Meet Adunola Shoge, the University of Ibadan’s (UI) overall best graduating student with 13 awards, who despite being called a dullard, promised her father that she would come back home with a first-class.
In an interview shared by Allschool.com.ng, Adunola Shoge stated that her graduation with a first-class did not just happen; she had wanted it badly. Right from the very first day she resumed at the University of Ibadan, her goal was to graduate with a first-class, and she promised her dad that she would get the best out of her course of study and leave the UI with a first-class. So, she prayed to God consistently about it and also worked towards it. Her free time was spent reading until reading became a hobby.
Moreover, her intention was to graduate with a first-class and as the best in her department.
But guess what?
She went further and graduated as the overall best student in the university, bagging both a first-class and 13 awards.
When asked what extra steps she took to arrive at such a great height of success,
she said: “
While I was in school, I did not believe in free time because the zeal to succeed kept me on my toes at all times. I was always studying very hard at every single opportunity I got in the university. I read to the extent that reading became my hobby, and I ensured to do it every day irrespective of how tired I got or how busy my day was. It became an antidote to my survival on campus. I made sure to read my notes at least 10 times before examinations and invested most of my energy into reading because my heart badly yearned for an outstanding result.”
Success comes with hard work. However, it is interesting to note that Adunola Shoge’s journey to attaining great heights did not have clear signs in the beginning.
According to the interview, during her primary education, she did not always assimilate what was being taught and always came last in class position. For that reason, she was often mocked and called a “dullard” to the point where it almost stood as her name.
“It was a challenging moment for my family. Schools and teachers felt incapacitated and defeated by my situation, and my parents, who did not get the best of education, kept on trying their best to give me the best despite my situation. They stood up to the situation and believed in impossibilities. I felt very helpless and could not even make sense of the situation. I always took the last position in class and heard the word ‘dullard’ being said at me, that it almost stuck as my name. I was ready to learn but I just wasn’t getting it. At one point, my parents, who struggled to pay my fees and ensured I was in school even when my siblings were home because of school fees,” said Shoge.
Due to her situation, she was taken to a new school, the West African Preparatory School (WAPSCO). And at this point, she had to repeat four classes to make up for her performance. She was in basic four in her former school, but had to begin from basic one in her new school. Although her parents were not comfortable with it, they had no choice but to accept as long as it could turn things around for her.
At WAPSCO, Shoge began learning alphabets and numbers from the very beginning (at age 10), and her teachers showed concern and care towards her. Within two weeks at the new school, she mastered the alphabet and numbers and could read a few words. Everything started making sense, and for the first time in her life, she ranked among the top 5 students in her class, and later went on to top her class, even up to the university level.
However, while choosing to study at her preferred university, her parents had financial challenges. So, she had to juggle two jobs, which did not give her adequate time to prepare for the Post UTME examination which her uncle registered her for. When she arrived at the examination center, the sight of other students engrossed in their studies, with practice materials she had never seen before, discouraged her, coupled with the fact that she was seeking admission to one of the most sought-after schools and for Pharmacy, a highly competitive course.
As a result of her lack of adequate preparation, she scored 50 in the Post UTME examination, which was the minimum cut-off mark to gain admission to the University of Ibadan. That meant her first intention to study pharmacy was shattered and her chances of gaining admission to the university became slim, weighing heavily on her. But in the midst of the turmoil, she realized her love for tourism and decided to change her course to study Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, where she finally got admission.
Was that the end of the challenges the overall best student faced?
While at the University of Ibadan, she had financial challenges, which at first were not a problem. Until she received a B in a course for which she could not afford a set of textbooks. That was when she realized that financial constraints could affect her dream of graduating with a first-class. For that reason, she made up her mind to start several businesses on campus. She sold cosmetics and also worked as a housing and cleaning agent. Additionally, she worked as a sales representative. Although this affected her academics, her CGPA dropped from a first-class degree to a second-class upper. Yet still, she could not stop the business. She worked hard and got a first-class CGPA again in 300 level. Then she continually strived to maintain and further boost it until 500 level.
Adunola Shoge’s story is one of hard work, determination, and resilience, as her never-giving-up attitude and trust in God carried her through those trying years.
Finally, she got the first-class and also received awards, including the 2022 University of Ibadan Vice Chancellor’s First-Class Honors Recognition, 2022 Best Graduating Student, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, 2022 Best Graduating Student, Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, 2022 Overall Best Final Year Student, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, 2022 Overall Best Final Year Student, Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, 2022 Dean’s Academic Excellence Award, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, and many other awards, which totaled 13 awards.
Adunola Shoge’s success story goes to show that Life is indeed like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. It can be difficult at times, but it is important to keep going and not give up. The greatest reward comes from overcoming the challenges that life presents to us.
To everyone reading this, we hope that you get inspired and encouraged to persevere, regardless of whatever storms life may throw at you. Persevere!