I cried when I found out I wasn’t overall best-graduating student —Ifesinachi Okafor, Joseph Ayo Babalola varsity second best graduating student

Ifesinachi Okafor is the second best-graduating student of the Joseph Ayo Babalola University for the 2021/2022 academic session. She graduated with a CGPA of 4.86 in the Department of Mass Communication. In this interview by YUSUF ABDULKADIR, she speaks about her academic journey and how she achieved the feat.


Why did you choose to study Mass Communication?

I initially wanted to study Linguistics and Communications but had to change to Mass Communication due to some reasons. I eventually fell in love with some areas of Mass Communication and plan to build my career on them.


Emerging the second best-graduating student among thousands of students is no small feat. How does this achievement make you feel?

To be honest, I wasn’t happy. I cried for days when I saw my final CGPA. My goal was to become the best-graduating student in the university. However, I felt proud of myself on my convocation day when I received my awards. I am grateful to God for everything. I believe there is a reason for everything.


Tell us a bit of your educational background?

I did my secondary education at the Precious Pebbles Schools, Port Harcourt, and my primary education at Emmy Noberton School and Glory Land International School, Port Harcourt.


On average, what was your study schedule like and what reading style worked for you?

I read my notes each day after lectures. During exams, I preferred reading in the evenings and early in the night. I also do revisions around 4am every morning before my exams.


How would you have felt if you had not graduated with your hard-earned grade?

My goal was to become the best graduating student in the university. Unfortunately, I finished second best with the best gapping me with 0.01 point.


Would you say your choice of friends or family influenced your grades in any way?

My choice of friends definitely influenced my grades. I maintained same friends from 100 level. The three of us studied Mass Communication and lived together for four years. We motivated each other, read together, ate together, and prayed together. One of them finished second best in the department while the other one finished with a 2:1.


Were you involved in other school activities?

No, I wasn’t a social butterfly. I only joined the decorating unit in the university’s chapel. I wasn’t involved in any social activity in the university.


Was there any unforgettable experience you had while in school?

My most memorable experience in school was when I made my first 5.00 GPA. I was ecstatic when I saw my result. I called my family immediately to share the good news. It was a wonderful experience.


What aspects of the course did you find most interesting?

Mass Communication is a practical course, so we engaged in lots of fieldwork. We produced documentaries, short films, radio and TV programmes, educational programmes, etc. Despite the stress, my course mates, especially the male folks, always found ways to lighten the situation with humour.


What was your social life like and how would you say it influenced your performance?

I am an ambivert. I prefer small circle of friends. I avoid social events and interactions. It influenced my performance because I had more time to complete my assignments and read my books.


What would you say about the role Joseph Ayo Babalola University played in your academic life?

Joseph Ayo Babalola University opened my eyes to my potentials. I never saw myself as intelligent until I entered the university. When I saw my first result in my 100 level, I decided to maintain the good result. My lecturers impacted me with the knowledge and skills required in the field. I am grateful to my lecturers for continually believing in me and motivating me to be my best.


Did you at any point face any challenges during your stay on campus?

During my third year in the university, my CGPA dropped badly. I lost hope at some point. I buckled up and held God tightly. After that semester, I made 5.00 GPAs  consecutively till graduation.


Do you think the media has a role to play in the challenges facing Nigeria? 

The media has a role to play as the Fourth Estate of the realm. The media of any country is meant to serve as a bridge between the people and the government. Nigeria is facing many challenges from insecurity, poor economy, bad governance, corruption, etc. It is the role of the media to report all happenings in the country, gather public opinions from the masses, report findings so as to elicit actions from the government.


Do you have any role model you look up to in that field?

I love writing, and my role model is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read all of her books and they inspire me to be a better writer.


What are you career goals? How will your academic achievements help you accomplish these goals?

I plan to further my education. I aspire to become a polyglot and a writer. I have many goals in life and I believe that furthering my education will push me a step ahead in life.


What advice would you give to students who want to achieve academic excellence like you?

I would advise students to do their best and leave the rest for God. Be unique and stand out in the crowd. Never try to copy others. Eat healthy food and rest during exams. Start your reading at the beginning of the semester and avoid reading in the night to the examination. I am confident that anyone who desires academic excellence will achieve it.



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