Some stories are so exceptional that you want to identify with its main character. Temitope Oke’s story about her journey as an undergraduate Economics student of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), is such an exceptional one.
For your information, Temitope is a physically-challenged beautiful lady who has just graduated from OAU as the best graduating student in the department of Economics with a CGPA of 4.8 out of 5.0. This feat goes with enviable benefits in the department for anyone who achieves it. Such a person not only gets cash benefits awarded on the convocation day but also automatic employment by a very reputable bank in Nigeria.
The above-mentioned benefits are the privileges Temitope is beginning to enjoy. However, it didn’t come on a platter of gold.
Being physically-challenged should come with some measure of inferiority-complex especially amongst other unchallenged persons. But for Tope, it is the opposite.
More so, the beautiful lady faced the challenge of having to meet up with lecture time on campus yet she was able to surmount it to the point of ending up as the best-graduating student in her department.
I know you are anxious to find out from the horses’ mouth. So, the following is a Whatsapp conversation I had with the female guru.
Me: So, what’s up? How’re you doing.
Tope: I’m doing very fine, thank you.
Me: So, how does it feel to be the best student in the dept of economics?
Tope: It feels very wonderful…you know?
Me: What was your journey at OAU like, given your obvious physical challenge. How did you beat the odds to achieve this feat?
Tope: I didn’t believe it would be possible, but God did it.
Me: Have you ever faced issues of inferiority complex and how did you deal with it, if so?
Tope: At the beginning, it was tough. It was my first time away from home and I had to learn how to survive on my own. I learnt that easily enough…I’m actually a very independent person. After I got to understand how the system works, it was simply a matter of determination and proper planning. I understood myself, I knew what I had to do and when.
Of course there were difficult times, especially the lecture rush…but I didn’t let that get to me. In fact, my discomfort spurred me on and made me even more determined to succeed.
Inferiority complex…well, students were generally very good towards me. They never made me feel inferior. I was accepted the way I was.
I knew how people with no physical disabilities at all can remain unemployed for long. I must admit that contributed to my desire to give all I could to my academics. I felt finishing with first class would improve my chances.
Me: That’s inspiring, Tope. Most people would think that your limited mobility afforded you the opportunity to stay focused in your academics. Do you think that’s a major reason behind your recent success?
Tope: Well, I believe I focused on my academics because I actually wanted to do that. I could have focused on something else…there are lots of things I could have pursued. I have always loved books. Even before I could read, my brothers used to hide their books from me to keep me from tearing it. So I believe my limited mobility merely aided me in becoming closer to what I already like.
Me: Great! Have you recorded other academic feats such as during high school days?
Tope: Nothing particularly spectacular, I mean during my secondary school days. But I know I did get the best WAEC result in my class though.
Me: I’ld like to ask, have you had fears of getting a job? And what was your reaction to the realisation that your academic performance would afford you a job in such a reputable bank?
Tope: I was pleasantly surprised. You know, I didn’t see that coming. I was elated. Yes, I was aware of the harsh unemployment reality in the country. I knew how people with no physical disabilities at all can remain unemployed for long. I must admit that contributed to my desire to give all I could to my academics. I felt finishing with first class would improve my chances.
Me: Great! So, what are your fears and hopes about the future? Are you in a relationship?
Tope: And no, I am presently not in any relationship. The future is definitely bright, by the grace of God. I am hoping for the best. There is nothing impossible, I am getting there.
ME: Alright…thanks a lot for your precious time, Tope.
Tope: Thank you very much for your patience.