Her ambition initially was to study Medicine and Surgery at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS). But Aishat Biliaminu could not make it as she was offered admission to study Biological Sciences, where she made a First Class. However, the valedictorian says she plans to go into fashion designing. NURUDEEN AKEWUSHOLA (200-Level Mathematics) writes.
The dream of all First Class graduates is to get a lucrative job. But no so for Aishat Biliaminu, a First Class graduate of Biological Sciences of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS).
The valedictorian, who finished with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.50, plans to be a fashion designer.
For Aishat, a youth Corps member in Edo State, she prayed for a First Class from the day she gained admission into the institution.
According to the indigene of Erin-Ile in Kwara State, she planned to study Medicine and Surgery, but this dream was aborted, no thanks to a low score in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
However, she accepted her fate and accepted the course she was offered.
She said: “I wanted to study Medicine initially, but I was not offered admission in 2011. Then, I sat for another UTME the same year and put in for Medicine. I got 88 per cent in post-UTME, but I was not offered the course because of a low UTME score. I was offered Biological Science. I cried when I could not get Medicine. I didn’t like Biological Science.
“I wanted to study a professional course, which my parents wanted. They were also sad when I did not get Medicine. My dad asked me to sit for another UTME, but I didn’t like the idea. I applied to change from Biological Science to another medical course, but I wasn’t successful. I had to accept my fate. I promised my parents that I would finish with a First Class to make them happy.”
Achieving the feat did not come easy for Aishat. Like her peers, she had some challenges.
Was her feat ever threatened by failure? “Yes,” Aishat said, adding: “I was, unexpectedly, given D in CHM 102 and I thought I might not finish with a First Class. My classmates advised me to go to the lecturer and complain, but I declined because it could be dangerous to my academic pursuit. I accepted it as my fate and worked hard to ensure such never happened again.”
Besides, accommodation was another challenge that almost threatened Aishat’s goal. Except in 100-Level, when she stayed on the campus, Aishat said she could not get accommodation till she completed her studies. She squatted for the rest of her stay in the institution.
She said: “Getting accommodation was a major challenge as I moved to higher academic level. I only got accommodation when I was a fresher, but I squatted in my remaining years in the school. It wasn’t that my parents did not have money to get me a good space. I wanted to stay on the campus, but the politics of hostel allocation did not allow me to get a bed space.”
Aishat said she knew what she wanted from the outset of her academic sojourn, which made her invest ample time and energy in her academics. Finishing with a CGPA of 4.50, she said, was below her expectation. She added that the challenges she faced during her studies hampered her performance.
“I believe I could have performed better, but couple of challenges I faced affected me and led to tumbling of my cumulative grade. But, I am still thankful that I finished with a First Class,” she said.
Aishat said she had sleepless nights throughout her days in the institution. Whenever she saw her peers going for night reading, she felt challenged and this spurred her to folow them.
“I saw every classmate as a competitor. Whenever I saw them going to read at night, I would lose sleep because I wanted to maintain my academic standing. This encouraged me to study hard. Whenever I was tired of reading and felt like going to sleep in the hostel, the sight of students reading would change my mind,” she said.
But Aishat, unlike her peers, did not go to the library or classrooms to read. She read in the mosque, where she said she got tranquility and assimilated faster.
She said: “Sometimes, I read early before sunrise because there is high assimilation then. When I woke up, I would take my bath and cook. Then, I would go and read if there was no lecture. But, if I had early morning lectures, I would go to mosque to read after the lectures. I love reading in the mosque because of the tranquility. I spent the rest my time there.”
All work and no play, the saying goes, makes Jack a dull boy. For Aishat, it was not all about night reading. She balanced her studies with good sleep and films watching during her leisure.
“Whenever I was not going to study or go for tutorial classes, I attend social function. I always attended meetings of Erin-Ile Students’ Union and our annual day programme. Beyond that, I watch films and also take hours of sleep,” she said.
Aishat advised students to choose wisely when choosing friends. She discouraged students from choosing friends who have nothing meaningful to contribute to their goals. This belief made her to keep friendship with First Class peers, including Bolaji Ajape of Veterinery Medicine, Ola Lukman and Simon Adegoke of Biochemistry.
Asked what her plan is after the National Youth Service, Aishat said: “No time to waste. I have been spending my time learning fashion designing. After my service year, I want to go fully into fashion designing. I have started. I have plans to employ people to sew clothes for me. Although I might eventually go into lecturing, my attention now is focused on fashion.” (The Nation )