EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ANNE ACHO
If someone tells you it’s hard to be a very successful female student, tell that person it’s a lie. As a matter of fact, it is more than possible.
Here’s beautiful Anne, sharing her university experience from day one and how she graduated as a first-class economist, despite the fact that it took her four years to gain admission to the University.
Guess what! Her brother initially started paying for every distinction she had each semester but when the distinctions were becoming as normal as the air we breathe, he had to save his pockets from the powerhouse. Lol.
Enjoy and learn as you read this educative interview.
1. Your full name, please?
My name is Anne Chinonso Acho
2. Course studied, graduation year and graduating C.G.P.A, University?
I studied Economics, graduated in the year 2014 with a C.G.P.A. of 4.5 from Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK).
3. Why did you choose that course of yours?
Well, nothing special, I wasn’t too certain about what I wanted to study so I opted for a course that was ‘neutral’ and Economics is a course that either Science, Arts or Commercial students could undertake, so I chose it.
4. Can you please share any difficulty or hurdle you faced as a student and how you overcame?
I have shared some experiences in the course of answering questions 11, 12, and 23.
5. What is your personal mission/vision statement?
Godliness with contentment is great gain!!!
6. What drives you to success?
GOD!! I started having notable achievements when I decided to stop playing church (because I was born into a Christian family) and sincerely serve God. Also, because I’m aware that I’m the daughter of the Almighty God, I realized that I am not permitted to perform below EXCELLENCE, this drives me to success.
7. What are your hobbies and dislikes?
Hobbies: Singing, Dancing and Teaching
Dislikes: Pride and Hypocrisy.
8. Were you in a love relationship while in school? if yes, how did you combine it with your academics without one affecting the other? If no, why?
Yes, I was. It wasn’t easy, cos most times I was accused by my partner of ‘neglecting’ the relationship. However, I realized the goal I was seeking (A first class) was something that would require a lot of sacrifices (my relationship inclusive). While I was in school, ‘the mid-night call package’ by networks was ubiquitous.
One of the sacrifices I made was that I engaged in mid-night calls during school holidays but when the soles of my feet hit the school environment, I rarely engaged in it; if at all, just for a few minutes because I used my night periods to study.
This is just one example out of the numerous sacrifices I had to make in order to attain my goal.
9. Did you see yourself becoming a first-class student in your department a few years back and why?
Definitely!!! It was my goal from day one and I worked diligently to achieve it so there was no doubt in my mind that I would become one of the best students in my department.
10. How did you achieve your goals of becoming a first-class student?
Firstly, I made the decision to be! My semester goal was always to get A’s in all my courses. In the beginning, I used to pin this goal to my wall, as time went on, I no longer needed to do this as this goal was entrenched firmly in my mind.
Secondly, I kept friends who had the same goal with me. This was a major motivation for me cos these friends motivated and encouraged me academically, served as healthy competition for me and tutored me when I encountered difficulty in any course.
Again, as I previously mentioned, immediately the soles of my feet hit the university environment, I started to study such that no exam time-table ever took me by surprise or caused unnecessary fear.
I made it a habit of revising my notes every day after lectures and making lecture notes (to be read for my exams) within a week of being taught. This helped me to be more relaxed during exam periods.
Most importantly, as much as I studied diligently I prayed earnestly and didn’t neglect my relationship with God. I served God diligently with my gift (singing) and didn’t neglect communing with God even during exam periods.
11. Was there any time you failed or any time you were not happy with your grades? Can you tell us about the experience?
The first time I saw a ‘D’ in my result, mehn, it was heartbreaking because the course itself wasn’t a difficult one and I was sure that the grade didn’t portray my performance. Even the fact that my entire class experienced the same poor performance was cold comfort to me.
12. How did you get over it?
Well, I wrote a letter to the lecturer in charge of the course through the H.O.D but unfortunately, nothing was done to address the issue.
13. Have you had any challenge with a lecturer in the past? How did you scale through?
Fortunately, I haven’t. I tried my best possible to avoid this.
14. Would you advise students to combine academics with other activities on campus? Why?
Absolutely! Any academic forum especially one within or related to the student’s department and any social activity which won’t be a distraction to the student’s academics will help produce a balanced student.
Also, Internship jobs during school holidays will give the student real-world experience and make him/her of more value to himself and society.
15. Would you say you had more friends or lost more friends because of your goals and values? Kindly explain.
Well, I can’t say, I just know that I had the ‘RIGHT’ kind of friends as a result of my goals and values.
16. Have you ever been a recipient of any scholarship? How did you apply for it?
Unfortunately, no! I tried but didn’t get any (sighs). Lol.
17. Is there any habit you are working hard to break and what are the measures you are taking to break it?
Well, I am loquacious in nature. (covers face). I have been confessing scriptures about “the use of the tongue” over my life!
18. During your undergraduate days, was there a mistake you made and wished you could undo?
I almost made a 5.0 in a particular semester. I had nine A’s and one B. The ‘B’ happened because I sacrificed the time I had to study, to study the course of someone else from another department and neglected mine.
And the bad thing was that the course I had a ‘B’ in was a three-credit unit course. I’m someone who advocates for good deeds but this particular deed almost cost me my first-class ambition as you see I just managed to hit ‘first class’.
Two friends of mine achieved the 5.0 that semester so it made it even more painful (although I was happy for them).
19. During your undergraduate days, was there something you couldn’t do but wish you did?
I didn’t engage in internship jobs during school holidays, this is one thing I still regret. In fact, it was after I graduated and began to apply for full-time jobs that I realized that a lot of internship opportunities for undergraduates abound.
20. Has your choice of friends influenced your success in any way? How?
Absolutely! I have done justice to this question in the answer I gave in question 10.
21. Has your structure of home and family influenced your success in any way? How?
Absolutely! I had a big brother who sponsored me financially throughout my university. He gave me weekly allowance, sent money specifically to buy textbooks each semester, and promised to send me N1000 for every A I got ( Although he stopped this in my first year as he couldn’t keep up with this promise, because the number of A’s I acquired gave him a run for his money….hehehehe….).
I had a father who also assisted financially in situations where my brother couldn’t and I had a mother who was and still is my biggest fan…love you mama!!… Lol
22. What advice would you give people with a poor choice of friends and people who are not lucky enough to be raised in a healthy home?
If you have a poor choice of friends, you are only sabotaging your own goals and future endeavours.
If you are not lucky enough to be raised in a healthy home, know that family is not just based on ‘blood ties’, build strategic and intimate friendships that can play the role of ‘family’ to you.
Some friends stick closer than a brother.
23. Can you share a testimony that showed vividly that God was involved in your success?
I had an issue of a mix-up of one of my results with a fellow course mate. The exam was written as a computer-based test so everyone I told about this mix-up always reminded me of how this type of results can’t be rectified because it was marked by a computer and it is believed that a computer can’t make mistakes.
The mistake was from shading of matric numbers during our exams (which was actually true) and I was told to forget about rectifying it and just re-write the exam (blah blah blah). Everyone, except one person.
Then, I decided to do the impossible and fight to have this result rectified. The issue dragged on from my second year till my final year, but by the mercy of God, it was rectified!
Also, for the fact that I graduated with exactly 4.5 CGPA shows that OLUWA (God) is very very very very very involved in my success.
24. Is there any particular experience from which you would like us to learn? This could be in any area of life.
I was opportune to serve as a corper in a university. I saw this as a huge opportunity so I was really desperate to make the right connections and amass as much knowledge as I could.
However, my experience there taught me that there is a difference between having a ‘desire’ for something and being ‘desperate’. The former motivates you to achieve what you seek through the right means while the latter could push you to get what you seek through a wrong means or could lead you to fall into the wrong hands.
I noticed that when I desired the aforementioned things (not being desperate about them) God brought Academics to my life who became father figures and role models in my life. People with whom I am still in communication with today.
25. Who do you see yourself becoming in the nearest future and how are you working towards that?
Sincerely, I’m still waiting for some things to fall into place in my life so I can’t answer this question now.
26. What advice would you give students who wish to be highly successful?
Put God first, have strategic and meaningful friendships, have clear-cut goals for yourself, clearly define how you want to achieve these goals while being flexible in its execution, in other words, make changes where necessary.
Enjoy where you are while working diligently to attain your goals and be patient. Have a healthy self-image so you could exude the confidence and esteem you need to be successful.
27. What advice would you give Nigerian students, Nigerian lecturers and Nigerian Universities?
To Nigerian students, the tertiary institution system can be frustrating, seek advice from students ahead of you, do your best and leave the rest for God.
Nigerian lecturers, please help the deteriorating educational system by keeping abreast with recent topics and teaching methods within your field. Always adequately prepare your classes and don’t play God with student’s result (In other words, don’t intentionally discourage or hinder excellence).
I really don’t know what to say to Nigerian universities because their issues are systemic and stem from the system of corruption existing in Nigeria so I’m at loss for words.
28. Any advice to give to a student who has failed severally and about to give up?
I have witnessed first hand what it is to ‘fail’ but it never hindered me from always getting up again and intensifying my efforts. I wrote UTME exams four times before I entered the university. Three out of the four times, I scored above 200 and one time the entire result of those who wrote UTME in my centre was cancelled as a result of mass cheating. My four experiences can be summarized thus (214, 253, no result, 274).
The first two results didn’t produce an admission for me because of the frustrating experience of the post-UTME scheme (e.g one time I was denied admission because I scored 62 in post-UTME, but the cutoff for my state was 62.3…my village people??? I know, right!!!).
These experiences were beyond heartbreaking, do you know why?? Firstly, because of how long it took me to gain admission, on my last attempt at UTME, a ‘junior’ of mine who was in JSS 2 when I graduated from secondary school was my classmate at UTME tutorials.
Also, a friend of mine who graduated from secondary school the same year I did, already finished from the university and started working before I gained admission to the University.
Did these experiences give me reasons to give up? YES! Did I?? NO!!!
IF I DIDN’T, NO ONE ELSE SHOULD!!!
29. What is your definition of success?
Success is the ability to be part of the success story of people in your lives. You cannot truly be said to be a success until people whose path has crossed yours can identify you as a contributing factor to their success.
30. Would you like to drop your mail, just in case anyone wants to ask you further questions?
Oops! Did you read what she went through before she gained admission? If she was a lazy type, she would have given up on her goals after four good years. Isn’t it worth it in the end? You can answer the question. Winks.
If you loved this interview, do good by sharing with others who might need some form of encouragement in their studies and academic goals.
Keep being the best!
To read another interview of an outstanding Design student, click here