After getting expelled in his final year at Obafemi Awolowo University in 2014, 27-year-old Timilehin Abayomi later graduated with First Class Honours from the Department of Quantity Surveying, Federal University of Technology, Akure. In this interview with CAMPUS REPORTER, the valedictorian narrated how he made his mum, who had earlier wept over his failure, happy again by graduating with a first class degree from the university.
Depressed by his poor performance, Timilehin failed to pay tuition fees for two sessions at OAU which led to his expulsion from the University in 2014. When he realized this, his studentship had been withdrawn by the University.
“When I came back to my senses, I thought university systems had a way to recoup payments owed by their students, and despite multiple visits to the school’s computer unit in my final year to try to resolve the issue, my studentship was withdrawn in my final semester because I had been inactive for more than the allowed number of semesters in the school,” he recalled.
“My mother and I held ourselves in late 2014, weeping uncontrollably after learning that I had failed in OAU after being accepted to the citadel in 2008. My studentship was withdrawn in my final semester, 5 years later, for reasons I completely accept responsibility for. My family and I went through a tough moment of one suicide attempt, exile from home and a family meeting to decide what to do next,” he added.
“My determination to excel stems from a mental transformation following my failure in OAU. It was also important to have the goal of making my mum proud once more.
After the incident, Timilehin broke the jinx and applied to study the same course– Quantity Surveying–at Federal University, Akure in 2015 where he later graduated with a CGPA of 4.67.
He noted that his strong determination, proper time management and extraordinary hard work made him excel despite his full involvement in extracurricular activities.
“I did a number of things differently including a mindset shift, my choice of friends, how I managed my time, and the intentionality of my actions and on the other hand, I was simply extraordinarily lucky.
“Unionism, journalism, and debate were all things I was involved in. For me, the solutions were a self-adaptive study pattern, an emphasis on extracurricular activities that were aligned with my professional goal, and time management.”
On how he was able to combine academics with extracurricular activities, he said:
“Because of my extensive involvement in extracurricular activities, my study routine is unusual. I made an effort to study efficiently. I read enough to get fair marks in tests, but when it comes to exams, I go all out. To cover-up, I read continuously throughout the day and night, only taking naps at regular intervals and returning home once a day to bathe. During exam time, I was always in my departmental class. It was really stressful, and I would not recommend it to anyone, but it worked for me.”
Having promised his parents not to participate in extracurricular activities, his monthly allowance was reduced but that did not stop him from pursuing his goals.
“Keeping my narrative hidden from others spared me from confronting difficulties. I did, however, pledge at home before going to FUTA that I would not be involved in Unionism. Unfortunately, what was innate came out in my first year on Campus. So, when my family found out I was interested in Unionism, my pocket money was halved, but I soldiered on despite my financial inability.
“Though my Mom and I eventually came to an agreement, it was still difficult for me to request for cash from home, and I had to do with whatever was given to me. Though campus journalism earned me some money and a handful of my friends assisted me.”
He explained that his encounter with one Professor Olayiwola of OAU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning and his internship rekindled his passion for the course.
“During semester breaks, I was never a fan of staying at home or idling. I always applied to construction or media organisations. Because of my encounter with Prof Olayiwola of OAU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning and my internship experiences, I fell in love with the Quantity Surveying profession.”
He expressed his fulfilment in graduating with the feat adding that he considers himself fortunate because it was exactly how he had envisioned it.
On his plans after graduation, he explained that he is currently employed as a project manager in a property development firm in Lagos and hopes to expand his professional and academic knowledge in construction data management, construction economics and project management.
He added that he is also committed to getting certified in corporate communications and would like to be involved in the media of construction.
He explained that he is ready to take up opportunities that will avail him the opportunity to mentor thousands of other students who are failing academically to get a turnaround.
He advised students who wish to achieve the feat to firstly believe in themselves, work smartly, persevere through low grades, and be resilient in order to attain their goals.
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