think one thing is your mindset. Once you set your mind to it, you will get it. Another thing again is to do the right thing at the right time. School is not just about academics, there is also the administrative aspects. Fill out your forms when you are asked to fill them. And yes update your files. Don’t be too lazy about them. I also recommend using past questions, it worked so much for me.

Relationship with God is also key. Never trivialize time spent with God because of academics. God has a way of bringing success to everyone that loves His presence.


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