Kanmodi Rahman Ilesanmi is a 26 year old Masters degree graduate with a CGPA of 5.0 from Lagos State University (LASU) for the 2017/2018 academic session. In this interview with Yossy Info, the Ilesha, Osun State born who was also a first class graduate with CGPA 4.58 for his first degree, at the same institution, shares his story.
I almost gave up on first class, says 5.0 LASU MSc graduate
What was growing up like?
It was really fun growing up since I was the last born. My parents and elder siblings really pampered me. My mother was more thorough in discipline than my dad. Although things unavoidably changed when my dad kicked the bucket when I was 10. It only took Allah’s grace to keep the family running. My eldest sibling; now Mrs Osomo Adebisi Kudirat as well as my brothers; Mr Bayo Kanmodi and Mr Hakeem Kanmodi were really supportive. My mum worked tirelessly for us to make ends meet.
Briefly tell us about your educational and family background
I attended Aunty Adunni Memorial School, Ilupeju before moving on to Gilead Private School, Ikorodu to complete my primary education. I had my secondary education also in Ikorodu at Livingstone College.
My first and second degree were obtained at Lagos State University; both in Biochemistry
How easy was it gaining admission into LASU, was it your first choice of university?
Well, just like many others, my childhood dream was to study medicine but I had to settle for Biochemistry in LASU since I couldn’t get the desired mark to study medicine in University of Ilorin in which I chose as first choice in my JAMB. Interestingly, I chose Biochemistry and not medicine in LASU; God has a way of doing things. The medical students in my set knew I could have coped well studying medicine but I vehemently believe God made a choice for me.
Why did you choose to study Biochemistry?
Biochemistry for me at a time was a backup option. In fact, I opt to take another JAMB form to fulfill my dream of studying medicine in my second year in LASU but all efforts proved abortive. I made up my mind and targeted graduating with a First class and planned to explore the direct entry option to study medicine. Eventually, I became keen on going for my masters as my First class triggered irrevocable desire to climb the academic ladder of Biochemistry.
What were the challenges you encountered in making this feat of having a first class?
I have to confess at this point that God fueled my commitment and determination; I almost gave up the first class ambition. At the end of my first year in school during my first degree, I had a CGPA of 4.47 and felt I would easily cruise to a first class grade. It took 4 semesters of ceaseless hardwork to bridge the 0.53 gap to obtain the minimum first class grade.
How did you overcome them?
I had learnt to be grateful and optimistic at all times. So each time a credit point in a 2 or 3-unit course undermines about 6 or 7 A’s, I look up to God to fortify me to rebuild and reinforce. Though I read tirelessly but in the end it was God’s favor that prevailed as the semester I read least was the semester I had my best grade.
Any worst experience throughout your stay in LASU? High or low
I could remember two challenging moments. First was a time in which I misplaced my examination docket and was delayed duly for almost 30 minutes and it took God’s intervention for me to be admitted into the hall. I was almost left distraught but managed to calm my nerve. Astonishingly, I was part of the only 3 students that scored A in that course. Secondly, I was sick and vomiting just few hours to a very tough exam. I could hardly assimilate but the few pages God directed me to read were the areas the exam questions centered on.
My most challenging experience was at the start of my Master’s programme. I had very little and needed to work to raise some money. I hadn’t understood vividly the structure of the programme and was also missing or joining lectures quite late. Moreover, epileptic power supply in the area I resided made me spend my nights in the postgraduate laboratory in school to avoid having too many backlogs. These for me was incredibly difficult as I had to dwell outside of my comfort zone and make several modalities.
What would be your advice to students was also desire such academic excellence?
My advice to aspiring students is very straightforward. Trust in God for anything. Give up your worst behaviors to seek his favor and the other negative aspect of your life with transform the other way round. Remain meticulous, committed and assiduous. Your dream should be big enough to pinch your nerve and make you brainstorm with remarkable ceaselessness.
What are your future goals?
At the moment, I am Keen on furthering my career in academics. A PhD in the nearest future will be perfect. Being a philanthropist is also what I unceasingly crave for.
Did you engage in extracurricular activities?
Those who had the opportunity to play football with me know that I am a brilliant defensive midfielder. I represented my class in the HOD’s cup and could remember scoring a spectacular goal that knocked out the 400 level team just when I was in 200 level. Also my interest in teaching and assisting others with academic challenges hardly runs out of steam. I coordinated several tutorials and was the Director of Studies, Muslim Association of Science Student, LASU. Also, I emerged winner alongside Arowosegbe Michael and Lawal Sodiq at National Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inter- University competition held at the University of Ilorin in 2014.
How were you able to combine both academics and socials?
The structure of the Department of Biochemistry, LASU is such that a student has very little time to relax if he/she really wants to do well. I jettisoned playing for the Departmental football team despite receiving calls to come for matches even without participating in training sessions. However, it was impossible for me to replicate such attitude towards watching football as I watched matches at times on the eve of an exam. Overall, I had a good blend of social and academic activities
How come you attained 5.0 CGPA?
5.0 in MSc, if you had asked me three years ago, I would easily reply by saying, ‘mission unthinkable’. To be sincere it’s Allah’s mercy. I was focused on replicating my first class feat at BSc or at least graduate with a PhD grade (4/5 CGPA). I had a highly sensational student in the same class, in person of Mr Jimoh Igbalaye who was indeed inspirational. He was always fearless and positive in his approach to eliminating impediments. This achievement will undoubtedly remain a motivation for me. Nothing is impossible with Allah. Finally, sow a seed in people with whatever Allah has given you in terms of knowledge, wealth, influence etc.; Allah will definitely plant a tree in your life.