I go to cinemas, attend parties – UNILAG Graduate Ayodele Dada who graduated with 5.0 CGPA tells how he did it!

Ayodele Dada has made history by graduating from the
University of Lagos (UNILAG) with an amazing 5.0 CGPA. In this
interview with UNILAG Sun’s Muftaudeen Raji, he reveals the secrets
behind his remarkable life. Excerpts:
Would you briefly tell us about yourself?

name is Ayodele Daniel Dada. I graduated from department of Psychology,
Faculty of Social science, University of Lagos. I’m from Ekiti State.
We are just two siblings, I have a younger brother. I’am a kind of
person who is open to various experiences. I try to experiment a lot and
I have tried so many things. I have been into music production in the

Your educational background?

I had primary education
and secondary education here in Lagos. My secondary school is Hopebay
College, Ajegunle-Apapa, off Lagos-Badagry expressway. We lived close to
that area. So after secondary school, it took me a while to decide on
what I wanted to do because I had a brief stint learning how to do some
bit of IT, bit of network business but it wasn’t really serious, it was
just on the surface level and I did some French. I’m interested in
languages especially European languages so I learnt French though I’m
not efficient at it now. I’m also trying to translate that into a bit of
music production. Eventually, I read a book that just made me see how
psychology can be applied in the real life so it just captured my
imagination and I decided that I was going to devote my time to
Psychology. Yes, it was difficult at first. For example, when I decided I
was going to do Psychology, I devoted three months to preparing to take
JAMB/UTME and I really studied hard for it and I wrote the exam,
confident that I really did well only to hear some couple of weeks later
that my result was seized. I was devastated. That was in the year 2011.
They said I cheated or so. I felt sad but I took it as fate. I
initially wanted to go through the complaining procedure but it didn’t
really work out because it was taking too long. I really wanted to
resume as quickly as I could and then that was when I took the Diploma
option, the foundation programme. That was how I came into UNILAG.

How did you finance your programme?

was challenging because of the expense. Meanwhile, at that time, I had
been doing several jobs. I worked a bit with my uncle. I did a bit of
sales job selling computer accessories for some time. I also did some
tutoring, I was teaching some people trying to at least make ends meet
for myself and I didn’t stop that even when I started my programme at
UNILAG. Most of my expenses except one or two occasions, I was taking
care of my daily expenses. So, I had to plan my time such that it will
not affect my study.

Before I was able to get on board the
foundation programme, I had to get money from several sources. There
were quite a few of family friends who were very helpful. They really
came in and stood in for me because I could not take the bill myself.
They were so kind because they were ready to help me without any string
attached and that was how I started the Diploma programme and then it
was challenging because they kept on telling me my name was written in
pencil. “You are not part of the system.” There was even a student in
this faculty (FSS) who would just come and tell us :“All of you that did
this, you are bribing your way into school: and those things just kept
on adding to my motivation. But I felt like people have to understand
that we did that because of some certain circumstances, it was not as if
we had all the money to come and spend. So I started the programme,
kept on going through it and I was really driven to succeed in it.

What was your standing like at the end of the programme?

first result the first semester, I had 4.55. I had a D in Geography and
I tried to ask for what happened because even people who I was tutoring
were having Bs and As but they said my CA or part of my exam was not
recorded then I said fine, I would work better in the semester. The next
semester, I had 4.91, exactly for the second semester. So, the
aggregate was like 4.72. That’s for the foundation programme. That was
how I gained admission into UNILAG.

Could you tell us how many JAMB exams you took?

have taken just two JAMB exams and the reason is that I actually got
the admission but it wasn’t what I wanted and the thing about me is that
if it is not something I really want to do, my motivation is always
very poor and I have to commit to the task and once I commit I could
actually go to any length to achieve it. The second one was the one that
was seized as I said earlier.

What about the SSCE exams, how many WAEC did you write?

I wrote one and I made it at once. I wasn’t the best overall but at least I made everything that was required.

Now, how can you describe your study habit?

study habits are not very predictable because I adapt my study habit to
whatever that is needed at the time. Take for example, I have a policy
of never studying at night but, sometimes I had to change that based on
the situation.

How were you able to sustain your GP considering how difficult the hurdles could be?

have been asked that question severally and the simple answer I will
give is that I never looked at everything on a long term path. I was
looking at it from one day to the next. What I mean is I was thinking
short term instead of the long term because I know quite a few people
who were thinking this is what I want to finish with but then you have
that long goal and you are looking at that meanwhile, things are
happening right in front of you in short term. I was just preoccupied
with winning the short terms. That was where my focus was on. This
assignment, do it well; this test, do it well; this current exam, do it
well. Do today well because, tomorrow is another today and then it will
keep coming. So, just keep doing each they well and when it adds up,
then you get to wherever you want to be.

What was your relationship with your lecturers like while in school?

in) Yes my relationship with my lecturers were very good. Now you may
say it’s because I was one of their best students but, it doesn’t always
work that way because I know that there were some people who were also
very good. In fact, I have to say that my class was one of the best
classes that my department has had in a long time.

What’s your social life like?

I go to cinemas. I attend people’s birthdays. Some of my colleagues can
attest to that. I’m not completely the outdoor type but, of course on
occasions I have been to quite a number of functions. I participate in
events and activities even though I will not be the main person all the
time but, im just there and I try to socialite a lot. I interact with so
many people although im not the kind who is always attending every
party. I tried to create a blend.

How were you able to manage the wave of the social media?

most of the initial years in Psychology, I was only doing social media
on my laptop because I felt it’s easier to control on a laptop because
the laptop is not something you are checking all the time. When I got to
final year, I decided to change that. So, I got a phone that would
enable me monitor the social media and I downloaded all the apps. I told
myself I was going to participate seriously in social media and I was
quite visible. My class had a whatsapp group chat, I tried to
participate in that as well. I tried to be involved. I don’t just lock
myself away and say because I’m studying I won’t do that.

What can you say on your level of performance in extra-curricular activities?

didn’t do much of extra-curricular activities because most of the times
I spent my time either tutoring my colleagues or those in the lower
level apart from my personal academic work and also collaborating to an
extent with some of my lecturers. There was one event I attended with
one of my lecturers, she has been very supportive and she has tried to
mentor so many young people in the department. We actually went to Enugu
State. She was the one who advocated and showed the idea to us. She
actually led the contingent where we presented a research to a group of
people who are also members of Nigerian Psychology Association and they
applauded our effort because, it was a research where basically we were
the only undergraduates to present that year. That was November –
December 2014. So, it was the 50 years anniversary of Psychology in
Nigeria. It was something wonderful, I would say that was more of
extra-curricular activity for me. I was always in some way connected to
curricular activity.

When it comes to fellowship or association on campus, did you at one time serve as the leader?

I wasn’t really part of the fellowship but, the association I
participated in and that was in my final year was Impart Your World
Leadership Initiative (IYWLI) and there was an event that was organised
to inspire leadership and I still have a good rapport with the CEO of
the organisation and it was because the event which launched it was the
one that really captivated our minds and it was highly inspirational and
it’s something that reshape the academic landscape of this university
in times to come so, that was how much I participated as far as
association is concerned.

Could you also talk about your hobbies?

hobbies include reading. I read quite a number of books, a wide variety
of books and some of the books I read I have shown them to some my
colleagues and they feel like this is really boring but, If I know that
I’m going to learn one thing from it I’m always interested and I don’t
finish all the books I pick up. When I pick up a book I read it I get
through some parts, if I feel like this is as much as what I want from
this book I don’t feel obligated to finish the book. I can put the book
aside, pick another one and begin to read so, I read a wide variety and
that’s one of my key hobbies. Then like I said I’m also into music
production so I do it as a hobby now. I was even as serious as it was
then but, now I do it as my hobby and I like board games, strategy
games, chess, scrabble, monopoly although I’m not extremely good at them
but the strategy games I really like are computer strategy games.

Apart from academics, were you also into business or other things?

still did a bit of sales job while I was studying Psychology because I
had to support myself. It was something I had to do. I had to sell to
some of my lecturers, to my colleagues as well and then I was also going
to Ikeja because my uncle was the one who really introduced me to it.
We would go to Computer Village and even sell in wholesales then I also
did a bit of private tutoring. That was one of the key areas I major in.
As far as business is concerned, I participated briefly in
entrepreneurship challenge although I wasn’t the leader but, I just
participated to gain some experience. It was organized by Google, some
departments in engineering pioneered it in UNILAG and I participated at a
point so, it was connected to entrepreneurship where we have to promote
particularly a small, start-up business. It was good and a learning
experience for me but owning a business and running it, I don’t think I
have that much time because the demands the academic climate put on me
as well as other things I was doing I just make sure that time for such
was highly limited.

What of your relationship status while in school?

I wasn’t in any serious relationship because I read a study that just
made me realized that most people who really achieved the strongest
grades in their schools were single at the time and I was able to
identify with it because for me, when I go into things I go into them
fully and when I’m in a relationship I want to be able to at least
devote time to it and time was one of my major challenges. I always have
a lot of things to do and so many things are coming up. I don’t want to
be in a relationship and it will now suffer because I didn’t have
enough time for my partner or my girlfriend or something so, I just said
I would put that on hold till I’m done with my programme.

What was your experience with girls generally like?

fact, most of my friends are girls and they are the ones who would call
to check up on me. I related well with girls. I seem to be able to
connect with them a lot easier because I know that I am a patient person
when it comes to listening even though the girl has a lot to say about
her life, I would sit down with her and listen even if it took hours.
Some of them had challenges and I would give advice and be of help. So,
my relationship with girls was quite good, but relationship wise, no, I
wasn’t into any relationship.

How did you get your motivation?

most things I have done, my motivation has always been intrinsic. I’m
not doing it for anything most people say they are doing this to get
that but, I do things for their own sake. For example even though I was
doing private tutor, there were times when some people would not pay me
completely, yes they would pay part but they won’t complete payment. I
was passionate about imparting knowledge to them.

It’s quite brilliant that you are already working. How can you describe your experience at your place of work?

experience at work has been wonderful. I have interacted with some of
the best minds at work. These are smart and driven people who will want
to win in any way possible as long as it is legal and it is the right
thing to do. These are highly principled people who are determined to
achieve great things. It has been a great experience. I have to learn
things and I have even surprised myself by learning things that I have
not even learnt before.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?

the grace of God, five years horizon, I want to have at least furthered
my education. I won’t say exactly now at least I want to be somewhere
where my expertise, efficiency and certification in my field is a lot
higher than it is now. I want to be professional and recognised in my
field. Ten years I want to be really distinguished but, five years, I
want to be on that path, whatever it’s I have to achieve the level of
distinction in my field not just at this level. I really want to go far.


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