Sunday, May 12, 2019

ATBU's best graduating student tells the secret of his success

Mahmoud Abdulsalam Yidi is the youngest best graduating student in the department of Electrical Engineering at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi (ATBU). The 21-year-old Gombe indigene shares how he was able to defy all odds and graduate with flying colours. Herewith, are excerpts.

Daily Trust: You have achieved a great feat becoming the youngest best graduating student. How does it feel?

Mahmoud Abdulsalam Yidi: I can’t put the feeling into words. It’s something I never thought of. I know I was ‘good’ in my secondary school days but I never thought of it being like that in the university.  The university encompasses several great minds and talent. I feel lucky.

DT: Did you expect to graduate with such result?

Yidi: Well, I didn’t expect it at the onset but with time and getting used to the environment, I thought of it being achievable. It’s was 50-50.

DT: How did you achieve this result?

Yidi: I made straight As during my first semester and had a GPA of 5.00. It was really a booster, to be honest. I couldn’t let this effort waste for any reason. So, instead of being relaxed having attained the highest possible GPA, I buckled up to face what the course had to offer – better or worse.

DT: What’s your study pattern like?

Yidi: Surprisingly, I read right before an exam and nothing more.  I feel my ability to assimilate under pressure is hyper so I use that to my advantage.  But then, instead of trying to memorize every line, as much as possible I try to imagine every line in reality. That way, it’s very difficult to forget stuff. The power of imagination supersedes knowledge itself. With imagination, there’s no limit to what someone can achieve. I also resort to mnemonics and pictographic representation of words. It’s actually easier to remember diagrams than writings.

DT: How hard did you have to study to achieve such an outstanding result?

Yidi: Not too hard really. Get the concept, understand the chapter and move on. You don’t have to force yourself to memorize every line. Once you get the concept there’s no question you can’t answer. Prayers will take care of all the ‘silly’ mistakes.

DT: As an Electrical Engineering graduate, what gave you the greatest challenge during the course of your studies?

Yidi: Electrical and Electronics Engineering is perceived as the hardest course in ATBU. It virtually treats complex calculations and theoretical knowledge as well. Also, chains of prerequisite courses and all make it scary. So, there’s this fear of doing something difficult and not wanting by any means to get a grade less than B because of the effect on CGPA. Also, there’s this atychiphobia and at some point, I just don’t want to continue anymore. So, it’s more like a personal thing.

DT: Being one of the smartest students in school must have come with a lot of attention. How did you handle it?

Yidi: I just had to adapt with time and follow the wave. It actually comes with negative attention as well.  Insults, envy and perception of being proud are the commonest examples. I guess that’s the price to pay. But on the other hand, the positive attention is actually what keeps someone going. Either way, there are all experiences gained.

DT: Have you always been this brilliant or was this a walk towards a goal for you?

Yidi: Neither. More like fate and Allah’s will. It just happened.

DT: What role did your parents and family play in your success?

Yidi: Meeting my financial needs, prayers and support on every aspect. I find it easier to seek counsel from them than my department’s counselor. They’ve always been there for me.

DT: What’s next for you?

Yidi: Preferably a direct PhD. But I can still settle for masters if need be. There are many unsolved problems around, especially here in Nigeria, that I’m willing to solve. We are kind of lagging behind in technological aspects. So it’s research (PhD) for me.

DT: What else would you have studied if not Electrical Engineering? Do you still have plans to pursue it?

Yidi: I can’t picture myself doing anything else to be honest. It was actually my calling, Alhamdulillah.

DT: What do you do in your free time?

Yidi: I play video games a lot, play football, Quran recitation and research a lot on omnivorous aspects.

DT: What advice do you have for students who find it tough to cope with their studies?

Yidi: They should keep doing it and shouldn’t give up at any point. They should be enthusiastic about their courses. They should do it with passion, more like ‘I love doing this’ not ‘I just have to do this’. Use the internet in a productive way. Most of these things are there on the internet. Develop a personal study plan (PSP) to match your capability and prepare on time. Keep a strong relationship with your Lord. He can turn bad to good, good to better and better to best. Harness the power of imagination. Imagination takes you everywhere you want to go. Use it to your advantage. The sky will be your starting point, InSha Allah.

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