With a CGPA of 4.96 out of 5.00, Oluwafemi Sarumi emerged as the 2019/2020 Overall Best Graduating Student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
He had also in 2016, emerged as the Overall Best Graduating Student of Lagos State College of Health Technology, Yaba. Sarumi tells DAMILOLA ROLEOLA about his educational journey, among others.
This is not your first academic qualification. Can you list others?
I had my national diploma and higher diploma in Environmental Health Technology and B.Sc. in Environmental Management and Toxicology.
Why do you study courses that relate to the environment?
The interest is not inborn. I tried to get into medicine when I graduated from secondary school through A-level but it wasn’t coming through so I had to come in through the field of environmental technology. That of medicine didn’t happen, not because I didn’t have the ability but Nigerian institutions and other factors. So over time in Lagos State College of Health Technology, I discovered that the environment is the actual wealth and what you give to the environment is what it gives back. And unlike a medical doctor that attends to one person per time, an environmental scientist attends to over 8,000 people at a time according to WHO statistics because whatever happens to the environment affects all. So if the environment is not being catered for and disease like cholera breaks out, just imagine 8,000 patients queuing at a medical center in a community.
Take us through your admission process
I wrote UTME twice. The first one was immediately after secondary school, and then the second one was after my A-level. I had applied for a medicine course at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and I was qualified as I had every requirement, but for one reason or the other not known, I wasn’t given admission; I didn’t even get any course despite being qualified for medicine. Later on, I applied for the Lagos State School of Health entrance examination. When the result came out, my name was the first on the list and my mother felt I should accept the admission which I did.
What was it like going through the Déjà vu of acquiring another first degree?
Sincerely, it was a tough decision but thank God for the love of education and a better future for myself. I knew that if I didn’t further my education now, I’ll still have to do it in the future because I want to practice this profession and I wouldn’t want to be underrated because of my HND. In fact, out of all my sets that graduated after HND, I was the only one who took the bold step of applying for a B.Sc. Another thing that made it difficult was the benchmark of FUNAAB. If you don’t have a first-class, you can’t come in with direct entry and at that time, Lagos State College of Health Technology reviewed their grading system, in which 60 was the pass mark and 90 was A. So less than 60 was a carryover and this made it difficult for students to come up with the first class, I was the only one who came out with a distinction. Even with my distinction, applying for B.Sc. wasn’t easy because age was not on my side and the day after my convocation where I was awarded as the best graduating student in Lagos State College of Health Technology, I was in Abeokuta for Matriculation in FUNAAB, but I just had to keep on moving.
How would you describe your experience while in school?
I had a social life back in school. I didn’t do parties but I engaged in other social and extracurricular activities like a cohort of intellectual guys called the ‘bread and beans association’, we made the class fun and also shared knowledge. I also represented my college in football and I also engaged in church activities. I was the musical director in my final year and I organized concerts and programs. Although, people don’t believe that there is a connection between my result and me. Even my lecturers didn’t know that I had such a result because they see me in class but don’t know how intelligent I am. I’m also not the bookworm type as I don’t sleep in libraries or read overnight; I do those things in my comfort zone.
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