How I got many scholarship offers in USA for PhD with my HND – Islamiyat Ojelade, Ilaro Poly graduate
Islamiyat Ojelade, an HND graduate from the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, Nigeria who is now a scholarship PhD Student at the Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, shares her success story with Musa Adekunle.
What more can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Adenike Islamiyat Ojelade. I was born in Agege, Lagos State on March 19, 1995. My parents are Mr. and Mrs. Ojelade and I am a native of Ibese, Yewa North, Ogun State. I started my primary education at Victory Land private school, Agege after then I proceeded to Yewa secondary school, Igbogila for my secondary school education and after my secondary education I waited for about three years because I wanted to study medicine but I was unable to go for medicine, so, I decided to hunt for polytechnic which led to my National diploma in Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, after the completion of my National Diploma, I proceeded for my one year industrial training them after the completion I continued from Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun State for my Higher National Diploma in Science and Laboratory Technology and I majored in chemistry. Had it been I knew, I would have changed course because I could still do Chemistry, Pharmacy, or other low scores courses with my post-UTME scores, but I wanted to study Medicine. I am glad I didn’t study medicine.
How does graduating with a distinction in 2018 make you feel?
Graduating as a distinction student in 2018 made me feel very very happy and excited because it’s just like the result of hard work, consistency, and determination.
Well, I did not plan to graduate as the best graduating student but there was one thing I was so sure of when I got to Ilaro, I wasn’t going to graduate with anything less than distinction but I didn’t know I was going to be the number one, having the highest CGPA grade. So it made me feel so elated and great. I was so happy having the distinction because it’s a reflection of the overall hard work I put into my studies when I was in school, Yes it was a reflection of the hard work and prayers.
At what point did you hit distinction?
Okay, I have always been a distinction student right from my ND days, so distinction has been part of me right from time, I have never dropped down to Upper credit or lower credit. From the start, I had distinction till I graduated.
How did your parents react when you informed them about your success story?
When my mum heard about this she was super excited, she was so excited. As for my dad, he is late, and may Allah sanctify his grave. I’m very sure that he would have been the happiest person on earth, perhaps even happier than I am because it has always been his dream to see me further my education abroad. He has always been so supportive, he was my best friend, he was everything I could ever imagine, and he stood by me throughout. I’m not too happy that he didn’t wait to witness this success. I wish he could. Well, I’m sure he will probably be seeing everything and be happy that his dream finally come to a realization. But I’m sure he will be happy wherever he is that I made him proud, of course, he will be happy and my mum was so happy too, she was so happy. It’s a dream come true for all of us.
What role did your foundation in primary, secondary, and tertiary education play in your success story?
So, yes my foundation made a huge run in this success story because I have always been reading right from my primary education to my secondary and tertiary, I have always been reading, and being the first in my class has always propelled me to do more and it has also been a reflection of hard work, prayers, consistency, determination. With that, I have always had this in mind that whatever I want to do if I put my mind to it and with prayers, I will definitely get it done and if it is not something that will be beneficial to me, God has his own ways of taking me or driving me towards the best or the better path for me. It has really played a huge role when it comes to my determination to push my dreams, and my drive to keep pushing regardless of the challenges that come my way. So I can say this success story is basically built on the foundation I had since the inception of my academic or educational pursuit.
What study method worked for you? Or did you spend hours at the library and study at night in a classroom?
As for study method, well I’m not a library person I must say, I only go to the library when I have extremely difficult courses and I actually want to get information from a particular textbook I don’t have access to outside the library, so I’m not that kind of person that goes to the library because I try to explore outside the four walls of the classroom, I only go to the library once in a while.
The best time that works for me is reading at night, I can read from 8 pm till 5 am, it works for me, I’m always comfortable reading like that, and I don’t force myself to read when I see that I’m not getting something, I go to bed, I don’t stress myself like most students do that and I tell people, you don’t need to force yourself to read. Your assimilation rate will be faster when you have a calm mind and your body is ready to absorb whatever you are bringing into your brain. Another thing is I don’t go to sleep after observing Ishai and waking up at midnight because it doesn’t work for me. Immediately I leave my reading table to sleep, please don’t wake me up, my friends know me, and they will tell you don’t wake Islamiyat up. If I want to read from night to the next morning or from night to 1 am or 2 am, it depends because I understand and the best time I could assimilate and I work with that, I don’t stress myself. So it makes life easy for me, those are the best time that works for me. That’s the method I use. When I want to read very well I’m either on the reading table or I lie on my back and read for hours and immediately I wake up again I’m rejuvenated.
How did you hear about the scholarship and what made you apply?
About the scholarship, you know we have information flying everywhere on the internet, so I got a lot of information on the internet and from friends also. I have a lot of friends studying abroad, got a scholarship especially US universities so I enquire from them, I follow a lot of people on the academic trigger, LinkedIn, Instagram, telegram, and the likes. So the information is there for everyone to access and fortunately for me I was able to access it. At some point, I just felt I needed a mentor who would put me through and guide me because then I lost my dad and my friends abroad were so busy at school and I don’t want to pressure them too much or add to their burden, so I just felt I needed a mentor and fortunately for me, I was able to get Dr. Babajide Ojo of Bestman Academy, he is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University. He basically supported me, grade my SOP, and also had sub-sessions with me. Not only me though, he has about 12 mentees. I get the information from the internet and read people’s success stories and I was motivated and inspired and decided to also get a mentor who would hold my hand throughout the journey.
My first admission came on December 23rd, I was planning to travel home to celebrate Christmas and new year with family and I was sick and stressed then, so this journey was not easy I use to say it’s not for the fainthearted so if you are fainthearted, you’re not strong-willed it will be a little difficult to achieve this. So on the 27th, I received my first offer of admission from the University of Kansas knew it was going to be groundbreaking and I was so happy. Something in me told me that Islamiyat, this is what you want and you are getting it, your hard work has finally paid off, so I was so happy. Through January, February, and March, I started getting more offers. I had rejections and I knew why I had rejections from some schools but I did not get any rejections at first, in fact, my acceptance letters came from schools before I started getting rejections from other schools that couldn’t admit me because of certain reasons but I was so happy. Deep down I knew it was going to be a motivation and inspiration for a lot of people out there because I knew it was going to be a groundbreaking one
If there was anything that discouraged you or almost made you give up on your academic goal, what would that be?
As for me, when it comes to my academic goals, nothing has ever discouraged me even if you try discouraging I would rather block, blocking you in the sense that I won’t talk to you about my academic goals again because I know that I am destined for something. Any negative vibes around me, I called them off, I don’t feel myself thoughts, I don’t people to feed me with negative talks, I don’t allow people to project their fears unto me especially when it comes to my academic goals. Though I have always been discouraged, I told some people about my applying for Ph.D. with my HND and some people told me you are not going to get it and what do you have to use to apply, trust me I didn’t apply for a master’s, I said I would do it, so no matter what you say I got clarity about it from God so I don’t allow negative vibes and thoughts around me, in fact when any negative thought come to my mind I rebuke it instantly, this is not for me, because I’m going to get. And if it does not work out then I accept that God doesn’t want it to come to reality but before I even get there God would have shown me another way and I would embrace that way with my full chest, so negative thoughts and discouraging words have never affected me because I keep pushing and keep doing things my way because I know that I was made for this path.
Between hard work and flair, which will you say pays?
Between hard work and flair, well I believe being able to do something well is great and you know having this flair for it. But as much as it’s needed to be successful, you need to be hardworking even if you are passionate about something or something flairs you up, if you don’t put in the hard work, you’re not going to get it. So it’s the hard work that will make everything you are passionate about or you have flair for to be successful. I believe hard work pays, there is more to being passionate about something, if you don’t put in the work, you are not going to get results.