Call him a bookworm, you will not be wrong.Michael Osayi Eromhonsele, a 21-year-old graduate of Civil Engineering of Covenant University led 1,465 others to emerge the 2013 best graduating student at the convocation ceremony of the university recently.
How do you feel today, graduating as the best student of Covenant University?
I feel privileged emerging as the best graduating student. I feel honoured and I feel great.
Can you please give us an insight into your background?
I was born and bred in Benin City, Edo State but I actually hail from Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State. I am 21 years old and I am the second child of my parents.
Before coming to Covenant University, I attended Greater Tomorrow Secondary School in Benin City. The first child also graduated from here last year and she is here to felicitate with me. I graduated from secondary school in 2007.
I wrote my Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) and passed once. I bagged five As and four Bs.
What was your motive for choosing Civil Engineering as a course of study?
I have passion and talent for structures. I am so much interested in Structural Engineering and more importantly I want to be a chief consultant in engineering in Nigeria.
Are any of your parents into engineering?
Yes, dad is a Structural Engineer but mum is a business woman.
So you are taking after dad?
So what informed your choice of Covenant University?
I never dreamt of coming here.My focus and attention has always been in University of Benin (UNIBEN) but my dad advised me that I can still come here and have good education, so I hearkened to his advice. I remember he told me that Covenant University remains the best university in Nigeria and when I came here, I saw and I believed.
But did you choose Covenant after UNIBEN had turned you down?
No. I wrote the UTME once and filled in Covenant University and eventually, I secured my admission.
What will you say gave you an edge ahead of your colleagues?
Were there challenges you encountered in the course of studying?
The only challenge I had was that before coming to Covenant University, I didn’t know much about God. But when I came in here, I learnt how to relate more with God and before I know it I began to score five points in all semesters. Another challenge I had was how to relate with people. When I first came in I was a very quiet person with no social lifestyle. But as time passed, I began relating with people. I joined some campus associations and I began to mature and relate very well with people.
What were the study strategies you used in preparing for examinations?
What I did was to study my lecturers and know what they want. When a student studies a lecturer, you have a grasp of what the likely questions for examinations would be.
Asides that, I also studied ahead of lecturers and I also did study during holidays. It was my project in the final semester that made me study late for exams. Normally, I do study for exams four weeks before it commences. First and foremost, I ensure that I attended classes.
Then I also ensure that I study two hours in a day because if you study for more than two hours, the brain is already getting tired. And when there are main points, I try to focus on the main points. I also do take others on tutorials. When I do tutorials that increases my capacity to remember what I have read.
Were you given any nickname during your under graduate days?
Yes. My friends do called me Albert Einstein.
Is Einstein your role model?
I have many role models. Spiritually, it is Bishop David Oyedepo.
As part of the school policy, undergraduates are not allowed to use phones. Did it affect you in anyway?
No, it did not affect me because it was well stated right from the beginning, before I settled down in school. Besides, there are many channels of communication open to a student who wishes to communicate with people. As it is, there are call centres on campus where phone calls can be made.
Considering the nature of your school, were you able to maintain a social lifestyle?
Not really. But I belonged to a number of academic based societies on campus.
Do you have a girlfriend?
I can’t really say.
You have it good here but many of your colleagues in public varsities are not that lucky as they contend with the menace of incessant strike actions by their lecturers.
What do you think should be done to redress the situation?
I think the major issue has to do with corruption in the system, thus what I will advocate for is the need to tackle corruption in the country frontally. Then adequate attention should be paid to the demands of lecturers while more money should be infused into the education sector generally.
As a Civil Engineer, which aspect of housing and urban development will you say is dear to your heart in a country like Nigeria?
That is the issue of collapsed buildings. At the beginning, it was discovered that many clients don’t go to professionalengineers who will give them good designs.
It is also noted that many clients don’t carry out quality tests on the soil before erecting a building. So for me, if there is anything that has to be done in this regard, that has to be following due process.
Tell me about your project, what were the findings; were you able to dig up new knowledge and what were the recommendations too?
The project was titled, “The implement of software for design and analysis of concrete slabs”. What I did was to develop software that could design and analyse slabssuitable for construction.
My findings revealed that if this is adopted in Nigeria, it would reduce the incidence of collapsed buildings. My recommendation was that the use of software for slab design and analysis should be included in the curriculum of Nigerian universities because it will go a long way in enhancing modern day knowledge of construction of structures.’
Which would you say was yourmost memorable day in Covenant University?
My memorable day was the first day I came into the school.I remember that when I came, Iwas confused about what would happen in the future. Then I was no one. A confused small boy. But today, I thank God that I am grown up and I am leaving as the best graduating student of the institution.
What would be your advice to those coming behind?
I would like to tell them that the social world is not the most important thing because the pleasures you are looking for are there but are ephemeral. The most important thing is to face the real study while in school before facing the real world.
Again, the most important thing is to be closer to God to guide you aright and focus on the future because the future is the most important and not the pleasures out there in the social world.
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