By Jeremiah Daniel, Omoyeni Praise, Loveday Immanuella, and Ekediegwy Emeka
The journey of a thousand miles, they say, starts with a single step. This is the case of the three former Mass Communication students who have seen the fruition of their bold single step as they emerge first-class graduates of their set.
Ogunleye Abiola, the immediate past Editor-in-Chief of Unilag Sun and print brand major; Dafieta Esther, a broadcast major; and Chidera Onyekuru, a Public Relations and advertising major, set themselves apart, emerging as the first-class students of their set, a feat that many desire but only a few can achieve. They gave insights into how family, friends, and co-colleagues impacted their academics and how they overcame all challenges to become the best.
Extra-curricular activities and school
A school is a place of multifaceted activities encompassing academics, social life, religion, and sports, amongst others, and the ability to juggle all the numerous activities is no mean feat for some, and for others, another day in the office.
According to Abiola, “The extracurricular activities I participated in were in one way or the other still related to school. For example, in Unilag Sun, I was the managing editor at my 300 level. Then 400 level, I was the editor-in-chief. I spent about four years in Unilag Sun.
It was an extracurricular activity, and still wasn’t an extracurricular activity, because it was useful in my academics. I remember in my 2nd year when we had a course titled News Writing and News Reporting. We had an exam question from Dr. Popoola. He gave us a governor’s speech and asked us to write a story applying the seven servants. I just chose to use my knowledge of news writing from Unilag Sun. I was the only one who scored an A in that course. In many other situations like that in my PR courses, I have been able to write press releases stating ideas that I have picked up from Unilag Sun.” It was a ride in the park for Abiola. While for some, merging extracurricular activities with the school wasn’t much of an issue.
Esther said. “I lived a very traditional lifestyle on campus; it was always lectures, church and back to the hostel. Extracurricular activities for me include watching movies. I don’t like going out. Looking back, I wish I did well in socialising, going out, and trying other things. I didn’t do many of that.’’
For every successful thing, a strategy must be laid down to guide the process, eventually leading to success. However, strategy is unique to everyone’s capacity, so it’s still imperative to have a strategy of some sort.
According to Chidera, “One thing that worked for me was always attending class; no matter how tired I felt, I attended all of my classes, sat in front and paid attention to whatever the lecturer was saying. This helped me better understand my notes when studying. Speaking of understanding my notes, I made sure to draw up a personal timetable and read a course or two every day of the week. For me, it could be something as straightforward as going over what was taught in the most recent class, but I made sure always to read my books every day of the week.”
For Esther, the early bird always caught the worm, and this was reflected in her academics She said, “Because I started reading on time, I was able to have good grades as I could even go like three days or a week without reading, like when I fall back, I would be able to catch up because you know I started on time, so I already set that pace so it helped me to read ahead also“
Relations and Relationships
For any successful thing to be actualised, there has to be support and backing from friends, words of encouragement, acts of service, and shoulders to lean on.
This was pertinent to Esther, who said, “ God put amazing people in my corner. I didn’t have a lot of friends in my corner. I kept to myself a lot. I didn’t like going out. However, I had quality relationships. I met amazing people in UNILAG, like Itunu, Faridat, Folu, etc. They understood that I dealt with anxiety, so whenever I panicked over an assignment, of course, they would encourage me and tell me, “Don’t Worry, you can do it.”
Biola also added, “ Relationships are significant in life, honestly. My parents were my greatest motivation. I was in a group called Pedagogy. It was a study group. We explained topics to each other, and sometimes we did tests. I must also mention Matthew and Emmanuel Awoshika. I got to know these scholars from the end of the 100 level. Many times, we compared each other’s assignments. They were very motivating as well.“
Memories that last
The university gives much more than just a degree; it leaves memories that last almost a lifetime, from experiences outside the university walls or even in the confines of a lecture room. Esther said, “One that happened recently in Year 4 second semester. Message design is the best project I’ve worked on as an undergraduate. We had these shirts, “Waka Jeje.” You remember how I said growing up, I used to record myself on my mom’s phone acting like I was on a radio station and broadcasting in pidgin. So, I did something similar to that for the project. I did a broadcast in Pidgin telling people about Waka Jeje and the N.G.O., so they played it in class. Jesus Christ! The reaction we got was amazing. I felt so good. I felt on top of the world, people were just screaming. I still have the video on my phone, as I always go back to listen to it. So that was it for me. I like that I did that; people saw it and appreciated it.” Memorabilia can go as far as being reassuring.
Chidera recounts the experience of a word of encouragement that would always stick with her. She noted, “After an exam in 200 level, I remember a senior lecturer asking to see me. Upon getting to his office, he commended my efforts in one of his courses which I took and proceeded to give me a long talk which further strengthened my resolve to be more. The conversation I had with him went on to serve as a motivating factor on days when I didn’t feel up to the task ahead.“
No journey is smooth sailing. For Biola, he hoped he had focused on some courses more in-depth. He said, “I feel like in some particular courses, I should have paid more attention in some aspects, especially in year 2. There are some courses I wish I paid more attention to very well because I have to go and dig back some notes and browse online to learn. After all, we learnt practical stuff there that is quite important for me. I wish I had paid more attention then and practiced them.’’
Esther and Chidera wished to have made more of a social life in school than they did while they were in school.
Future Ambitions and Goals
Completing the degree program is just one aspect of the race, and each of our first class graduands have spectacular dreams and hopes for the future. Biola said, “ My goal is to become a communications expert, a communication solution provider, and someone who can look at your mode of communication. Look at your agencies, your organisations, your public, the people you are trying to address and figure out what exactly is wrong with your communication process.”
Esther added, “I want to see where my career takes me. I want to go into corporate communication. I’m very open to all the opportunities regarding my career and furthering my education.
Finally, Chidera noted that her ultimate goal was “to work even harder, make an unmistakable impact and rise to be a force to reckon with in the Media and Communications space.”