My grandmother was my greatest motivation – Mass Comm BGS

Solomon Oladipupo, BGS UNILAG Mass Communication 2019/2020

In this interview with AYOTAMUNO IBIFIRI, Oladipupo Solomon, a two-time editor of UNILAG Sun who is graduating as Best Graduating Student (BGS) of the Department of Mass Communication shares his experiences while serving as editor, his journey through school, alongside some advice for students as regards upskilling. 

 Can we get to know you?

I am Solomon Oladipupo. I was born in Somolu local government and grew up in Bariga. I attended Somolu local government Nursery and Primary School for primary education and St. Luis Junior High School for junior and Ajayi Crowther Memorial Senior Grammar school for senior school and then the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Was it always your dream while growing up to be a journalist?

No, I was open to any career prospect. When I was in Junior secondary school two or three, I started liking writing. So it was my love for writing that brought me into Mass Communication. And at that stage I was making enquiry to a career prospect and since I loved writing I was advised to go for Mass Communication. That was where I majored in journalism because it’s the part that has more to do with writing which is what brought me here in the first place.

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I started writing poetry in secondary school and I could connect it with journalism because it deals with social issues and has an impact in the society so it was easy for me. Although my first attempt at UNILAG was actually Law. I didn't make it through but I was offered Yoruba and I didn't accept. The second time when I was trying again I made enquiry and the talk on writing came up so I was advised to go for Mass communication. I passed on merit and entered. Then the journey began.

Did you always dream of having a first class?

Yes, because a major thing that helped me was before I entered school was one of my pastors who was very keen on academic progress. He was always present when I was preparing for JAMB to encourage me. So the need for academic excellence had always been there from the beginning and one advice that helped me was the one I got that I should not joke with my first year because the first year is mostly like the easiest. So it was actually the year I had my best result. I started with a 5.0 GPA then it started dropping. So it became a survival and struggle not to let it drop. My outstanding performance of first semester, 100 level made it easier to maintain the first class.

What was your strategy in maintaining your first class grade?

I loved the courses I did. But loving the course is not enough. You need to know what needs to be done. This is because two things are responsible for an A grade in a course; the Continuous Assessment (CA) and the exam. So I don't joke with both.

Solomon receiving the 2nd runner award at the maiden edition of the ICIR
What was your toughest moment in UNILAG?

It was in 300 level when I became the Editor-in-Chief of the UNILAG Sun. It was my toughest year in school. It wasn't easy being the Editor because at that point in time I was a freelance writer and I had to stop it because of my editorial duty. It was that same semester I had two C's because before then I have only had 1 C. And it happened due to the heavy work load that comes with being the Editor-in –Chief. It was my toughest moment.

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How did you manage being a two-time Editor and still keep a good CGPA?

Determination. It wasn't easy but I was still giving it my best to make sure the grades were still intact. So determination is key. And one has to be strong to keep a first class grade because it’s about consistency. Consistency and hard-work are important.


Who or what was your greatest motivation?

I would say my grandmother, because she is a strong woman. I grew up with my grandmother so when I see how strong she remained after the death of her husband, how she managed to move on, then I have no reason not to keep going strong. So my motivation was God and my grandmother.

Was there ever a moment where you doubted the possibility of getting a first class?

First class wasn't all over my head. It wasn’t my only focus because I'm not the first to have it and I won't be the last. From my first year to my last I was on a first class so there was never a time of doubt. Just that the reality that it was dropping from a 5.0 turned it to a case of survival to the end that it won't drop ridiculously.

What advice would you give to those who are balancing their school work with lots of activities, yet are still aiming for a first class grade?

They have to be strong, determined, consistent and prayerful. I always believe it is not enough to have a first class. Your skill level must be commensurate with the degree. It’s the more reason why aside from being Editor-in-chief, I was involved in the UNILAG Press Club where I served as Vice President. I was also a freelance reporter for the Campus Life segment of The Nation newspaper. So I was using all these platforms to test my skills in journalism. Beyond showing a first class I can show links to what I have done and the things I've done. In fact, one of my stories won a 3rd place award in the Median edition of the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR). 

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I believe chasing academic merit is important but while chasing that you make sure that on the skill side you are also matching it with your degree so your degree doesn’t become redundant.

Solomon receiving the Editor of the Year award (print) at the Campus journalism awards 2020

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It's either I'm doing journalism full-time or into media entrepreneurship; creating a platform for young people to express themselves. I like academia too. It's one of my options then finally corporate communications. So these are the areas I have interest in and I'm looking forward to exploring them in the next couple of years. I can also go for my post-graduate study.

Solomon also recently won the Editor of the Year award (Print) at the 2020 Campus Journalism Awards in December, 2020.

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