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First Class Diary: Great performance is highly dependent on the input graduates are willing to contribute to their developments- JA

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Good morning my amazing readers, how are you doing? Hope you had a pleasant weekend rest? Let me ask, what is your input to developments as a graduate?

Today, we have a guest from the great Ife. Please, help me celebrate Joel Oluwaremilekun Aboderin from Obafemi Awolowo University.

This interview is one of a kind considering the circumstances surrounding the interview. You don’t want to miss it!

In his words,

When you come to terms with your capacity and how best to upscale it, you will conquer the world.


Abigael Ibikunle of Edugist: Please share with Edugist, a little about your background.

Joel Aboderin: My name is Joel Oluwaremilekun Aboderin. I did my primary education at Topaz Karis Kiddies Polytechnic. My primary school is located in Epe, Lagos State, Nigeria. I was more or less a regular kid who just does a child stuffs up until Primary 5. In 2003 -2005, I became quite serious with my studies.

I proceeded to Calvary Arrows College, Gboko, Benue State Nigeria. I had my secondary education far away in the middle belt of Nigeria from 2005 to 2011. My secondary school was a real booster for my overall growth. In the moral and academic sphere, I began to take a more responsible approach to life.

I did not get into the university at the first trial, even though I had a 250 grade in the JAMB Exam. I did a one-year Pre-degree program at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Moro Campus. The pre-degree experience was a life-changing experience. I believe a huge part of my aspiration can be traced back to this period from late 2011 to late 2012.

There, I came across inspiring, high-achieving scholars who were room-mates and hostel mates at Temilade hostel. No doubt, I was intelligent and brilliant yet, very timid. I met young boys and girls who would brag about hitting a particular grade at our contact exam and even surpass what they had professed.

This got to me, I loved that and began coveting this confidence and daring spirit. By the end of the second contact, I had become so bold to the point of telling you what I wanted in my test before even I sat for it. Let me state specifically that I never gave a specific thought to graduating with a first-class degree until the 4th or 5th of March 2013. I’d resumed into Obafemi Awolowo University and was posted to Room 103, Block 2, Awolowo Hall: “The Castle of Great Men.”

It was there I met a “stalite” as we often call senior colleagues. He gave me a warm welcome. We began discussing normal gist. I cannot even recall how the First-Class matter came up.

However, I recalled vividly how he hinted at the near impossibility of getting a First-Class in the great O.A.U. That skepticism was all my motivation. I dropped a personal note in my mind that: “I will surprise this, bro.”

That was all I needed; A doubt. He then said, “let us watch and see.” Every time things got a notch higher; I always recalled the personal note that I gave to myself. I wanted to prove a point to myself. Mind you, at this point, I had not met my colleagues or even had lectures. I also will say God was the main factor aside from my strides.


AI: Was there any motivating factor(s) that influenced your choice of discipline and institution?

JA: Yes. Mr. Seun Olufolaji and the acute electricity problem in Nigeria. He was and is still a mentor. He was my Introductory Technology teacher from, JSS1-JSS3. This man taught me Further Mathematics from SS1-SS3. He just had a thing for developing young kids. He was also a practical engineer. I decided to be an engineer because of his dexterity.

My decision to study Mechanical Engineering was because of the many projects we did in School through the JETS club. As of 2005, JSS1, I had already written a project on engineering materials, their sources, types, uses, and co.

Also, I was involved in a fascinating project in my group. I was grouped in LOVE house. You know typically these houses you were for sports. We made a wooden torchlight and learned the uses of saws and wood finishes with plains. I recall having a special liking for the spokeshave plain…lol


AI: There are two major skills that every student must possess: COMPETENCE and PERFORMANCE. While competence revolves around skill acquisition, performance is much more concerned about skills application. It is believed that most graduates are competent because their academic performance testifies to this, but they are performance-challenged. This poor performance ipso facto hinders them from getting lucrative jobs in the labour market.  What can you say about this assertion?

JA: Well, I am not aware of this quote or by whom it was made.  It’s however relatable. I’ll say Performance is a function of two variables according to Timothy Gallwey. The first variable is your unlimited potentials, while the second is the interferences specific to you.

Take, for instance, to gain employment in a Software Industry, and to perform well, you will need solid expertise in programming and all. Your university degree might not have prepared you for this position. To match your potential to your performance in this field, you will have to overcome interferences/challenges to honing this skill.

The 21st-century work demands are more than we’ve ever experienced in history. The challenges are multidisciplinary and fast-paced. Therefore, even a Harvard graduate will need more than his/her degree.

Great performance is highly dependent on the input graduates are willing to contribute to their developments.


AI: What do you think is responsible for competence without performance? Please suggest ways of improving the performance level of university students and graduates

JA: To perform, you need a platform. The modern parlance for a platform is called opportunity. It’s only via a task that you can assess your possible output. It is only what is monitored that is measured.

For instance, how do we conclude that a fellow is competent at baking cake if they never get to bake?  To push it further, even though not necessarily is having a Job. Employment!


AI: Achievement in life transcends one’s personal efforts. There were people who, during your programme, rendered some assistance that made your dreams a reality. Who are specific persons whose contribution you can’t forget in your first-class feat?

I couldn’t agree more. This was the main theme in Malcolm Gladwell’s book titled Outliers. I had massive support; I was constantly inspired by the church I attend Sanctuary of Hope Church at Ile-Ife. My Pastor, Rev. Prof. Greg Erabor is an achiever and a faculty member at the College of Medicine. My friend and mentor, Dr.  Bimbo Fisusi, and dear friends, Akingbondere Oladimeji, Olukayode Oyedele, Afeez Ogunsesan, and many more were very supportive.

My parents are my number one fans. Also, some special human angels at the department of Mechanical Engineering, OAU. The likes of Dr, Bamiji Adewole, Dr. Hakeem Owolabi, Mr.  O. A. Oladosu, Dr. Adewole One, and Prof. Olufemi Koya, and a whole lot more.


AI: As a first-class graduate, are you currently gainfully employed?

JA: I recently quit my workplace for a postgraduate program.


AI: Do you think your grades have or is giving you any major advantage over other graduates with lesser grades?

JA: I think it’s an edge for level entry. Grades, although not perfect pointers are good pointers to potentials. However, you need newer grades at your workplace or graduate programs which we’ve now defined as performance.


AI: For students who aspire to graduate with outstanding grades like yours, what would you advise them?

JA: Know Thyself. This is an ancient Greek aphorism inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo according to the Greek writer Pausanias.

When you come to terms with your capacity and how best to upscale, you will conquer the world.


AI: What would you advise the government to do to improve the standard of our education system?

JA: The government should provide an enabling atmosphere for market-creating innovations in the educational sector.


AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

JA: My faith in the Lord Jesus has been a huge part of my story. He is my buddy and friend. I, however, cannot adequately quantify spiritual supports. My advice is to be spiritual as well.


That’s it on the series for the week. Hope you had a swell time reading?

To be featured on the series, please send a mail to Abby

I am Abigael Ibikunle and celebrating excellence is a top priority for me.

iTeach, iSpeak, iTrain, iFacilitate, iWrite, iInterview and iLoveYou all. Smile! See you next week!

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