Abdur-Rahmon Kazeem is the best graduating student from the faculty of engineering, Olabisi Onabanjo University. He graduated from the department of mechanical engineering with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 4.88/5. He speaks with Edugist on the challenges he faced during his study and advice to students. Excerpts
Please share with Edugist, a little about yourself and your background
I am from Ago-Iwoye, born in Abigi, Ogun waterside, Ogun State, Nigeria. I’m from a family of 7 and I’m the second child of my mom. I have an elder brother and 3 younger siblings.
I had my pre-school education at Abigi and Ijebu Igbo where I attended Pathfinder schools and Early Education school respectively. After settling down in Ago, I moved to the school where I had my primary education, Success Gate Nursery and Primary School, Ago-Iwoye. I had my secondary school education at Amazing Grace College, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state.
What motivated you to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering?
My initial plan during my junior secondary school days was to study law. I was doing well in science subjects and I had to go for the field in which I was excellent. It was one of my major decisions to study Mechanical Engineering.
Did you plan to graduate one the overall best graduating students in Olabisi Onabanjo University?
Not at all, it wasn’t part of my plans.
Were there any courses that you found particularly challenging?
Yes, Engineering Drawing.
What significant challenges did you encounter during your study?
The major challenges I faced were finances. I barely got money from home (not even any family member), I pay house rents, school fees (solicited for help, too) all by myself. I also sponsor my feeding and all other things myself.
I overcame the challenges by building up my business and not allowing my school activities tamper with my business.
Did you participate in any internship during your study?
I had two internships. One for the field of Mechanical Engineering, the other one regarding my business.
Did you win any scholarship for your study?
No, I didn’t. But I got a fully-funded sponsorship during my last year in school.
Do you have any role models you look up to?
I have notable people I learn from and listen to. But I only look up to God.
Has any lecturer contributed to your ease of navigating your academics?
Yes, my project supervisors were really instrumental during my final year.
What are your long-term career goals?
To work at top companies in Nigeria and abroad as a mechanical engineer.
Are you interested in furthering your education beyond undergraduate level?
Yes, I am. I’m open to fully-funded opportunities abroad for Master’s and Phd.
After your bachelor’s degree, what next?
Get better at the things I do and move on to the next stages of life.
What advice would you offer students who would love to replicate this success?
They shouldn’t be carried away with the common slang “school na scam” and also not feel pressured by anyone doing better than them. Instead, they should move closer to the people doing better than them and also focus on getting better than who they were yesterday.