mechanical engineering
mechanical engineering

I was in mechanical engineering but switched when I realized it wasn’t for me – Maths Graduate with 5.0 CGPA.

Edwards Otoko bagged first-class honors in Pure and Applied Mathematics from the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, having finished with a perfect 5.0 Cumulative Grade Point Average. In this interview with OLIVIA DOMINIC, he speaks about his journey to academic excellence.

You graduated with 5.0 CGPA and emerged as the overall best student in your set. Did you see it coming all along?

Let’s say at some point I knew I was going to come out on top. Along the line, I knew within me that I was going to top the class. It wasn’t much of a surprise.


Have you always been a high-flying student since your primary school days?

I won’t say primary school; I actually started picking up in my junior secondary school. I had a teacher in my church who assisted me in learning and that helped me a lot. I picked up academically when I got into secondary school. From that point, it became much easier for me. So, I won’t say getting excellent grades started for me from primary; it actually started from when I was in junior secondary school.

Mathematics is one subject dreaded by many. What informed your decision to study mathematics at the university?

Actually, mathematics wasn’t what I started off with. Nonetheless, I have always loved mathematics right from my secondary school days. My love for mathematics came from a movie titled PI. The script and everything about the movie motivated me to do more on mathematics but it wasn’t what I wanted to study in the university initially. I was in mechanical engineering for a year before I realised it wasn’t my thing to study so I applied for a transfer.

After switching to Pure and Applied Mathematics, at what point did you decide that you would graduate with first-class or did it just happen?

There was a board where names of people who made first-class were pasted, so I always imagined my name being on that list. So that had always been my aspiration and with God on my side, I worked hard towards achieving my goal.

Was there any period you would describe as challenging while in the university?

No, the only challenge I had then was when I wanted to settle down at that initial time, before I changed my course to mathematics but after then I don’t think I had any challenges because mathematics wasn’t a challenge to me at the time.

In the course of studying maths, were there times if felt like you might not realise your dream of finishing with first class?

Well, I had some challenges at some point. I remember when I was writing a course and instead of getting an A, I was getting a B. I had that as a problem and most times I just told myself that maybe I didn’t do well enough. But then I also felt that it was crystal clear that I had performed well. When it came to some courses that were really difficult to understand, I became more determined and told myself that I needed an A, so I matched that determination with going the extra mile in my study.

How did you choose your friends?

I won’t say I chose my friends then. One thing about life is that if you are good at a particular thing, you don’t have to select friends, they will come to you. Many will want to learn from you, because you have what to offer; that was how I made my friends.

What was your study pattern like?

Personally, I don’t study in a noisy environment. I did lengthy hours – most times I studied for between two and four hours and at other times, I did as much as 12 hours, depending on how I felt. When it’s close to exams I don’t really study that long because I already know everything on the scheme, so I only study for two or three hours. I also go online to check out things that are not clear to me. And then I meet lecturers and also people that are ahead of me in class. The library was also a vital part; the friends around me also helped. That was what my study routine was like.

Read also: Lady who started University with Poor Grades Graduates With First Class; Shares Journey

For someone who studied for 12 hours sometimes, did you have time for extracurricular or social activities?

I had control over my time and I also knew what I wanted. I knew this was the sacrifice I had to make to focus. I had to cut down on my social life and be determined to achieve my goals.

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