Determination and resilience are personal qualities I will not trade for gold

Grace Ajayi is a lady full of smiles and grace as her name implies. This interview sheds light on her journey to success through determination and persistence. 

As a matter of fact, she was not given admission into her desired course but she still chose to love the option given to her.

She didn’t just decide to push through, she actually had a resolve to be the best in it even in the face of financial constraints.

She said, “my desire is to be great and be a giant on whose shoulders posterity can climb.”

Enjoy this educative interview with her.

1. Your full name?

I am Grace Oluwatosin Ajayi by name.

2. Course studied, University, Graduation year and Final C.G.P.A?

Ecotourism and Wildlife Management; The Federal University of Technology, Akure; 2016; 4.69.

3. Why did you choose that course of yours?

Actually, I chose Microbiology but I ended up as a Wildlife Conservationist not because I didn’t do well in the entrance examination anyway. I scored 255 in Jamb and 72 in Post UTME but due to a pass mark in Physics (O’level), I was not admitted into Microbiology department. Ever since I started with my course of study, I groomed myself into loving it.

Read: Types of careers in medicine you may consider

4. Can you please share any difficulty or hurdle you faced as a student and how you overcame?

Well, one of the challenges faced was a financial constraint. I remember I had to write out some handouts in 100level all because I could not afford to make the photocopies. At some point, I had to borrow a laptop for some typing works and practical that required it. Against all odds, I remained resilient. Even when the going got tough, I kept my eye on the goal. My desire to be great and to be a giant on whose shoulders posterity can climb, coupled with perseverance, led to my excellent academic achievements despite my humble background.

5. What is your personal mission/vision statement?

The fact that you aren’t where you want to be, should be enough motivation for you.

6. What drives you to success?

I am highly motivated in seeing myself to be better than I used to be. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from being the best at what I do. The fact that I am not where I want to be, that my generation awaits my manifestation, dreams and goals; are all great motivation to me. I am a lady who desires growth and to be a source of inspiration to others. My determination not to settle for less than the best keeps me on the move and further motivated me to always focus on excellence.

7. What are your hobbies and dislikes?

I would say I enjoy teaching, or better still I love impacting lives positively. Also, I love cooking. I dislike gossips.

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?

No, I have long known that going into a relationship requires commitment which I was probably not ready for (smiles).

Read: 40 personality strengths to imbibe and weaknesses to avoid

9. Did you see yourself becoming a first-class student a few years back and why?

Actually, from the onset, it wasn’t about the first class. Coming into 100 level, I was determined to come out in flying colours until my 100 level result, 4.22, motivated me not just to graduate with a good grade but with a first class and as the best in my department.

10. What are the unique secrets or tips for finishing well in your department?

In my department, you just have to read beyond the notes given. Widen your horizon. Be serious with assignments, practical, attendance and tests. Most importantly, ensure you attend classes and jot down explanations from the lecturer. Above all, believe in God and believe in yourself with determination.

11. How did you achieve your goals of becoming a first-class student?

Determination, Persistency and Resilience are personal qualities I will not trade for gold. The Slogan “Press on!” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race and as such has been of great motivation to me. Great works are performed not by strength but perseverance.” Seeing beyond the present has always stirred me up to be committed to achieving greatness.

12. Was there any time you failed or any time you were not happy with your grades? Can you tell us about the experience?

Yes, yes, yes. I was not happy with my result in 200 level second semester as I experienced a decrease from 4.51 to 4.37. There was a six months strike before the exam, so I guess I relaxed a bit before I wrote the exam. Secondly, in 400 level first semester, I had credits in two courses which I didn’t expect. This also led to a slight decrease in my CGPA.

13. How did you get over it?

Initially, it was painful I did not allow it to weigh me down. It gave me a reason to work hard and work smart the more.

14. Have you had any challenge with a lecturer in the past? How did you scale through?

No, I ensured the games were well-played. I obeyed instructions to the core.

Read too: Facts about failure no one will ever tell you

15. Would you advise students to combine academics with other activities on campus? Why?

Yes, but it must be done wisely. Being involved in community service or school politics where one can serve humanity and enhance his or her leadership skills is actually a good one.

16. Which other activity did you indulge in as a student?

Majorly, I was involved in fellowship activities. I was in the Library unit of my fellowship then (CACCF FUTA) and was once the General Secretary and the Sisters’ Coordinator of my fellowship.

17. Would you say you had more friends or lost more friends because of your goals and values? Kindly explain.

Well, during my undergraduate days, I had people around me. Those I could call friends and those I call acquaintances, but I ensured to keep friends of like-minds.

18. Have you ever been a recipient of any scholarship? How did you apply for it?

No, I have never been a recipient.

19. Is there any habit you are working hard to break and what are the measures you are taking to break it?

I have my flaws and I am working to get better than I am.

20. During your undergraduate days, was there a mistake you made and wish you could undo?

Man is prone to mistake, I can’t vividly recollect a serious one here.

21. During your undergraduate days, was there something you couldn’t do but wish you did?

Hmmm, If I could turn back the hands of time, I would have been more involved in community service or school politics where I can serve humanity and enhance my leadership skills.

Read: Work smarter, not harder: 6 tips applicable to any business

22. Has your choice of friends influenced your success in any way? How?

Yes, as stated earlier, I keep friends of like passion who are optimistic and determined. They are encouragers, advisers and motivators who are part of my success story.

23. Has your structure of home and family influenced your success in any way? How?

Yes, my family remained supportive and their showers of love helped me in a long way.

24. What advice would you give people who have a poor choice of friends and people who are not lucky enough to be raised in a home that encourages success?

I will advise them not to allow anyone or anything to be a determinant of where they can get to in life. The only one who can stop you is YOU, so be of good cheers and go for gold!

Read too: An interview with an outstanding microbiologist

25. Can you share a testimony that showed vividly that God was involved in your success?

Right from childhood, God has been my help. My entrance examinations (UTME and POST UTME) had an error that would have cost me the admission but God intervened. I never expected the result I had in 100 level first semester because it was a rough and tedious semester for me as I had to change my course, complete my registration and attend classes. But in all, God remained faithful.

26. Is there any particular experience from which you will like us to learn? This could be in any area of life.

Trusting God may not move the mountain but it will surely help you climb through. I trusted God and I worked hard with determination to ensure that I do not repeat any examination, right from WASSCE and God helped with that. Although I attended a government secondary school, that did not stop me from doing well.

27. Who do you see yourself becoming in the nearest future and how are you working towards that?

I see myself in the academics; impacting lives and raising younger generations.

28. What advice would you give students who wish to be highly successful?

Keep at it, remain focused, do not settle for less. Persevere, Persist and Prepare well above others. Your determination is key.

29. What advice would you give Nigerian students, Nigerian lecturers and Nigerian Universities?

To Nigerian Students, do not be limited to the four walls of the university. Be involved in life-challenging activities, do well by learning and not just coming out with good grades. To Nigerian lecturers and universities, I will advise that they should have the interest of students at heart.

Determination leads to success

30. Any advice to give to a student who has failed severally and about to give up?

Life may not give you reasons to press on at times, but do not give up. You need the determination to achieve anything. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, it will all be worth it in the end, I am so confident of that. Give a new approach to your studies and do not compare yourself with others. Cheers!!!

Read: Why you need to have a good GPA as a student

31. What is your definition of success?

You are successful when you have those who are still standing just because you’ve been there for them. That’s my perspective of what success is anyway. When you dig people out of their grave, you are writing your success story.

32. What have you been up to since you graduated?

I am presently doing my Master’s programme.

33. Would you like to drop your mail, just in case anyone wants to ask you further questions?

It’s okay.

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Post Author: Abimbola Joseph

Abimbola Joseph is a creative content developer who derives pleasure in encouraging individuals to be the best they can be in all relevant facets of life. She believes that we all have a better version of ourselves which can be leveraged to impact others and make the world a better place. Connect with me on Instagram @abimbolajoe.

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