By Abdulafeez Olaitan
In this interview, Fresh B.Ed. graduate, Erioluwa Boluwatife Adeyinka shares his journey through undergraduate studies, accolades he has received and most importantly, discrimination towards students from Faculty of Education.
AO: Please share with TPC UNILAG, a little about yourself and background
EBA: My name is Erioluwa Boluwatife Adeyinka. I am 21 years old. I was born in Ibadan and lived my formative years in Ibadan. I grew up in a small family where the love for God and humans was our guiding principles. My grandpa was a librarian so I read a lot of books and I draw a lot of inspiration from my parents (Mr and Mrs Ayowale Adeyinka).
I attended Mary Hill Convent School for my primary education; Global School of Science, Ibadan and Turning Point Academy for my secondary school education.
My interests include education, youth development, business development and impact investing
AO: What do you enjoy most about your education? What aspects of your field of study intrigued you the most and why?
EBA: Quite a lot about my field of study is fascinating but I think what I enjoyed the most was learning from different people, schools, countries and faculties. My course is interdisciplinary, so I took courses in sociology, business, psychology, computer science, and allied fields.
AO: What are your thoughts concerning the apathy shown to courses in the Faculty of Education?
EBA: I think the apathy may have been around for a while because we live in a society that thrives on oppression. Most teachers do not earn decent salaries and funding for education is usually low.
Students from other faculties are made to think that Faculty of Education is not prestigious. Sometimes, you hear things like “If you fail this course, you will be sent to that faculty near the gate or outside the gate.”
Also, there is limited access to personal development opportunities in the faculty. Students in other faculties get more scholarship, endowment and benefits.
AO: Have you had any challenges with a lecturer in the past? How did you sail through?
EBA: Not really. Though there was a time I failed a particular course in which I was certain of my proficiency. The reception of the course coordinator towards the issue was not so great but I am glad it is all in the past now. I wrote the course again as a carryover and I passed.
AO: Would you advise students to combine academics with other activities while on campus, why or why not?
EBA: I would honestly say “DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.” For example, most of the cocurricular activities I engaged in during my undergraduate years happened during weekends and mostly online, except for the times I had to travel outside the country for programs and conferences.
I was able to do all of these because I had the support system of friends and mentors. If you think you can’t combine these things while in school, do not feel pressured. It is however advised to engage in the activities during holidays. Do not forget that the primary reason why you are in school is to make good grades, other things are secondary and they can always come later.
AO: “Nigerian graduates are less competent compared to their counterparts in other parts of the globe.” Give your thoughts. Do you think this statement possess any elements of truth?
EBA: I do not think this statement is true. We (Nigerian graduates) are not less competent, we just don’t have the enabling environment for some kind of growth to occur. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make us less competent. I have been in different classes with people from other countries and I figured that everyone is unique in their contribution.
I have also attended a program where I had the highest and best results with over 20 countries present. I was also the only African present.
AO: Would you say you had more friends or lost more friends because of your goals and values? Kindly explain? Who are specific persons whose contribution you can’t forget in your undergraduate journey?
EBA: Yes, I had more friends. Success is a lousy teacher, it attracts people. I have a circle of friends which has been so instrumental to my growth.
I would not like to miss out on the names of people but I would say most of my classmates helped me in my journey; my best friend and classmate, Yusuf Adegbite was very instrumental to my success in and out of school; together with my project partners and good friends, Windapo Abosede, Ikperu Akpevwe, Sanni Oluwadamilola, Atanda Yusuf, Olabisi Olasunkanmi and Eniola Williams.
AO: Have you been a recipient of any scholarship? Kindly run through the application process?
EBA: I am a recipient of a number of scholarships, fellowships and study grant, all spanning my undergraduate degree. The application process was usually a stressful one because they required essays, video interviews and preparation. I remain grateful to my mentors and peers for their support.
A breakdown of honours and accolades I have received include:
- Recipient; Oyo State Government Scholarship, 2016
- Recipient; Utrecht Summer School Scholarship, 2019
- Winner; Oyemaja Fellowship Scholarship Grant for Education Students, 2020
- Fellow; Obama Initiated/USAID Funded, Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center, Accra Ghana
- Fellow; Kuwaza Africa Fellowship
- Fellow; Ashoka Young Changemakers, Anglophone West Africa
- Fellow; Staley School of Leadership, Kansas State University
- Fellow; Young Professionals Bootcamp
- Fellow; CoCreateMyCity Lagos Student Exchange Program by Eramus Center for Entrepreneurship and Orange Corners the Netherlands
- Member; United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth
- Global Youth Ambassador; TheirWorld, UK
- YouthLead; USAID
AO: Any advise to give to a student who has failed academically and about to give up?
EBA: Trust me, there is still time and hope. In my third year I had some of the worst results in my academic journey. I was on a Third Class GPA but I knew things could happen. I was resilient and with the help of God, picking the right electives and study group, I graduated with a Second Class Upper CGPA making me top 15% in the class. It is always darkest before dawn.
AO: After your Bachelor’s Degree, WHAT NEXT?
EBA: I am co-organizing a global community of youth activists in education called “YouthxYouth” where I support young founders, actors and allies in education. So far, it has been good. We now have a presence in 80+ countries and I think the long term future for me is impact investing in education development.