Miss Binta Maria Aleogo, from Etsako Local Government area of Edo State, is the best graduating Masters student of the University of Benin, 2015/2016 academic session. In this interview with Vanguard Learning, Binta who studied Biochemistry reveals her secrets to success; God and self-competition, as well as the challenges she faced as she rose to 5.0 CGPA.

GETTING first class 

It was all God, because if you compare the way I read to the way others read, I don’t think it is any match at all. It was purely by the grace of God, I have always believed in the spirit of excellence in whatever I do. I always want to be the best, if there is a best grade, that’s what I want. It is that drive for excellence that has always propelled me to success. God’s grace that’s how I made best student and also made a first class.

Challenges

I lived off-campus throughout my four years. The first challenge was electricity. Where there is no light at night, it makes reading at night difficult because you have to rely on candles or rechargeable lamps, especially if you don’t have money to run your generator. Friends were not a distraction because I didn’t have so many friends. There are also some lecturers that require you to go the extra mile in preparing for their courses in exam, maybe because of the way they teach, they come to class and they don’t teach well or they give you scanty materials and expect you to go and do more research.

Major motivation

That aside, talking about the rush; sometimes they rush our classes, they rush our test or even rush our exams. Those were the few challenges I encountered. To overcome is to remember what brought you there in the first place.

Carryovers

There was one carryover, it was a missing script. I was in 100 level then, I was naive and did not know my way around, I tried to pursue it to get the grade out, but it didn’t work, so I just made up my mind to write the course again. It was not really that I failed the course.

Support System

God is my major motivation. You know that drive or the pursuit for excellence, the need to always be the best? Know that it is not about competing with anybody, you are competing with yourself. And of course friends, well wishers and my family; you know that feeling of not wanting to fail them or you wanting to always make them proud? They are the propellants of my success.

Msc. 5.0 CGPA

It was different from the B.Sc, you can’t compare the level of input that it requires to MS.c, it is really demanding. We had to research on all courses that we were taught; the questions asked were problem solving questions, you have to think and it is not just about memorizing the note given in class, you have to go the extra mile. First semester exams went well. By second semester, I was planning for a scholarship abroad so it was really taking a lot of my time and attention; I was so distracted that I almost lost interest in continuing the program in second semester. I started reading for my exams few weeks before the exams started. What really amazed me the most was that I was able to complete all the bulky courses within a short period of time, and still do well. It was just God.

What the future holds

I have always had a heart for children and women. I have always looked forward to having a facility, for lack of a better word. I don’t want to call it a foundation because it is going to be bigger than a foundation. It is going to be a facility with several branches all over the world that would cater for women and children; women who have been abused physically, emotionally and otherwise. Women who are not empowered financially and children, who have been abused, maybe sent to hawk on the street, maybe orphans who can’t take care of themselves. The facility will empower them, train the children free of charge through school, there will be several jobs for them and several means of empowerment for them. There are other goals and dreams that I have as regard my career and other areas of my life, they are so numerous but let’s just stick to that one.

Ph.D 

Yes of course! In fact, as an academician you cannot afford to be stagnant. If you remain stagnant, you won’t be relevant in the society. You have to keep improving yourself. I look forward to doing my PhD as soon as possible but not in Nigeria, maybe Canada or America.

For students 

For the youths who are aspiring to be in school, don’t lose hope. Keep your eyes on excellence, which should be your focus. Don’t see it as competition with others, in fact, the person you should be competing with is who you were before. Strive to be a better you and the sky would be your starting point.