My Dad’s Struggle To Finance My Education Motivated Me – BUK First-Class Graduate
Mukaila Saheed, 24, an indigene of Kwara State emerged as the best graduating student in the Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano in 2020 with a first-class degree honours. In this interview, he shared how his background as a son of an automobile mechanic, among others, spurred him towards aiming for the top. Excerpts:
How does it feel to emerge as the overall best student?
Being an overall best student is like being victorious because the journey was so hectic and tedious, but thank God for the merciful journey.
What were the motivational factors that pushed you to this height?
Commitment, dedication and hard work are those motivational factors that pushed me to this height. I normally spend 8 to 10 hours studying every day and I never relent because I believe in the popular saying that “nothing comes with ease and behind every glory, there is a story”
Does your background play any role in your push for success?
My mom is a petty trader while my dad is an automobile mechanic. They are not educated but they know the importance of being educated. This inspired my dad and he tried all his possible best to get all that we needed to go to school. My dad’s relentless and tireless efforts toward my studies pushed me in achieving all that I achieved.
My dad’s struggles in search of capital in financing our education motivated me. I believe that (coming out as the best student) is one of the ways through which I can pay him back for his relentless efforts.
My success means a lot to my dad because now he feels that his mission is partly achieved. Being the best graduating student in my department and also a child of an automobile mechanic means a lot not only to my dad but to my friends, relatives and associates.
In my level two, my level coordinator sent him (my dad) a congratulatory message and he had to look for someone to interpret the message in a language he could understand.
Apart from relentless studying and the desire to make your parents proud, are there other things that give you an edge over other students to emerge the overall best?
Patience, tolerance are other essential motivators to success. Being tolerant enabled me to relate with people from different tribes, religions and cultures because it is not easy mingling with people of different orientations but with tolerance, we share ideas, thoughts and discuss extensively about topics that are treated in class. Zig Ziglar once said that “the elevator to success is not available but the stairs to it are always available.”
Academic struggle sometimes pushes many students to depression but with prayers, tolerance and patience everything is achievable.
Was being the overall best student part of your target when you started?
I never thought of that but I developed an interest when a a colleague in the class said graduating with a first-class in the department of mass communication, Bayero University, Kano is a dream unachievable to many students in the past.
What were the challenges you encountered while in school?
Financial support was one of the challenges because there were times when my dad was unable to raise capital for my tuition. More so, language barrier was another challenge because I could not communicate effectively with the traders in Hausa and there will be no option than to get a friend who can do that on my behalf.
Going from the hostel to the library was another challenge because I will have to trek down to the library every day before I can read and assimilate.
Lastly, peer pressure was another challenge. My friends sometimes invite me for social outings and I try to balance between my academics and my social life.
You mentioned tuition fee as a challenge, didn’t you benefit from BUK’s scholarship scheme for the best students of each department in every session?
I benefited from the scholarship twice (level II and III); but friends, hostel mates from other departments will demand for their shares and I ended up with a token. The management increased the scholarship from N40, 000 to N50, 000 in the 2018/2019 academic session. I received N40,000 in level two and N50,000 in level three.
Talking about social life, what was yours like in school?
I had no social life in school and most of my friends accused me of not being social. For me, there is no social life in school because it is not easy balancing the dichotomy between academic activities and social life.
What is your most cherished moment on campus?
It was when my colleagues in class organised an award ceremony to honour my success.
What are your post-NYSC plans?
I look up to God for a better life after service and I want to proceed for my postgraduate studies but there is still no hope because there is financial constraint.
The outbreak of coronavirus hindered the school from organising a convocation ceremony for the graduating students. Possibly, there might be other scholarships but the pandemic crumbled the laid down plans. I haven’t heard anything from the school as regards any scholarship scheme for the best graduating student after graduation. But, I will be very glad if I can get a scholarship to further my education to PhD.
What advice do you have for students aiming to be the best?
My advice is that they shouldn’t relent no matter the obstacles and challenges. Being committed, dedicated, tolerant and focused are the essential keys to success. And they should know nothing is too big to be achieved and being hopeful and positive minded help to build one’s confidence.