Ayodele Dada has made history by graduating from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) with an amazing 5.0 CGPA. In this interview with UNILAG Sun’s Muftaudeen Raji, he reveals the secrets behind his remarkable life. Excerpts:
Would you briefly tell us about yourself?
My name is Ayodele Daniel Dada. I graduated from department of Psychology, Faculty of Social science, University of Lagos. I’m from Ekiti State. We are just two siblings, I have a younger brother. I’am a kind of person who is open to various experiences. I try to experiment a lot and I have tried so many things. I have been into music production in the past.
Your educational background?
I had primary education and secondary education here in Lagos. My secondary school is Hopebay College, Ajegunle-Apapa, off Lagos-Badagry expressway. We lived close to that area. So after secondary school, it took me a while to decide on what I wanted to do because I had a brief stint learning how to do some bit of IT, bit of network business but it wasn’t really serious, it was just on the surface level and I did some French.
I’m interested in languages especially European languages so I learnt French though I’m not efficient at it now. I’m also trying to translate that into a bit of music production. Eventually, I read a book that just made me see how psychology can be applied in the real life so it just captured my imagination and I decided that I was going to devote my time to Psychology.
Yes, it was difficult at first. For example, when I decided I was going to do Psychology, I devoted three months to preparing to take JAMB/UTME and I really studied hard for it and I wrote the exam, confident that I really did well only to hear some couple of weeks later that my result was seized. I was devastated.
That was in the year 2011. They said I cheated or so. I felt sad but I took it as fate. I initially wanted to go through the complaining procedure but it didn’t really work out because it was taking too long.
I really wanted to resume as quickly as I could and then that was when I took the Diploma option, the foundation programme. That was how I came into UNILAG.
How did you finance your programme?
It was challenging because of the expense. Meanwhile, at that time, I had been doing several jobs. I worked a bit with my uncle. I did a bit of sales job selling computer accessories for some time. I also did some tutoring, I was teaching some people trying to at least make ends meet for myself and I didn’t stop that even when I started my programme at UNILAG. Most of my expenses except one or two occasions, I was taking care of my daily expenses. So, I had to plan my time such that it will not affect my study.
Before I was able to get on board the foundation programme, I had to get money from several sources. There were quite a few of family friends who were very helpful. They really came in and stood in for me because I could not take the bill myself.
They were so kind because they were ready to help me without any string attached and that was how I started the Diploma programme and then it was challenging because they kept on telling me my name was written in pencil. “You are not part of the system.” There was even a student in this faculty (FSS) who would just come and tell us :“All of you that did this, you are bribing your way into school: and those things just kept on adding to my motivation. But I felt like people have to understand that we did that because of some certain circumstances, it was not as if we had all the money to come and spend. So I started the programme, kept on going through it and I was really driven to succeed in it.
What was your standing like at the end of the programme?
My first result the first semester, I had 4.55. I had a D in Geography and I tried to ask for what happened because even people who I was tutoring were having Bs and As but they said my CA or part of my exam was not recorded then I said fine, I would work better in the semester. The next semester, I had 4.91, exactly for the second semester. So, the aggregate was like 4.72. That’s for the foundation programme. That was how I gained admission into UNILAG.
Could you tell us how many JAMB exams you took?
I have taken just two JAMB exams and the reason is that I actually got the admission but it wasn’t what I wanted and the thing about me is that if it is not something I really want to do, my motivation is always very poor and I have to commit to the task and once I commit I could actually go to any length to achieve it.
The second one was the one that was seized as I said earlier.
What about the SSCE exams, how many WAEC did you write?
I wrote one and I made it at once. I wasn’t the best overall but at least I made everything that was required.
Now, how can you describe your study habit?
My study habits are not very predictable because I adapt my study habit to whatever that is needed at the time. Take for example, I have a policy of never studying at night but, sometimes I had to change that based on the situation.
How were you able to sustain your GP considering how difficult the hurdles could be?
I have been asked that question severally and the simple answer I will give is that I never looked at everything on a long term path. I was looking at it from one day to the next. What I mean is I was thinking short term instead of the long term because I know quite a few people who were thinking this is what I want to finish with but then you have that long goal and you are looking at that meanwhile, things are happening right in front of you in short term.
I was just preoccupied with winning the short terms. That was where my focus was on. This assignment, do it well; this test, do it well; this current exam, do it well. Do today well because, tomorrow is another today and then it will keep coming. So, just keep doing each they well and when it adds up, then you get to wherever you want to be.
What was your relationship with your lecturers likewhile in school?
(Cuts in) Yes my relationship with my lecturers were very good. Now you may say it’s because I was one of their best students but, it doesn’t always work that way because I know that there were some people who were also very good. Infact, I have to say that my class was one of the best classes that my department has had in a long time.
What’s your social life like?
Yes I go to cinemas. I attend people’s birthdays. Some of my colleagues can attest to that. I’m not completely the outdoor type but, of course on occasions I have been to quite a number of functions. I participate in events and activities even though I will not be the main person all the time but, im just there and I try to socialite a lot. I interact with so many people although im not the kind who is always attending every party. I tried to create a blend.
How were you able to manage the wave of the social media?
For most of the initial years in Psychology, I was only doing social media on my laptop because I felt it’s easier to control on a laptop because the laptop is not something you are checking all the time. When I got to final year, I decided to change that. So, I got a phone that would enable me monitor the social media and I downloaded all the apps.
I told myself I was going to participate seriously in social media and I was quite visible. My class had a whatsapp group chat, I tried to participate in that as well. I tried to be involved. I don’t just lock myself away and say because I’m studying I won’t do that.
What can you say on your level of performance in extra-curricular activities?
I didn’t do much of extra-curricular activities because most of the times I spent my time either tutoring my colleagues or those in the lower level apart from my personal academic work and also collaborating to an extent with some of my lecturers.
There was one event I attended with one of my lecturers, she has been very supportive and she has tried to mentor so many young people in the department. We actually went to Enugu State. She was the one who advocated and showed the idea to us. She actually led the contingent where we presented a research to a group of people who are also members of Nigerian Psychology Association and they applauded our effort because, it was a research where basically we were the only undergraduates to present that year.
That was November – December 2014. So, it was the 50 years anniversary of Psychology in Nigeria. It was something wonderful, I would say that was more of extra-curricular activity for me. I was always in some way connected to curricular activity.
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