Ruth Onyemuze, who emerged as the best graduating student of the Department of Industrial Chemistry at the University of Ibadan class of 2021, has said she didn’t plan having a first class when she got admission.
Speaking with Muse.ng, the young lady said she told herself she would put her best in whatever she did and be excellent in it.
She said: “I didn’t set a target that I must finish with a first class or perfect CGPA. I told myself that I would put my best in whatever that I do and be excellent.
Onyemuze expressed gratitude to God for giving her the strength to achieve such academic feat.
In her words: “In my final year close to my exam period, I fell so Ill. That was also the semester I had a score that could affect my CGPA, but I didn’t allow it to discourage me.
“All thanks to God for His grace upon me, family and friends for their encouragement. I deeply understood the adage which says, ” There is light at the end of the tunnel”.”
What she did differently
Onyemuze said what she did differently was understanding what worked best for her.
She said: “With the extra-curricular activities I was engaged in, I had to effectively manage my time. I always have my to-do list of what I needed to do.
“To be sincere, I don’t always follow it to the latter, but it gave me a sense of commitment and an evaluation of how much I have completed important tasks for the day.”
Onyemuze said after having lectures for the day, she would make efforts to go through what she did before going back to her hostel or off-campus.
In her words: “I experimented different times of the day where I could have optimum concentration.
“In addition, I have a habit of always setting questions after each topic (I imagined I was the lecturer and envisioned what possible questions that could be asked). Most of the times, questions comes from what I personally set.”
Onyemuze said she also tried not to miss lectures, adding that she would also ask questions from his colleagues and seek for past questions.
In her words: “Most importantly, repetition is key in retaining what I have learnt. Reviewing and revising frequently helped me in long term memory retention.”
The young lady said she didn’t have perfect scores all the time, adding that she also had low scores but she told herself not to make the same mistake twice.
In her words: “I learnt from those mistakes I had made in tests and prepared well for my exams.
“Finally, consistency is key. There were times lectures would pile up but It would mean I have to dedicate more time to cover those notes.
“It is doing the ordinary things in an extraordinary way.”
“I feel fulfilled”
Describing how she felt when she emerged as the best graduating student of her department, the young lady said she was elated and fulfilled knowing that her hard work and commitment to her studies paid off.
In her words: “I had flash backs of challenging moments where I had to push through the daunting courses that present themselves at each semester and how I overcame them victoriously.”
Distractions in school
The young lady said shying away from relationship was one of the ways she avoided distractions in school.
Onyemuze, however, said not all relationships are distracting but she knew she would be distracted if she was into one.
In her words: “I had advances from guys, and I knew myself that It would pose as a distraction for me and require me to be emotionally invested ( not all relationships are distracting), so I chose not to be in any relationship until I was done with my Undergraduate studies.”
Onyemuze said one of the things that distracted her in school was the urge to be on social mediia for long hours.
In her words: “To overcome this, I created time blocks for social media usage, and I downloaded app freezer (I accessed them when I have completed some of my important tasks).
“I am a movie lover, I knew I could binge watch movies, so I decided not to collect any movie until I was done for the semester. I used movies as reward for a stressful examination week.”
Onyemuze said she was involved in social activities in school including playing football and table tennis.
She said: “For me, I love sports especially playing football. I have always been playing football and table tennis right from my secondary school.
“In the university, there were times I had to shuffle between my laboratory practicals and football matches I had to play.”
Onyemuze, who won sports woman of the year at the university, said she was also in a classical choral group where she took classical solos at concerts.
According to the young lady, she loved going for seminars, inaugural lectures, music concerts, jaw war (a debate competition that holds every year).
Onyemuze said she won six awards in school, adding that she felt glad that she was able to balance her academics and extracurricular activities.
In her words: “Some of them were: Dean’s roll of honour (twice) for academic excellence, a medal for first runner up as a team in Dean’s cup (a football competition).
“I had awards for my service as an executive holding the post of a treasurer in my choral group. I also received award for my service as a financial secretary in my choral group.
“I won an award for the best sports woman in my department.”
“Learn from your mistakes”
She advised students that intend to graduate with a first class to manage their time effectively, understand what works best for them and learn from their mistakes.
In her words: “Learn from your mistakes but strive not to repeat them and understand why you didn’t do well. Associate with people who have high motivational drive than you, so that you can have a push to study better and be on top of your game.
“Be consistent and start on time to study so that there would not be overload of lectures to cover. Don’t forget to practice past questions.
“It is good to have a target, but strive to be the best you can be in whatever you put your mind to do. Don’t give yourself so much pressure of high expectations.”
Onyemuze advised such students to also partake in extracurricular activities or take up leadership positions, but such should be done with wisdom.
In her words: “Remember “all work and no play play makes jack a dull boy”. At the end, It would give you a sense of balance and fulfilment.
“Finally, Do not forget God in everything you do. You have your plans, commit them to God, who is the giver of wisdom and understanding. He will direct your path and guide you in all your ways.”