I Prayed For A First Class, Worked Hard For It and I Made It – UNN Best Graduate

When you seriously pray for something, that's when you should put efforts to make it work as it is your efforts the Lord would bless and not just your WISH. Don't say I've prayed and just relax.

Eke Ifeanyichukwu Emmanuel was the best graduating student at the 2016 convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.83.

Though born into a humble family in Bende area of Abia State, Ifeanyichukwu, a microbiology graduate, was determined to succeed despite the odds.

In an interview with Campus Life, the first of five children, relished achieving the most coveted feat.

“I feel excited. I still remember I came into this school in 2012, then in January 2013, the convocation of the previous set took place and I attended the award night. I was really motivated by what I saw. I thought to myself: ‘look at these guys; they are being celebrated’ and you know what I did? I love writing, so as I got home, I wrote down a prayer to God in my diary. I told God to please help me to come out of this school with nothing less than a first class and this is an answered prayer,” he said.

The best graduating student identified good mind set and diligence as keys to his success.

He said: “One thing that helped me was diligence. Diligence is different from hard work. Diligence is skillful hard work. Diligence requires that you know the time and way you understand and do things, that is, you know when to take a break and you know the environment to study as well. Aside the mindset and diligence, confession also matters too. Many times I come out of an examination venue and I hear people say that this course done tidy me for this school’, and all sorts of things but I would just smile because I do not like failing myself before I see the result. So I confess good things to myself.”

Ifeanyichukwu also chose his friends with care, saying they can push one towards success or failure.

He said: “Network is another factor that matters. People you surround yourself with count. For instance, my friend actually helped me. Friends help you in accessing materials, they give you information. The saying ‘show me your friend and I will tell you who you are’ really applies here. Your friends will determine the grade you come out with in the next four to five years.”

He had his share of challenges, including insufficient funds, during his academic pursuit.

He said: “When I got admission, I had financial challenges. I was unable to pay my fees. I remember sometimes I had to soak garri because I had no money. This was how I did it – I soaked garri in water in the morning, put it in my locker and when I come back from lectures, it would have increased in size; then I used fibre active biscuit to help myself while eating the garri. I also remember that I didn’t have shoes and money to photocopy materials when others were doing theirs. So, to get materials, I went to the library.

"I learnt a principle from Ben Carson’s book - Think Big - called in-depth research principle, which involves looking at the perspectives of various authors on one topic. This has helped me as a microbiologist to know what each author has to say, for instance, about bacteria.”

When asked about his social life, Ifeanyichukwu joked: “Someone once rated me as having a carryover in social activities. I don’t think I am a social person, but it does not mean I do not go out. I can give myself a credit in social life because sometimes I go to play departmental football.”

Advising students to embrace hard work, Ifeanyichukwu said: “There is no alternative to be the best. Just try to give your best because the law of nature states that whatsoever you give is what you receive.


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