Twenty-four-year-old Karen Enumah and 56 other students of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, made First Class. But she and one other student stood out as both emerged best overall graduating students with 4.88 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).
The Delta State-born whizkid in an interview told our Correspondent how she made First Class, turned down two admission offers, wrote UTME three times, thought of abandoning her studies during ASUU prolonged strike, why Nigerian students do well abroad and other issues.
My name is Karen Nneka Enumah, I hail from Delta State, Ukwuani Local Government Area. I was born on March 11th, 1995 to Mr. Enumah Ifeanyichukwu Felix and Mrs. Enumah Ogochukwu Winifred. They are both into a business. I attended Lagos State Junior Model College and Lagos State Senior Model College for my junior and senior secondary respectively. I am a Jehovah’s Witness by religion and my beliefs play a major role in my choice of lifestyle.
Admission into LASU
I gained admission to study Mathematics in LASU, after turning down offers to study at Ekiti State University and Yaba College of Technology, the previous year owing to lack of financing. I scored 234 in the 2014 UTME and subsequently scored 65 in LASU post-UTME, which happened to be the highest in the Mathematics department. For my WAEC result, I had B3 in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, and Economics.
Wrote utme three times
Yes, I encountered this frustration. I wrote JAMB three times. I passed the third times I wrote UTME. At my first trial, I wasn’t admitted. I felt really bad about this since my performance was laudable. At the second trial, I gained admission but couldn’t proceed due to financial issues. I felt really downhearted, as I came face to face with these challenges. At the third trial, I got admitted to LASU, and the journey continued. So there has been a disappointment along the way, but with Jehovah’s help, we are able to go past these.
What influenced the choice of LASU
I live in Ojo, hence schooling in LASU meant I would not have to go far away from home, which would ease the cost of getting a hostel and additional miscellaneous expenses. Secondly, I got the course of my choice hence it was invariably impossible not to attend. I loved fashion design and Mathematics, thus at the same year I was admitted to study Fashion Design at Yaba College of Technology, but needless to say, I chose to study Mathematics. But I still possess much interest in the art of fashion designing.
Incessant strikes in the university system
During these moments of strikes, I was seldom ideal. I took up Mathematics tutoring jobs and assisted my mum in her place of business. Strikes were busy times for me. Until we get to a point where strikes would become a thing of the past, we have to see it as an opportunity to grow, and an opportunity to get immersed in the other side of improving oneself.
Parents didn’t object to choice of LASU
No objections, considering the financial situation we were in, schooling close to home was the ideal option for me if I was to get an education at all.
Numerous crises and thought of abandoning course
Yes, there was this time in 100 level we spent seven months in one semester. It was really frustrating, and since we were all still freshers, I wondered if coming to LASU was actually a good choice. There were times I would be awake by 1.00am trying to solve a said Mathematical problem under the lights of my candle, at such times I could get really frustrated, I would ask myself “Karen, why are you even doing this?”.
Tips on how to make first class
Don’t go along with the crowd, set clearly defined goals and don’t be afraid to engage in a healthy competition for the top position. Don’t be too concerned about recognition, rather be absorbed in self-improvement. Spend some time with yourself, don’t let the noises from the external world distract or drown you. Prepare for the worst. Take breaks in between study periods. Stay healthy, a healthy mind is an active mind. Get some sleep. Make time for friends, but know when to withdraw.
Are you a triangular student?
Bookworm, I rather stay home and read than go for a wedding on a typical Saturday. I love books generally, I inherited this from my grandfather (Late) Sir James Nze Eke. He was one of the most intelligent people in his time.
No, it is not a practice for lecturers to sell handouts in LASU.
Female students pursuing science and engineering courses
Everyone is involved. Educators and teachers need to discourage the stereotyping of students as regards the intellectual abilities with reference to their gender. The government needs to provide a good learning environment that encourages growth for male and female alike. In as much as girls have to be encouraged, parents need to be encouraged to educate their girl child. Most females have an interest in the STEM fields, but they don’t make it thus far as their male counterparts. Putting more women on leadership roles can serve as a propellant to parents who aren’t ready to educate the girl child. The government also need to reward girls who are already in the STEM fields. Female graduates of STEM-related fields should be granted scholarship opportunities to aid their progress.
Feeding formula on campus
Since I attend lectures from home, I don’t stick to any particular feeding formula I consume whatever is being served.
Your take on lecturing job
I am all about self-improvement and adding value to the society, thus any opportunity to do these is acceptable. Be it a lecturing job or any other capacity to serve.
Nigerian students doing well abroad
An optimum condition produces optimum performance. Nigerians are very intelligent people. With better learning conditions, adequate funding for students, proper infrastructure, and impressive social welfare packages for students, it comes as no surprise that Nigerians always perform better abroad. Personally, I will also like to obtain a masters in Mathematics abroad if I can have access to a scholarship opportunity.
How did you handle male colleagues?
When am around mates I am either deeply immersed in one form of reading or academic activity, it is well known that I am someone that hardly has time to do anything many asides reading. This situation ends up answering the questions for me.
First-person, you informed of your first class
My Mum and sister, they are the closest people to me.