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Giving up on business fetched me good grades — Chidera Okpala

Chidera Okpala is the first overall best student of Trinity University bagging a BSc in Mass Communication. In this interview, she revealed how she avoided…

Chidera Okpala is the first overall best student of Trinity University bagging a BSc in Mass Communication. In this interview, she revealed how she avoided combining other activities with academics, including doing business, to pursue a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.85.


How do you feel emerging as the first best overall graduate in your school?

It is an honour to be the first overall best student of Trinity University because this is something that would be marked in the history book. I am thankful to God for the privilege and everyone who supported me in this journey – my family and all. I do not take this for granted.

What influenced your choice of course?

When I was in secondary school, initially, I wanted to be an actress and host programmes. I was getting advice and asking people the possibility of going to an acting school or doing Mass Communication because I would like to be a host.

My role model at that time was Nancy Isime, but people advised that I didn’t need to go to an acting school. They said I could read Mass Communication and still act. But now, I am no longer interested in acting because everything has changed and I don’t see that in the plan.

What were the challenges you encountered?

It was basically trying to navigate being an undergraduate. Being in school to read whatever course is not an easy feat, so being able to navigate sleepless nights and everything was a challenge. 

However, it paid off in the end because I just tried to keep pushing to be the best at the courses I did because it was not just about passing but passing well.

What was really a good factor for me was that I wanted to lay a good foundation, and if I didn’t start laying it from my 100 level, I would not be the best graduating student.

How were you able to overcome the challenges? 

I overcame my challenges by simply knowing what I was driving at and my focus.

People are in school for different reasons, and I know that I was there to finish well. So I started laying the foundation of having a good CGPA. What I did was to prioritise my time to read and trying to ensure that I got all my assignments and projects done because they contributed to my grade.

What is the impact of your course of study on you?

Mass Communication is a very broad course. While I was in school I was able to know where I wanted to specialise. The course helps me to know what I want to do.

Do you intend to build a career from the course?

I am currently trying to build a career out of the course. Presently, I work in an advertising agency as a copywriter, and there is no difference from when I was an intern in a broadcast firm. It is just that we work behind the scene in the advertising space. So, I am trying to build a career out of it and be the best.

How were you able to balance academics with other areas of life?

Honestly, if I say I was able to balance my academics and other areas of life, I will be lying to you. It was very hard for me because I was always focused on my studies. That was why I was able to get this result.

I sacrificed certain things. Some students I know were able to combine their academics with business and work, but I was not able to do that.

If my mind is on one thing, I will focus on it. I feel that is just my weakness. I really don’t know how to multi-task because it gives me more pressure. 

I don’t like to give an average effort to something, I like to give it my all so that I will be the best.


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