For every story of success, there is always a dull and defining moment. So is the awe-inspiring journey of a 22-year-old Basirat Rufai who graduated as the best student of the University of Ibadan’s faculty of pharmacy — and of course the valedictorian of her academic set.
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Rufai broke the fundamental barriers in her academic journey and went on to graduate with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 6.9 out of 7 from a department where students put in extra-struggle to survive the lecturers' axe.
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According to her, it was her dream to fly high among her peers and "bag distinctions in all courses especially clinical pharmacy."
Rufai described her journey as a mixture of both good and bad times, adding that "coping with the stress of school was not that easy" especially during her 500 level.
No one gets distinction but I did it
According to the 22-year-old valedictorian, one of the toughest courses in her department was "clinical pharmacy" in which "no one gets distinction."
Rufai, however, said she put "so much effort" to break the barrier of the age-long statement "no one gets distinction in clinical pharmacy" to set the path clear for those coming behind.
"To be honest, I am very proud of myself to have finished with a CGPA of 6.9/7 and also as the Overall Best Graduating Student," she said.
On studying and being the best: "I went into herniation mode"
To become the best requires hardworking and personal determination. For Rufai, the secret to success is what UI students described as "morning till night" codenamed "MTN."
According to her, she would read from morning till night, though her reading schedule did not stop her from having relaxing hours.
"Well, I didn’t really do anything exceptional. I just made sure I did the right thing at the right time. When it was time for tests and exams, I went into hibernation mode. I made sure I was always very prepared, and when it is time to relax too, I enjoy it."
Rewards for being the best
As a valedictorian, Rufai said she received cash prizes and also written cheques in rewards for years of hardworking and perseverance.
"The reward from school was well deserved. I received cash prizes and also written cheques. I got awards from the faculty and also from the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria. I also got a share in a company as promised by the keynote speaker.
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Best and worst moment
Well, her best moment was one that validated her as a valedictorian-- and of course "after exams" when students are always free.
But her worst was when she had "a very low score in a course, despite all the efforts I put into the course."
Rufai hopes she will further her studies oversea after her compulsory post-university National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Ina related success story, Legit.ng reported that for Muhammadu Sale, being a physically challenged person is not the end of potentials after the 27-year-old rose from being a beggar on the street to a self-employed cobbler who is able to cater for his needs.
The journey into financial freedom was accidental. Sale was always on the streets of Kano, north's largest commercial city, looking for crumbles of bread falling off good samaritans' table every day.
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But Kano government led by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje's predecessor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso announced the banning of street begging, a big menace that has become part of Almajiri culture — and that was the defining turning point.
Rahaman Abiola is a result-oriented journalist and content writer with a firm grip of over 5-year corporate experience stranding diverse roles in digital & traditional media and social media communication.
A published literary writer, freelancer and public commentator, he has written over 100 essays covering diverse issues on economy, politics and current affairs, entertainment and leadership published in virtually all notable Nigerian national dailies and digital media in Nigeria.
He is a graduate of English Literature, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Follow him on Twitter via @ShugabanR.