I didn’t see my success coming

 23rd April 2024


On Saturday, April 13, 2024, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), held its 13th convocation in Abuja. Mrs. Aruoriwo Inegbedion from Fuga Community Study Centre, emerged the overall best graduating student with 4.7 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) and bagged many awards.

In this interview, the mother of three children disclosed the steps she took and other efforts that made her emerged best graduating student.

Did you see this coming?

Not at all. I was only aiming for the top but never knew I would emerge the overall best student in this set. I am grateful to God for that.

What does it mean to you being the best graduating students?

I was thrown off balance when I received the call that I emerged the overall best graduating students. In fact, I am still in euphoria and might not recover from it soon because I didn’t see it coming.

What did you do extra to earn you this great achievement?

I am a book person but that doesn’t mean I read all day or all night. However, what helped me was the fact that I designed a timetable for studying and every other thing. Once a semester begins I look through the courses that I have for that semester and draw a timetable for them. I always leave weekend for family and other activities. But if for any reason, I miss that schedule, I make sure I cover it up subsequently. So, that study pattern/schedule was helpful so much.

What are the things you let-go in order to concentrate and study?

I let-go of my social life. Certain things that I love to do were kept aside particularly whenever examination or other serious academic work was approaching. Things like my movies, social outing, even attention to children and my husband often reduced that period. I had to create different time to attend to the needs of my family. When I registered for my first semester and realised that 50 per cent of the academic work is on the student. That made me to became more serious and committed to my studies. And to the glory of God, the outcome was exciting.

As a mother of three, how did you combine work and family?

It wasn’t easy at all but my husband was very supportive and helpful. Everybody in the family including the children made sacrifices at different times, but my husband made more. He prioritised my education to the point that sometimes, he has to take me to school first before the children particularly during my examination period.

There was also the issue of financial challenges, which often affect the smooth running of the programme, and other activities. I even missed a semester because there was no money. That’s how bad it was that period. But thank God that I have completed the programme as the overall best in my year.

How can you describe the quality of education you received in NOUN?

The quality of education is quite excellent because you have enough resources at your disposal. Being an Open and Distance Learning (ODL), there are opportunities for lecture online and offline. There are study centres that you can also visit to make more research and get additional information or clearance regarding any topic of study.

You can even meet your supervisor(s) at any time to help you out. That barrier of distance is not felt, as many people believe. I can confirm that the quality of education in NOUN is next to none. It’s just for students to open up their minds to the ODL system of education.

What’s your advice for people who are doubtful of ODL education in NOUN?

They shouldn’t be afraid. They should see ODL system being offered by NOUN as an opportunity to acquire quality and affordable education. It’s unfortunate that people make certain negative remarks about NOUN that are not correct. But they obviously speak from position of limited knowledge and information available to them. Sadly, they end up adding their own to the negative stories, thereby, exaggerating the stories.

But being someone that has participated in the programme, I can confirm to you that quality of education in NOUN is next to none. The system affords you the opportunity to study under a peaceful and relaxed environment.

This convocation being the 13th in the series is an indication that things are working well. There’s no need to be afraid. Same courses and programmes being offered in conventional universities are also in NOUN.

What are the lapses you found out during your period in the school?

There’s no perfect system anywhere, not even human beings. However, the system in NOUN is very good. But there are some areas that need certain touches to enhance the services they render.

Our course materials should be produced more in hardcopies so that more people can have access to them. So many people don’t have access to strong Internet in their local communities; hence they prefer the hardcopies of the course materials. Unfortunately, these materials are limited in number.

Another challenge is that some people cannot study on the computer screens because of the health of their eyes or other challenges. I suggest that more hardcopies are produced. The study materials are bulky. Some of them are over 300 pages. It’s not what you can pick and finish in a day or two.

If you don’t fix a schedule, you won’t be able to cover up before the examination. Some people that begin to study two weeks to the examination hardly cover the courses and it affects them greatly.

During the examination, you see questions from all the chapters in the book. It tells you that you need to study harder. As I am studying, I am taking notes. During the examination, I don’t need to visit the books again I can only study my notes for essential contents.

How do you unwind in midst of the tough academic programme?

That’s where my study schedule comes to play. It guides my operation. I love movies and music. I like dancing and other forms of relaxation too.

Apart from academic material, I try to stay in touch with the latest movies. I watch foreign movies a lot. It helps me to relax which is very important to my health. I have adopted that pattern for my children too. It’s not about book all the time.

I always encourage them to study during classes, but after that, I push them to play, which is also good for their physical and mental development. I am not that kind of parent that pushes for academic activities all the time.


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