Cursory: Brilliant young man, Enoch Akinleye has emerged as the best graduating student of the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Kwara State, for the 2020/2021 academic session. He graduated with an outstanding CGPA of 4.96 in the Department of Biochemistry. In this interview by YUSUF ABDULKADIR, he takes through his journey up until how he was able to achieve the stellar feat.
WHAT is your educational background?
I’m an indigene of Oyo State. I did my primary school at the Royal Kids International in Ogbomosho before moving to Ibadan where I had my secondary education. I attended Oladipo Alayande School of Science (OASOS), Oke-Bola, Ibadan, for my senior secondary school, where I came out as one of the best five students in the school. I’m someone who is not always too comfortable with failure, and that’s why I always work hard to come out as the best.
Why did you choose to study Biochemistry?
I didn’t choose Biochemistry initially though, I chose Medicine. And that was because I came out as the best student in National Biology Olympiad in 2017. But when my course was changed to Biochemistry, many advised me not to go for it. However, after prayers, Jesus revealed Himself to my Dad in a vision and told him that I should continue with Biochemistry. This, coupled with my research about the prospects in the discipline, made me to continue with it.
With a 4.96 CGPA, you graduated as the best student in the Faculty of life Sciences, University of Ilorin. How was this possible? What was your secret?
It was possible through God and the grace of Jesus Christ. I tell people that God works through principles. Methods may not work for everyone, but principles always will. The first principle is: believing in oneself. Believing in myself made me set very high aims. Another is choosing to succeed regardless of one’s background. After setting these two grounds for myself, every other thing began to fall in place. They spurned me to work very hard in school, reading sometimes as much as 16 hours at a go. I stayed awake virtually every single night of the week. Most times, I slept at most four hours a day. I also practice many secret failures by solving hundreds to thousands of past questions in each course. I work very smart when approaching academics, and I do these by interrogating my seniors always before the start of each semester.
I’m also a very self-motivated person that can choose to create interest in anything, even in the most boring thing you can ever mention. This is why I’m sometimes able to read very long. Recently, I wrote a book titled ‘Scholars’ Secrets: 7 Proven Principles that gave me 61 A’s in 63 Courses’, where I comprehensively complied and explained all the principles that helped me.
How did you feel when you saw your result?
I felt very grateful to God and Jesus Christ. He rewarded all my labours. From my 100-level days, I had been labouring so hard to make sure I never get a single B in any course. Even though I couldn’t achieve this goal due to some uncontrollable circumstances, I still thanked God for this great achievement. Having 5.0’s in six semesters out of eight isn’t a small feat. I didn’t have two heads I’m not in any way better than my mates, it was just the grace of God.
Would you say you knew this was going to happen?
I knew it would happen, right from my 100-level days. I had been told it was almost impossible for a biochemistry student to come out as the best in the Faculty of Life Sciences. This was because biochemistry is a hard course, not to even talk of the many difficult chemistry courses biochemistry students do in addition. But I told my seniors that I would disprove that myth, regardless. When I saw that I came out with a perfect 5.0 at the end of my 100 level, I knew nothing else could stop me from achieving that goal. And thanks to God, it happened exactly as expected.
Did you have any particular reading style that worked for you?
Yes, a lot of them. That’s why I compiled them in the ‘Scholars’ Secrets’ book which I just wrote. Usually, I started by making what I’m reading interesting to me. I usually took time to go back personally and learn the foundationals of the topic I’m reading so that it would be very easy for me to relate to my everyday life and to assimilate too. Once those are settled, I could use active learning to retain them on my brain for long.
At what point did you start making conscious efforts to make sure you graduate with excellent grades?
I tell people that greatness doesn’t drop on people. You must make conscious efforts to be great if you want to be. If you don’t make efforts to be great, it will never come. I started making conscious efforts to graduate with 5.0’s in all my semesters from the very first day I resumed in my hostel. I told myself that though my course had been changed, I would put in the same strength I would have put into Medicine into this Biochemistry. I resolved within myself that whatsoever is worth doing, is worth doing excellently. And it worked.
Did you at any point face any challenges during your studies? How did you overcome them?
Yes, a lot of them. Coping with envious friends and difficult lecturers wasn’t easy. However, I overcame them all through prayers, self-motivation and faith in God’s Word. Self-motivation will always make you move forward regardless of your obstacles. Faith will make you know you will overcome those obstacles one day, and prayers will give you the divine backing you need.
What would you say about the role University of Ilorin played in your exposure as a student?
The university exposed me to real life and quite a lot of connections, both positive and negative. If we had only positive people, life would never be complete. The many negative ones I encountered made me understand life better. I was also able to discover quite a lot of my potentials in the university — in terms of leadership, business, music, public speaking, motivational speaking, drama acting, writing, and lots more. I believe I will discover more as I move on in life.
Tell us an unforgettable or memorable experience you had while in school?
There are many days I can’t forget in school. But one specifically was the day I saw my 100 level 1st semester results. It was on a Saturday afternoon, around 2pm, during one of my choir rehearsals. When I saw that A’s lined up on my result portal, I was so moved. That was my first time ever in life coming out with A’s in all my course. I was surprised to discover that believing in myself worked! I had never experienced such level of success in the past, at least in the last eight years of my life. That day, I learnt that everything is possible if only we can choose to believe in ourselves and try. There is no day I’ll love to forget in a hurry though. I believe both success and failures are part of life. If we never failed, we would never succeed. Failure is part of the process to success. I want to be able to vividly remember those days I failed and wept so that it will be a testimony when I later succeed.
As a certified Biochemist, what wo
uld you do differently to impact the world?
I have plans to go into research in cancer that will revolutionise the world. According to research, one out of six of us will die of cancer. I plan to uncover many new mechanisms that will cut this mortality rate down and save the world.
What’s your plan now that you are a graduate?
I plan to enrol for masters and PhD programmes oversees to widen my knowledge in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and also to get more exposure in Bioinformatics so as to be a great blessing to Nigeria in future. I’m trusting God to get a scholarship for this.
Who are your role models?Every successful person is a role model to me. But my central role model is Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Funny enough, we even have the same first name.
What advice would you give to students who want to achieve great academic excellence like you?
Choose to succeed regardless of what your background is saying. You can break old records and set new ones. See greatness in yourself. Walk with friends that will inspire you. I’ll also advise students to get my academic book ‘Scholars’ Secrets’ and read it. We can easily do away with ignorance by reading books. Finally, involve God in whatsoever you do and He’ll give you the grace to succeed.
Source: Nigerian Tribune
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