Wednesday, November 20, 2019 8:57 pm
Ebhomielen Ofure Mary, 21, a native of Uromi in Edo State was the overall best undergraduate student at the 2019 Foundation Day and Convocation Ceremony, with a perfect 7.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA. In a chat with GBENRO ADESINA at the Love Garden, University of Ibadan, UI, Ofure noted that her academic feat has opened many valuable doors for her.
Q: What is the meaning of your names?
A: My name is Ebhomielen Ofure Mary. My surname, Ebhomielen, according to my father, means, ‘the world had seen’. ‘The entire world had seen’. My first name, Ofure, means ‘it is well’ or ‘peace’ and Mary is my middle name. So, when I say Ebhomielen Ofure, it is like ‘the world has seen, it is well’.
Q: Where are you from and how old are you?
A: Uromi in Edo State. I am 21 and I’ll be 22 next month. I was actually born in December 9, 1997.
Q: Female students always come out best and receive more awards and prizes in convocation programmes. What do you think is responsible for this?
A: I may not totally agree with your position. I think there is a fair share of the awards and prizes between girls and guys. At my convocation day, the person from Medicine was a guy, the persons from Chemical Sciences and Arts were guys. I think there is a fair share. It is just that we tend to hear the stories of the ladies more. Speaking for ladies, I think ladies are just trying to do their best. I don’t think we should be gender bias. For me, I think everybody is hard working either guys or girls. In my class, six people made First Class and I was the only lady. There are about 14 ladies in my class. In Chemistry, it was a guy, who has the highest CGPA. So, I think the sharing is usually equal.
Q: How did you feel when it was announced that you made perfect CGPA?
A: I started with a perfect CGPA in my first semester of 100 level. So, from then, the challenge is to maintain it. I didn’t drop in 200 and 300 level. I was having As in my courses. All that was left is to wrap it well in my final year. I saw perfect CGPA coming. If I could just work hard and make As in my courses in my final year, then I could finish with a perfect CGPA. When my first semester went averagely well, the second semester too went okay, I was a bit nervous because one or two courses can make or mar you. Eventually, when the result came and I have 7.0. I was very happy. I felt I did a good job.
Q: What were the reactions of your parents when you told them?
A: Both of them came to pick me when I was finally leaving school. I stayed in Queens Hall. They came with my siblings. When we were in the car, I said, “mummy, I finished with 7.0!” and she was like, “wow! You don’t mean it”. But my dad just said, “Congratulation, Ofure”. He was just smiling. But my mum was just saying thank God. I knew it and she just went into prayer. She said, “Thank you, Ofure. You made us proud”. They were happy and excited. When we got home, we popped up wine that day. We had a very tiny celebration in the house. A week later, I had to come back to school. There was Alumni induction and they did Alumni ceremony. They announced the best graduating student for each department. They announced the CGPA too. The guy before me was in Chemistry and he made 6.9 and people were shouting. And they said Ofure, 7.0. They all scattered. My classmates, very wonderful people, they were cheering me up and everybody was clapping. The VC was invited. I had handshake with him. It was beautiful.
Q: Is there any other award?
A: Yes. My picture went round. I had this interview with Tell Magazine. Prof Adenike Osofisan heard about it. There was to be a conference of Nigeria Computer Society. Professor Osofisan, who is a Fellow, nominated me for an award as a result of my CGPA. I believe she was trying to promote females in computer science. She pushed for me to get an award at the conference. We had to travel together to Gombe State for the Conference and I was given an award. The award is Nigeria Computer Society Fellow Award for Outstanding Academic Performance.
Q: How many awards have you received so far?
A: Three. The one from the Faculty of Science, Nigeria Computer Society and the last one was from the ORBIT Foundation.
Q: What is your position in the family?
A: I am the second of six.
Q: How many children do you want to go for?
Q: Why three?
A: Our population is already over bloated in Nigeria
Q: What about if he says six?
A: Who is he? Ok, he can’t say six because he knows that things are hard in Nigeria. Whatever we have, we will use it to spoil our three children.
Q: What is your social life like?
A: I am more of an indoor person. I try as much as possible to go out, take a walk. I hang out with friends. I go out, sometimes day, sometimes movie, some conferences because that is where you get to meet people. When I am not doing anything and I don’t want to go out, then I read anything. I love reading.
Q: How many doors has this academic feat opened for you?
A: First is getting my current job at TeamApt at Lekki. A friend of mine told the CEO of the company that her friend made a perfect CGPA. So, the CEO of the company called me on phone and conducted a short interview with me. That was one door. Secondly, this feat has made connections for me. Also, I got connected to people who already studied in the US. They have a group of some sort, basically giving advice to those interested in education in America. They give tips about how to achieve this dream. That has been a valuable door. Again, respect from people. Maybe you say something and people want to respect your opinion because of what you graduated with. I had a chance to share my story with people like you now.
Q: Do you have mentors?
A: Yes, I have people that put me through. In my department, I had three major mentors. I had Dr Sapere Aderonke, she taught a number of courses. She had this very simple approach to life. She was helpful, always there. Even 4am, I will call her and tell her that I don’t understand this and she will try to break it down for me. I wonder how she has so much time to teach and also serve as mentors to other students. She is wonderful. I learnt from her that you have to be self-less and that life is not only about you and what you want to achieve. You also have to help people. You have to raise people. Then my supervisor, Dr Oladejo Bola. I learnt the value of work and doing things well. Any time I submit my project to her, there is one thing to add and correct. It was very annoying at first but later I understood that my supervisor was helping me to make my work better. Also, Dr Onifade. He was pushing me and encouraging me to further my education. He is a wonderful mentor. Out there, I have a mentor that is also a student, Elizabeth Nwarueze. She just finished. She is my set. She is my friend and inspiration. She was the definition of thoroughness and hard work. She was the best graduating student this year from the Faculty of Law. She is disciplined, hardworking and focused. I can use over 20 adjectives to describe her at the moment. She is so creative. She speaks so well. She is international.
Q: Where do you go from here?
A: I have started working on applications to further my studies. Right now, I am working. There is a need to get industry experience. I need to see how things are done outside the classroom. My company has been pretty beneficial towards me in this regards. I actually want to work for about two years before furthering my education. Nonetheless, I am researching schools and possible area of interest. I want to further my education and I want to grow professionally.
Q: Do you intend going as far as earning a PhD Degree?
Q: Do you want to lecture?
A: For now, I have not made that decision. A lot of PhD people work in industry. They are the ones responsible for ground breaking solutions, inventions, here and there. The main thing is making impact wherever you are. I just want to be productive. I don’t have plan now. I know as I move on, things will be getting clearer. For now, all I want to do is to grow and advance. BSc education is not enough. All I want is to learn more, associate with new people and just grow. I am very positive the future is bright.
Q: Do you intend to further your education in UI?
A: Like I said, I can’t make decision now.
Q: What is your background like?
A: My mum, an electrical engineer, works with Ikeja Electricity Company. She is into energy management. She is doing her Master’s Degree currently in UI. She is running it on part time basis. She comes during the weekend. My dad is a mechanical engineer. He just retired from the Nigerian Bag Manufacturing Company, BAGCO. He was a plant engineer then. Now, he runs his business and doing one or two things to keep the family afloat.
Q: So, life was not too rough for you?
A: Life wasn’t bad. I didn’t really struggle. I wasn’t doing anything extra to earn money. While in school, all my pocket money came from home. I don’t have any business or anything in school. It wasn’t that what I was getting from home was enough. I was just practically managing. I have younger siblings and their needs are more demanding than mine. I was just trying to be considerate but I was making very good use of the little I was getting from home.
Q: What advice do you have for your peers?
A: There is a lot I can possibly say. A lot of people are pressured into a lot of thing. Anything you are doing put your best into it. If you are a student, you should not completely neglect your academic because your education plays a major role in your life. There is no university you want to apply to in the future that will not ask for your transcript. So, what is worth doing is worth doing well. If you find yourself studying, give it your best. I know it is difficult for some students to put in all their efforts in their education because there are other things they have to do simultaneously with their study. Some have to work so that they can raise money to sponsor their education. Notwithstanding, they need to know that whatever they are doing, they should do them well. Even if you are not in school, possibly you are learning something, put your mind there and do it well. I hear people saying, one day it will be fine last last. The question is that are you making conscious efforts to ensure that it will be fine last last or are you just waking up and doing the same thing over and over? Are you learning extra skills? Are you learning and getting mentors? If you are not making conscious effort to better your tomorrow, it will not be fine last last.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I smile a lot. I like researching and most time I am on the internet.
Q: Are you a book worm?
A: No. I am not a book worm. Naturally, I just see myself searching for information online and that takes most of my free time. I search for a new content online. I use to draw a lot but I have stopped. I don’t sing and I don’t dance. I read, research and draw and find information. I like cooking but that is when I am at home. I like learning new things.
Q: What is your best food?
A: I don’t have a best food. I don’t eat anything. I am very selective. I don’t eat Amala. I don’t like beans. I don’t like potatoes. A lot of food I do not like. I am very selective when it comes to swallow. I can’t take starch. All in all, I think I am very receptive to rice. I like rice and spaghetti. I will probably not say no to both of them.
Q: Have you observed your NYSC?
A: I am presently observing it.