A Twenty-six-year-old young and brilliant man identified as Tommy Nteowo has bagged first class honours in English Language from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He narrates his journey with OPEYEMI ADEFEMI on how he achieved the feat despite his poor academic foundation.
Graduating with first class honours from a public university is seen as an uncommon achievement. How easy was it for you?
Without sugar-coating, it was very challenging for me. However, what was even more challenging was maintaining it for four years. I usually illustrate this with someone having to climb a pole. The efforts needed to stay at the apex of the pole for four hours or days will be more than that which is needed to climb it. Similarly, maintaining a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 5.0, for instance, requires double if not more effort than making it. That, of course, isn’t to scare anyone from undertaking the worthwhile and rewarding journey of excellence.
You studied English. What was the attraction for you?
Growing up, my father, after coming home from work, used to persuade me to sit and either listen to or watch news broadcast on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Even though this was tedious at first, I gradually developed an interest in it eventually. Though the content of the news was lost on me most of the time, the beautiful way words were used very differently from what I was used to hearing around me stirred my interest and gave me the nudging to consider studying English when the time came. Overall, I just wanted to speak and write differently and express myself in a simple but beautiful way. I decided that the easiest way to do this was by applying to study it (English) at the university.
What other things did your parents do to shape your academic journey?
My parents played an invaluable role in my academic journey. My father promised that for each ‘A’ I made, he would buy me a gift. In my first semester when I had five A’s, he fulfilled his promise by buying me a suitcase, a beautiful shirt, and sundry other items to reward me for my result. He is not the richest father in the world, but his relentless acts of appreciation and encouragement became valuable in my academic journey. My mother, on her part, when I told her about my intention to study English, said she could not have thought of a better course that was a great fit for me. Her strong conviction that I would do well in such a course made me resolve not to disappoint her. When I called to tell her about my results, her excitement and dance of joy brought tears to my eyes and invigorated me to do more.
What do your friends who were caught in the web of the ongoing strike tell you?
Very unfortunately, I have friends who do not know for how much longer they will have to wait before the strike is called off. Many of them share their frustrations and tiredness over the sad situation. You know, when you listen to their concerns and consider the fact that the majority of them are stripped of the motivation to engage themselves rather than just sitting at home, you are moved to empathetically identify with their situation.
What do you currently do for a living?
Well, I am currently observing the compulsory national youth service.
Do you intend to teach at a university after national service?
Yes, I am passionate about teaching and mentoring. I would love a lecturing career, but that will be after my master’s and possibly, PhD by Jehovah’s grace.
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