At the 21st convocation of the Lagos State University (LASU), a total of 36,489 were awarded various degrees; it was momentous for them, but not unusual in the institution’s grand scheme of things. What has caught the attention of the press and the public is the story of its best graduating student for the 2015/2016 session, Remilekun Orefunwa.
Orefunwa, 29, was declared LASU’s best graduating student by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olarewaju Fagbohun, on Wednesday. She finished from the department of Accounting Education with an impressive Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.74, topping a list of 25 first class graduates produced by the institution this year. But the road to her achievement wasn’t by any means an easy one- she only gained admission into university after writing JAMB’s UTME a jaw-dropping seven times.
“I almost gave up after writing the UTME for seven years in a bid to gain admission into university without success,” Orefunwa said. She had applied to a number of institutions including the Obafemi Awolowo University (which she tried to get admitted into three times) but her attempts to secure admission proved unsuccessful. The doors seemed shut to her. But she credits her family with giving her the support she needed to finally get into university.
Orefunwa, who is also a chartered accountant, was encouraged by her elder sister to pursue professional certification while still awaiting admission. She began a program with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and eventually qualified as an Associate Chartered Accountant in 2010.
The breakthrough year for Orefunwa was 2012 when she was admitted to the Lagos State University to study Accounting Education. But according to her, she did not set out with the plan to become the university’s best graduating student.
“When I eventually secured admission to LASU, my aim was not to be the best graduating student,” she explained. “I just wanted to satisfy my dad’s yearning.”
Orefunwa got married in her final year and is now pregnant. But she suggests that her academics weren’t adversely affected by marital concerns.
“I had a CGPA of 4.72 before marriage, and I graduated with 4.74,” she said. “I got married during my final year in 2015 and my husband was very supportive throughout that period.”
Orefunwa’s hard work and perseverance enabled her to finish a race she almost never began. Drawing from her experience, she advises students and others struggling to achieve their personal goals to “never give up in the face of daunting challenges.”
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