I made up my mind to be the best –Adeyeye, one of UNILAG’s best graduating students
Adeyeye Oluwaseyi finished with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.96 from the Department of Insurance, University of Lagos, during the 2017/2018 academic session, making him one of the three best graduates. He told Tunde Ajaja how he achieved the feat
You were one of the three best graduating students of your set; how does this make you feel?
When I got to know that I would graduate as one of the three best students, I was so excited. I was not bothered about the fact that we were three because I have always lived with the ideology that the sky is wide enough to contain everyone.
So, I hold the belief that other people’s success is never an impediment to mine. In fact, the news came with more joy because one of the two other guys is a good friend of mine.
To have graduated with 4.96 CGPA implied that you started strong and sustained the tempo throughout; what was your source of inspiration?
What influenced that goal was the fact that I never won an academic recognition during my primary and secondary education. I knew I needed to imprint my name in my educational journey, so the only avenue left was in the university and I knew I had to give it everything necessary. That thought really influenced my decisions and actions on campus.
So, from my first day at the University of Lagos, I had always had the intention to be the best in my set. I made up my mind to be the best right from that time. That inspired me to write this goal in a cardboard in my room four years ago. The journey started in my first year when I had 4.92 CGPA. I knew I could do better and get better results. That is the benefit of having a goal so you don’t start jubilating when your performance is average.
So, despite 4.92 at the end of my first year, I had to do better. In the following year, I had 4.96 CGPA, but it reduced to 4.94 in my third year.
Were you impressed with the results you were getting?
Dropping from 4.96 to 4.94 CGPA actually got me worried but I spoke to friends and family and they encouraged me to keep moving. To the glory of God, I had 5.0 GPA in both first and second semesters in my final year. That was what took me back to the 4.96 I graduated with.
You can’t be certain you would be the best student since you don’t know the results of other students, unless you are on 5.00 CGPA but it doesn’t stop you from working towards becoming the best and that was what I did. Within me, I already envisaged being honoured on convocation day and I was ready to put things in place to achieve it. It was not an easy task; I was constantly fighting distractions but I thank God I attained that set goal.
As a child, was Insurance the field you dreamt of being in?
I was influenced by my father to become a medical doctor but along the line, I discovered my talent and immediately knew where they were needed. Thanks to my numerous mentors.
What attracted you to Insurance or was that what your mentors advised you to do?
Choosing Insurance was influenced by someone I had as a mentor. He highlighted the fact that the industry is at its growth stage and poses a lot of opportunities for game changers. I guess he saw the potential in me to change traditions and design innovative systems, products and services.
I later discovered these skills along my journey in school. I was able to create an insurance product with a group of friends and we pitched the idea to several companies. Currently, we are working on a couple of projects within and outside the insurance space.
Some people tend to see Insurance as a simple course; is that true or a misconception?
The level of simplicity of a course is based on individual’s perspective. To some, it might be so easy while others may struggle to get good grades. Personally, I realised that Insurance as a course requires wide and extensive studying.
What would you tell students who are at a crossroads whether to study the course or not?
The industry is really looking forward to accommodating game changers, young and vibrant persons who are open to learning, personal development and creative thinking. So, if you believe in yourself to shake the industry, you are surely needed. The industry is looking out for such persons.
What reading schedule worked for you?
My reading schedule was very rigid in my first year; I lived a triangular life, from hostel to classroom and to the place where I usually read.
However, I discovered that there was more to life than that. In my second year, I became more flexible and from then till I graduated, I usually read for five hours daily. With that, I participated in lots of extracurricular activities. I had more fun going out with friends for class parties and moving around the streets of Lagos.
I really enjoyed my social life on campus. I’m missing those periods already. UNILAG gave me avenues to have fun with friends in the school premises. Despite my commitment to my academics, I did other things of interest in school. For example, I initiated a job simulation process, which gives undergraduates a similar experience of what it entails to get a job after school.
I also designed an online competition for students in my department. I remember I led a committee of over 40 students to execute a project, which was aimed at educating undergraduates about the gap that exists between the academic world and the industry. Over 2,000 students were hosted in that programme. I was able to balance my academics with other activities.
What would you describe as the biggest sacrifice you made for your academics?
The biggest sacrifice I made was to forgo side distractions. UNILAG is a ‘happening’ place, so it is very hard to avoid distractions.
However, there were times I voluntarily got myself distracted so as to recover and gain good mental health status. It is healthy to be in control the extent to which one gets distracted.
It’s easy to assume that success in the higher institution is often preceded by similar performance in previous levels of their education, was that the case for you?
Interestingly, I never had an outstanding academic performance during my primary and secondary school education. What really changed my story was the strong belief in God, my determination, commitment and belief in myself. I told myself that I wanted this goal and worked relentlessly to achieve it.
When you were young, were there times your parents coerced you into being serious?
I did what children are fond of doing; deceiving my parents with books when they were around. Once they left, I would run out to play. At that point, only a few students understood the relevance of studying and I was not one of them then.
How would you have felt if you didn’t make first class?
I knew I would make a first class. There was no way I would have missed it. I was psychologically and mentally ready for the journey, knowing full well that I was not going to get it on a silver platter. I had a great drive to do all that it takes and I knew it was within my capacity to achieve that feat.
Is there any aspect of your profession (in practice) that you think should be improved upon?
More needs to be done in the retail businesses to ensure that the penetration rate is increased. Insurtech is yet to be fully embraced unlike in the United Kingdom where it is driving sales and growth.
Would you like to practise the profession or you have interest in other things?
I have started practising as a matter of fact. Despite this, I am open to opportunities in other fields as well. The labour market allows transition from one career to another despite having certifications in one or two fields.
What do you do at the moment?
I used to work as an intern with an insurance company but I’m currently supervising my businesses and at the same time preparing for exams that would facilitate self-development. I’m committed to self-development.
However, I look forward to scholarship opportunities and mentorship in the area of oil and gas management, special risk and business generally.
What are your aspirations in life?
I aspire to attain a very great level of self-development in the area of energy management, business management and technology. Knowledge is power and it brings relevance to one’s life.
I also aspire to be a leading partner with several foundations/groups seeking to make the world a better place.
There are many reasons students fail; from your observation in school, what are some of them?
The major reason for failure is poor implementation of principles guiding success. Majority of us know the right things to do but we are usually not motivated to do them.
Secondly, time management is a skill that a lot of people don’t deploy. Proper time management will help increase efficiency and effectiveness. Lots of students get carried away with the numerous activities on campus, which shouldn’t be.
While on campus, did you enjoy cooking for yourself or was it something you dreaded?
I only cooked in my first and second years; all the other days I was eating at restaurants and they were nice foods.
There are students who are desirous of your kind of performance but do not know how to go about it; what is your advice to such persons?
What worked for me was that I added hard work with prayers. God was at the centre of it all but I was aware that God does not support laziness. So, I gave it my all and developed a reading strategy of writing out questions and answering them. I can recommend that model but different things work for individuals, and it is best they know which one works for them.
Regardless, it would always revolve around hard work and God. Beyond these, I made friends with the right set of people and had interactions with senior colleagues in the department. Diligence is also key to success. I really worked hard but above all it was the grace of God that prevailed.
So, I say to them; believe in God, believe in yourself, discover what works for you and be focused.