*Narrates how she became best graduating student in Canadian varsity
A 21-year-old Nigerian foreign student, Hameedat Busari, recently emerged as the best graduating student in her class with a total of 91 points out of the 100 percent Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).
She graduated with Dean’s Honours (equivalent to First Class in Nigeria) at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
The Oyo-born graduate also clinched the 2021/2022 Academic Achievement Award for Honours in Economics, which recognises the student with the highest outstanding achievement. She spoke to AROGBONLO ISRAEL in an exclusive interview with Quest Times.
Screenshot of her unofficial transcript as obtained by Quest Times below;
- QT: Who is Hameedat Busari?
Hameedat: I was born in Oyo, Southern Nigeria in 2001. I’m the second child of Mr Kazeem Busari and Mrs Ismat Busari. I moved to Canada in 2016 after completing my secondary education at Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja, Lagos. I recently graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Economics – Finance specialisation (Deans Honours, equivalent to First Class in Nigeria). I was also the recipient of the 2021/2022 Academic Achievement Award for Honours in Economics, which recognises the student with the highest outstanding achievement. I am also starting my career as a Corporate Banker in one of the top banks in the world.
- QT: How has your educational journey been?
Hameedat: My educational journey has been very adventurous – the education system in Canada is very different from that of Nigeria. Growing up in Nigeria, I mostly memorised concepts and restated them during examinations. However, in Canada, there is a higher focus on understanding and the ability to utilise concepts and theories in new scenarios not covered in lectures. I often had to think outside the box to pass my examinations. These skills improved my retention of concepts and were one of my keys to success.
- QT: Who were your role models while growing up?
Hameedat: My parents are my role models — they are very hardworking and resilient. I have always admired their determination, even in the face of challenges, and their work ethic and dedication to their different businesses. I am also very grateful that they instilled these skills in me and my siblings at a very tender age.
- QT: On your academic achievements, what would you say is your motivation strategy for breaking grounds?
Hameedat: My biggest motivation is my drive to achieve my goals. I am very goal-oriented and at the beginning of my undergraduate journey, my biggest goal was to do exceptionally well in school and make my parents proud. This goal motivated me to continue pushing even after the challenges I faced during my five years at Waterloo.
- QT: Any challenges experienced during the course of your career pursuit?
Hameedat: The biggest challenge I faced was the difficulty in finding my first job. For my undergraduate programme, I had the opportunity to complete five 4-month work terms in different companies. Finding my first work term was very challenging because of my minimal Canadian work experience, and most employers were looking for students with Canadian experience. This made the process very long and excruciating for me in comparison to my Canadian counterparts. I believe this is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about moving to Canada. They think life is easy once you move, but it really is not, you have to work very hard to build the life that you want, and you have to never give up.
- QT: Have you ever been a victim of racism during your stay in school?
Hameedat: No, I have not directly experienced racism, however, I have friends who have. Unfortunately, racism continues to exist in schools.
- QT: What is your recommendation for eradicating racism in schools?
Hameedat: Education (pauses). Most racists develop their racist opinions and thoughts at a young age and by the time they get to school, they have normalised these thoughts and opinions. It is very important for schools to educate all students on racism so they can recognise these normalised racist thoughts and correct them.
- QT: How would you describe your stay in Nigeria before moving to Canada in 2016?
Hameedat: It was alright – I went to boarding school for the most part so I never explored Nigeria before leaving.
- QT: Any regret in life?
Hameedat: No, I have not lived life long enough to have any regrets.
- QT: Your advice to young people looking after you for a successful career?
Hameedat: I am just starting my career, so I am not in the place to advise about careers. However, my advice to young people considering moving to Canada for school is to start strong and be focused. To be honest, it is very easy to get distracted when you move, specifically if you lived with your parents all your life. You feel an undeniable sense of freedom but you need to always remember why you moved and your goals. You also need to start strong, working very hard from the beginning reduces the burden at the end. A strong start allows you to breathe in your final year because you have a better understanding of your capabilities. Also, please always consider an undergraduate/graduate program that has co-op (work experience), it enables you to acquire industry experience while still in school. It is an absolute game changer and I highly recommend it.