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Beauty with Brains: Covenant University’s best graduating student tells how she did it! (Photos)

The best graduating student of Covenant
University, Ota, Ogun State in the 2013/2014 academic session, Oputa
Alma, 21, finished from the Department of Computer Science and
Information Science with 4.99 CGPA. Read her inspiring story as told to Journalist Tunde Ajaja below:

Some people have said that
the grading system in private schools is too generous and unrealistic
unlike what obtains in public schools. Do you see any difference in
their products?
The grading system is the same. It’s
just that we pay for our comfort in private schools, which enhances our
performance. Those things that could make learning very conducive and
stress-free are already provided for us, and we pay for them, so we tend
to do better. For instance, some public schools pay N15,000 as tuition
fee while some private schools pay up to N700,000. Whatever we pay
already covers power supply, water supply, accommodation, equipped and
functional laboratories, etc, and an enclosed environment where not just
anything goes, unlike in public schools where those facilities are not
always readily available and the teaching and living conditions are not
good enough. The attention and care we get in private schools cannot be
compared to what we have in public schools. When you put all these
variables together, they influence a student’s performance. With the
kind of money we pay and the kind of academic environment, the
difference is expected.
We learnt you had wanted to study Medicine while growing up. What motivated you?
My dad is a doctor, a consultant, and he
is my role model, so I wanted to follow in his steps and make him
proud. I loved what he was doing and I just wanted to be like him. That
was why I had such plan, not because I knew anything about Medicine or
had so much interest.
Why did you end up studying Computer Science and Information Science?
I didn’t pick the course; one of my
teachers in secondary school randomly picked it for me because I never
knew about the course until I was offered. I was keen on studying
Medicine then, so I didn’t care what my second choice was. In fact,
everyone thought I would study Medicine, but it didn’t work out. But
now, I’m okay with the course, coupled with the Information Science that
deals with everything about information, from the gathering/collection
to its processing, storage and dissemination. I have always loved
mathematical courses and subsequently, the programming courses because I
love practicality. I don’t really like theory; theoretical courses were
boring to me. I had to put in extra efforts in reading and learning
them. I can study mathematical courses in the noisiest environments, but
for theoretical courses, I had to consecrate myself and concentrate on
what I was reading.
But some people run away from Computer Science because of courses like programming.
Programming is not difficult. It is
something people should make up their mind to learn, keep practising and
enjoy. The practicality of programming made me like it because it was
like magic to see that I would actually develop a calculator and it
would work. The fact that we are able to practise the theories we learn
and read about should make it interesting for anyone interested in the
course.
What is the big deal in computing that some people even learn as vocation outside the school wall?
People say a lot of things to give
excuses concerning this issue. However, my belief is that there is
nothing that is not simple in life; it just requires undivided attention
and commitment. And for the computer courses being offered out there,
my view is that being in school is a different ball game from external
trainings. I feel being in school gives a bigger opportunity to know
more, even beyond the course you are studying. It exposes you to certain
things, while external trainings mostly specialise in a particular area
or field.
Did you work towards being the best graduating student or was it providence?
From the beginning, I told myself I was
going to be the best student and make my dad, especially, proud. I made
up my mind to do things the right way, study hard and get to know God
better. So, I planned for it, and to God’s glory, I achieved it. There
was no major challenge whatsoever and I realised that making that
decision made it so easy for me. I also knew the place of hard work and I
did work hard.
How easy was it for you to graduate with first class honours?
It wasn’t difficult for me to have a
first class. It’s easy if one puts in the right efforts. Of course, it
doesn’t come without obstacles; that’s where we need God and a lot of
discipline to make the right choices.
  
What was your reading timetable like?
That varied a lot. For some days, I
wouldn’t read any academic book because of some other things I had to
attend to and on some other days, I would read for about 12 hours,
though not frequently. I made sure I started preparing early enough for
whatever test or exam. I had to avoid sleepless nights during exams. I
was a good listener in the class too, so I kept a general knowledge of
each course in my head in case of any impromptu class work and test.
Also, I didn’t deny myself of good sleep because I only sleep at night,
even at home, so averagely, I used to sleep around 12am and wake up by
7am but I would never sleep until I was well prepared.
How often did you go to the library?
Sincerely speaking, I don’t like
libraries because they are too quiet. Anytime I tried reading in the
library, I would just end up staring at everything and everyone. I
prefer to search for books online and maybe use a book that I needed
when my friends borrowed such from the library.
You were 20 years old when you graduated, how did you handle peer pressure?
If someone was becoming a distraction to
me, I would drift away gradually from that person. Most of my friends
were serious-minded people, so I didn’t have such battles to fight.
Also, I like to do all I have on my to-do list, so I don’t easily get
distracted. I had a lot of friends, including guys, and I liked
attending social events as long as they didn’t interfere with my
schedule. I didn’t make myself available to be disturbed by anyone, male
or female. So, there was no pressure.
You once had a blog on fashion, what attracted you to fashion?
Yes, I used to have a blog on fashion
but I stopped it about a year and half ago. I would say my love for
looking extremely good at all times attracted me to fashion. But I plan
to start something better soon because I know I am an entrepreneur.
Why didn’t you go for a course in Arts that could help your interest in fashion?
I’m a born scientist. I have been in
love with science since my primary school days. I can always go to a
fashion school whenever I am ready to.
Were you involved in other school activities?
Yes I was. I was in hospitality service
unit all through my four years in school. I was the Public Relations
Officer for my department for a year and I was a member of the Google
team of my school too for a year.
What was the Google team about?
As of the time I was a member of the
team, Google wanted people out there to know about Google maps. They
wanted people to know that they too could place their houses, schools
and offices on the map. They wanted to also teach people about how to
use the map and other Google tools like Google++ which is a social
media. I was part of the team creating that awareness to the masses and
teaching them the much I could.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
I am currently serving my country as a
youth corps member in Covenant University. I was posted there and I’m
doing a research on Bioinformatics. I hope to do my Master’s degree
immediately after the youth service programme.
What are the other plans that you have?
I have children, fashion and technology
in mind. I plan to set up my NGOs, motherless babies’ homes and free
schools to take care of children because I want to help children on the
streets begging and suffering to become learned and better people. I
plan to set up my shoe brand and build my boutiques all around the
world. I also want to help advance technology in whatever way I can to
help better the lives of people. My background made me the strong,
confident, determined and God-fearing, so, I’m prepared for the future.
What is your advice to students?
Students should not be discouraged; they
should try and be positive. They should read everything, even the ones
they don’t want to read. They should not rest until they master their
courses very well and are prepared enough for tests and exams. Trusting
in God with everything they have got is also key and they should not
give up easily.
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