The Jinx-Breaker: Story of Lady who broke Education History 50-year Jinx
Abiola Ogunleye, Nancy Ogbu-Nnachi, Hassan Oluwatobi
Meeting Busola on any other day, you would think that the young fair, petite lady is any regular student of the University of Lagos’ Education Faculty, but little would you know that this lady is not any regular student. She is the Jinx breaker of the Department of Education History, University of Lagos. Fifty convocation ceremonies have come and gone but in those fifty years, not one student has graduated with a first class degree from the department. So the question has always been why has the department not been able to produce one?
For years, no student ever dared to dream of such a feat that was considered as impossible. However, Education history students can now begin to dream of bagging the prestigious first class degree as Taiwo Omolara Busola, a recent graduate of the department has finally broken the jinx by graduating with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.59.
Busola’s story has not always been bread and beans. Even though she left secondary school at the young age of 16, her parents did not see a need to further her education immediately, instead, they preferred that she learnt a trade. Busola however, determined to overlook whatever challenges finance and distance posed in her way, took up jobs to sponsor her jamb fees.
“Mom was the one in charge of the whole thing and when she said she did not promise me school, it's either I learn something or whatever. I was like "No I want to go to school", then she said " Mi o promise e ni ile iwe, to ba fe lo school, orun ara e lo wa”. (I didn’t promise you school. if you want to go, it’s all by yourself). Well, because I knew what I wanted, and I said no problem. So since age 16, I started working. I think when I was 17, I wrote jamb, I got admission to OSU then to study Mass Communication”.
After a few attempts at different courses in two different universities, Busola took her GCE and JAMB exams again. This time, she got admitted into the department of Education History, the University of Lagos against pleas from folks not to “waste” her high jamb score on an education course and enter for law instead.
When the Education history graduate was asked why she chose the course, she replied that she had developed a passion for teaching while gathering funds for her tuition. “On checking the results, I had seven Credits. So I applied to study Education History. Then I was teaching in a school and my colleagues went on about how I should have applied for law or something else except education and not waste my high jamb score. But I was already resolved and determined to become a teacher. Then I got admitted on merit.”
On getting to school, however, Busola met Unilag as it had been described to her. Tough. She revealed that she wasn’t aware of the fifty-year jinx and was just focused on graduating with a good grade, not necessarily a first class. Kicking off with a semester grade point average of 4.0 drew her towards her course adviser who would become her mentor for her next four years on campus.
“I resumed lectures January 2016 while my other course mates had resumed since November 2015. So, I was just doing my normal thing, go to class and write tests... Then year 1 second semester, I had 4.61 with a cumulative of 4.31. So Dr. Latunde called me and that was when he told me that there had never been a first class in this course and I was like “Ok so how is that my business?” He then asked if I knew that I could make a first class. I said “Ehn, You want me to do what? I don’t think I can because of this whole story and then here in education, it’s not even easy.” She narrated.
Perhaps one interesting thing about the jinx breakers story is that unlike many first class students, her journey wasn’t smooth as she shared certain moments when she failed certain courses.
“History is a very subjective course, you can’t be so sure you know a thing 100 percent because by the time you write everything and see your result, you’ll be surprised. There was a time I had a D, like 49 and I was like, let’s even assume I had a D, you should have helped my life now and round it off. It was even a 3-unit course. There was a time I had an E as well, though then I was so devastated and said “No, this can’t be my result.”
However, with encouragement from people like Dr. Latunde, her course adviser and Dr. Adebayo, Busola was able to move ahead every time and gradually build her CGPA from the scratch. She also mentioned that tweets from Demola Olanrewaju and Abdul Mammud, both twitter celebrities centred around politics and Nigeria’s History proved useful in knowing certain facts not taught in class. Talk about using the Internet as an edge.
“I’ve been following their trends online and they’ve always been informative. That’s why I said Kudos to them because there are some things that I’d write in exams but they were not taught in the class. They were things I read from them and then at the end of the day, I’ll get superior marks so I felt “oh it must have been my own little spices that I got from these guys that got me these marks”.
School and social life
Not one given to partying and fun, Busola is best described as an indoor person who prefers small parties and gatherings with friends. “I hardly attended parties throughout my four years here. I can actually count how many parties I’ve been to.” She however explains that she was rather social in her final year and attended a few clubs outside school due to the influence of her boyfriend whom she describes as an understanding person.
“But I would say that in my final year, I attended some clubs outside school. I’ll like to appreciate my boyfriend as well because he happens to be a very understanding guy. Can you imagine taking your babe to club and she is reading in the club? That still did not stop him from taking me along.” She explained while noting that her boyfriend helped to balance her academics with her social life especially in her final year where she had her best result ever.
“The final year result happened to be the best of my other results. So I think that in my final year, him coming in at that period and maintaining balance was tough because I was just too engrossed with reading. But somehow he was able to balance the social life and the academic life and that actually gave me the best result ever.” she observed.
For Busola, extracurricular activities also helped to bring out the best in her. She explained that though an outspoken person, she never involved in debates. Getting involved in debating exposed her to new reservoirs of knowledge. “While I was still in year 1, I represented the faculty at the university debate and we made it to finals. I would say the British parliamentary debating also helped me a lot because it’s a kind of debate that you don’t even know the motion they’re going to bring to you. So as a result of that, you know you have to read like there’s just no any other way than you reading. So I think that also was very instrumental to whatever it is I’ve achieved today.”
Fears and Motivations
Due to Busola’s father’s nonchalance, her mother single-handedly struggled with raising five children with no involvement from him. Understanding her mother’s plight made Busola determined to have a success-driven mindset. “In all honesty, my driving force was my mum. I happened to have a father that was just not there. And you see this woman struggling with five kids, she would tell us that if she had the means, she would sponsor us to advance our studies. I understand her plight very well so she's just my motivation. I am always of this mindset that even if not for anything because of this woman.” She narrated.
Even though she said that she was not afraid of failure through her 4year stay, minor hitches in the course of her journey to a first class CGPA brought fear to Busola. She shares an experience of how she felt when she had low grades in examinations.
“If there was any fear I had in the course of these 4 years, I don't think it's the fear of failure because I knew worst case scenario, I’ll come out with a 2’1 (second class upper). And then history happened to be my best subject in secondary school. I had A1 in both GCE and WAEC so I knew I wasn't going to fail but then the fear of the unknown and for instance, when I had D and I had an E, I was like ‘God, this thing won’t be funny.’ You can just imagine having an E like that all through in like 4 places. It would just tear the GPA you’re trying to build.”
Apart from the regular student challenges of finance and accommodation, Busola doesn’t have any regrets regarding her years in Unilag. “I don’t have any regrets studying education history as it was what I really wanted to do so I never had this second thought of trying out another course because it was what I really wanted to do from the start. so I had no regrets about ever studying this course.”
For Busola, the future tends towards academics and lecturing. She plans to put her education degree to full use after school. “Actually I am an academician. I want to be in school so every other opportunity that comes my way I would like to take them up. I was telling one of my friends that I would be the greatest failure in life if I don’t eventually end up as a professor. I cannot even imagine not ending up as a professor. So I would most likely still be within the four walls of this school.