By Janice Johnson Pemida
It is not because she was not intelligent. Neither is it because she was daft. Rather, it was due to circumstances surrounding her. Yet she never gave up. In this Era of ‘Exam Malpractices and the use of Mercenary in passing exams without stress, she still decided to keep working hard and trying despite failing several times. She never gave up until she got just what she wanted. That is the story of Makinde Oluwabusola Oluwatomisin, who kept writing SSCE and failing but never gave up until the 9th attempt, when she finally beat failure with determination and hard work.
She is a source of inspiration to the younger generation and youths of today, who easily give up at the slightest trial, not just in their education but also in other aspects of life. In this interview with Jayinspire Media, she bares it all about her life, challenges, how she scaled through and her life lessons so far.
MAY WE KNOW YOU/YOUR BACKGROUND?
My name is Makinde Oluwabusola Oluwatomisin. I am the second child in the family of four. I am 29years of age. I am a Christian. A native of Oyo State. I am a corp member serving in umuahia, Abia state.
My Primary Education was done in two schools. Araromi nursery and primary school and St. Matthias Anglican Primary school. I also had my secondary education in three schools. Orogun grammar School class of 1998, Princess obitoye scholars international school class of 2002 for my junior secondary Education and Arulogun community high school for my senior secondary education. I proceeded to Emmanuel Alayande College of education formerly known as Oyo state college of Education for my National Certificate in Education (N.C.E) in the year 2010 and I got my B.A ED at the University of Ibadan in the year 2016. I am currently single.
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WHILE GROWING UP?
Growing up was just fun filled. There were some challenges, but they were subdued. I’m so active or playful as it may be. I have loving and God fearing parents. I so much love football and I remember breaking hands and legs over it. I love teasing friends a lot. I practically behaved like a boy while growing and boys were largely my friends.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST CHALLENGING TIMES
My greatest challenge so far was starting secondary school in the year 1998 and I didn’t become a secondary school graduate until 2012. I know you’d ask how come? Yes, I started in 1998. It’s a government school, so continuous strike made my parents change me to a private school. My results then couldn’t match that of the private school. I kept maintaining average position despite knowing fully well that it could have been better. I had to start a class behind and financial issues contributed its own quota. My personality was dealt with severally (spiritually, physically, psychologically and so on).
I ought to have left secondary school officially 2004, but unfortunately I kept writing WAEC, SSCE & NECO. Each year the results will be beautiful without English language. The annoying thing is that I won’t have F9 o, it will be D7 or E8. My dream school was the University of Ibadan and definitely no admission of students without English language. I had gone to extra moral classes within the vicinity of the same school, attending friend’s matriculation ceremonies and convocations.
In 2007 my mum and my Maths home tutor (Uncle Bankole. S ) practically forced me to go to the College of education. She bought the entrance form and even started preparing school items. I was just not serious in the college until my last lap, because I hate the discrimination which exists among higher institutions in Nigeria. I didn’t give up because, amidst the college education, I was secretly writing SSCE and NECO. I became a graduate of NCE in 2010, still without a Senior Secondary School Leaving Certificate that has English language included.
I can’t collect my NCE certificate without my complete O’level result. I can’t apply for direct entry either. So, I relocated to Osun state, Ile -Ife to hide my shame. Surprisingly, I got two teaching appointments as a full time teacher in a private school and as a English home tutor in the other. If you interviewed me as a parent, you won’t even ask for my qualifications because I knew how to teach and talk well. I would lie about my educational status at times to friends, colleagues and everyone in other to cover up shame. I remember in 2011, one of my mama’s hired a tutor for me even as a tutor myself and my tutor would work till late in the evening and she’d say “you are good and you did well in your home work, I don’t know why WAEC is failing you “.
In 2012, I had said I would ‘runs’ the exam that year and I got the money for that already. Something just told me to try for the very last time. After the exam, I summoned courage to get a direct entry form without knowing the fate of the exam I wrote. By that time, we had two University graduates in my family already, my big & immediate younger sibling; the baby of the house was even in level 200. The fact was, everything around me was smelling book, even my relations and mum kept saying I must be a university graduate, that’s the least anyone can have in this house!(mum’s words).
By the time my results came, I’m glad I listened and wrote the exam myself with no one’s help. That was my last and 9th SSCE/WAEC/NECO/GCE with a B2 in English language. Those years were indeed terrible. However, the reality that I never want to be a failure motivated me and the people around me also served as sources of inspiration at one time or the other.
I relocated back to Ibadan, started working with a Real Estate firm with monthly income above 100,000 Naira, while I was awaiting UI admissions list. On December 9th 2013, I got an sms that my breakthrough had come. My Mum shouldered it even though I was working.” Wurami lojokojo”, God will keep blessing you and grant you long life in good health. Amen.
Today I’m on the staircase of 30, I’ve forgotten the pains of failing, a graduate of The University Of Ibadan, a distinguished Corps member representing Abia state up and down, A SAED facilitator. It can only be God. I had my convocation on the 14th of November 2017. Bless God with me. He is abundantly ABLE.
WHAT IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND YOUR SUCCESS?
The driving force behind my success is simple. I didn’t quit in the face of challenges. I had a strong believe that I’d be great. Yes I may retreat for a while, but I don’t give up until I attain my goal/s.
Also, in life sometimes you just need positive people around you. I had and still have them in large numbers. So good friends and family, my courage and doggedness helped a lot. That has been my observation. I also hate giving up.
WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM LIFE SO FAR?
Know exactly what it is you want in life. Life itself doesn’t offer free gifts. You need to be determined to get what you want from it and whenever you want to give up, remember your life can’t end until you end it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?
Never give up, because everyone must surely give up one day. Why not wait for the natural cause. Don’t end your own life while still living.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
The urge to make it in all spheres of life. To be the best I keep telling myself. I must achieve only the best.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
I want to own a Crèche so seriously. I want to help in building children’s self confidence right from the age of 1-5.
ANY ROLE MODELS?
First is my Mum, she’s a mother. My friend who is almost through with his Phd, he motivated me so much. Then, my immediate younger sister, I love her passion for education.
MENTION FEW ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE YOU
I’m disciplined, courageous, not easily influenced, love to teach and I don’t welcome “nonsense”.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS?
My strength is, I don’t get tired. Even when my body is tired, my brain is working. I often forgive so easily that some people would love to take advantage of.
A WORD OF ADVICE TO PEOPLE OUT THERE FACING SAME CHALLENGES
Not trying at all is failure itself. Your next attempt is all you need to become super great. Don’t be afraid to fail, you are not the first and neither will you be the last. Build bricks, don’t pull yourself down.
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