Miss Deborah Oyeladun Oyelade was the best graduating student in the Department of Home Economics of Adeyemi College of Education (ACE) Ondo in the year 2014/2015 at the recent convocation of the institution. In this interview with MARIA FAMAKINWA, the 23-year-old who graduated with a Cumulative Grade Point of 4.69 out of a possible 5.00 spoke about how she graduated with a First Class degree and her challenges.
Tell us about your background
I hailed from Ogbomoso in Oyo State. I am the first child of the family of five. My parents are farmers and live in Ondo city where l had my primary education. Later, I went to Ogbomoso for my secondary education at Beulah Baptist College where I sat for my West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and made my results.
Why did you settle for National Certificate of Education (NCE) with your good WAEC result and not university?
Initially, my aim was to study nursing after my WAEC but I became discouraged after writing Post UTME at OAU and LAUTECH three times and I did not make the cut off mark. This made me to waste three years at home before I decided to give NCE a trial.
Is Home Economics your choice course?
No, my choice course was nursing but I was given Home Economics because my results also fit into it. I didn’t want to accept it until someone advised me to go for it that the course will make me self reliant and I am grateful to God for yielding to that advise which has better my life. Today, I can sew beautifully well including wedding gowns of different styles. I am also into catering work and interior decoration which I have been using the proceeds made from it to support my education.
At what point did you learn sewing, decorations and catering?
One of the benefits of studying Home Economics is that one will be taught different life enhancing skills. We were taught mostly the theoretical aspect during my NCE programme and as soon as I went for my Industrial Attachment (IT), I quickly registered as an apprentice to learn tailoring for more practical understanding. This gave me an edge over my colleagues because it did not take me much time to pick up haven’t been taught thoroughly the theoretical aspect in the classroom during my NCE course.
I also registered for interior decoration and catering work during my IT. I was leaning sewing, interior decoration and catering together at the same time. What made it easier for me then was that I had knowledge about interior decoration and catering work before but that was not to say that it was easy combining the three different fields including my IT. It takes determination and God to scale through.
Students rarely graduate with distinction in Home Economics, how did you do it?
It is not easy but with God’s help and determination, it is possible. I was focused and determined. Though, I am not the type that spend hours reading because I sew, bake and do decoration for people. But one thing about me is that once I take my book to read, I understand immediately. It sink easily into my brain. So I don’t spend much time reading.
Do you have a shop for your business?
No, I don’t have any shop. I use my house for the business. I do tell people about my business and after seeing what I can offer, they continue to patronise me. My good works really advertise me.
Did you think you would ever be the best graduating student when you started your programme?
I never thought I would lead my department when I started but after my first and second semesters’ examinations in year one, I realised that I led the department, since then, I was encouraged to put in my best. I never allowed any distraction and I did not attend any party or any social gathering throughout my course of study which has become a success story today.
What are some of the challenges you faced during your programme?
One of the challenges I faced was when we went on four months strike in my first year and another strike in my third year which added to the normal three years I ought to have spent. Another challenge was financial because offering Home Economics as a course requires buying a lot of things. That is why I will forever be grateful to my late father who sponsored me during my NCE programme and my loving mother for her support. Despite the fact that they are farmers, they continued to struggle to give good education to their children before the death of my father. I pray that God will sustain my mother to eat the good fruit of her labour.
What have you been doing after you finished your NCE since 2015?
I have started my degree programme in the same College doing the same course and I am about rounding up.
After your education, will you take up government job or continue with your business?
I will do both. I will like to have a shop to run my business which I can return to after living the office.
Your advice to other students
They should be focused, determined and trust in God for their academic success because no one can achieve anything without God’s help.