I won’t refer to myself as brilliant – ABU’s 1st class graduate
Twenty-three-year-old Al-Amin Bashir Bugaje of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, emerged as the overall best graduating student during the university’s 40th convocation y last Saturday with a 4.93 CGPA, the highest score ever recorded in the history o
How does it feel achieving such an incredible feat? Firstly, there’s relief, mostly from finishing schooling. I also feel excited and a little overwhelmed. The response from the university community and the country at large has been really positive. I am really honoured and humbled.
Did you expect to graduate with such flying colours?
Well, I always try to do my possible best. I’m not always sure what that will translate to. But generally, in order to avoid disappointment, I don’t expect.
How did you attain this result?
It was a mixture of all the regular ‘study-well’ driven concepts with a touch of the magic recipe. Firstly, my mother and secondly, sleeping regularly. I take siestas every day if I can. The idea behind that is, without the blessings of your parents, all you do will be fruitless. And without proper rest, your mental efficiency is compromised.
What’s your study pattern like?
My study pattern has evolved over the years. During my first two years, setting a solid foundation was key. I split my study time in bits, but was always consistent. An hour in the night and in the morning; before class to get an idea of the next day’s courses and an hour in the evening to recapitulate the day’s lectures. This made building my knowledge base in as much as 13 courses a semester without losing focus.
How hard did you have to study to achieve such an outstanding result? To be honest, ‘Na God.’ You were also awarded with the best project work. Can you share what your project was about?
My final year project was on the development of a web-based real-time energy monitoring system, aimed at improving the efficiency in energy management. Real time information of processes hinged on the idea of IoT (Internet of Things) was the driving force that made the implementation possible. The project was a response-solution to a sudden hike in electricity tariff in ABU, Zaria to about N86 million per month. Real time information could provide valuable information to save cost in the short and long run and also provide budgeting and forecast options amongst others. At the moment, a prototype solution is deployed in my department, that is, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
A while back, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company showed interest in the project, but they haven’t gotten back to us yet. But I’m still hopeful of implementing this as a sustainable solution.
What challenged you the most during the course of your studies?
Learning to overcome my stiff body to dance. If I am to name a challenge, it will be at the time I was combining ‘Towards an Intellectual Tomorrow,’ club activities, student politics, engineering lab hours with my regular academic activities. It was demanding and I was stretched to my limits. But it all paid off.
Being one of the smartest students in school must have come with a lot of attention. How did you handle it?
I tried not to think too much of it. There were certainly times when I wished for some peace and quiet but couldn’t have that. Or people randomly stopping you on the street to get your number. Along the lines, I tried to separate my social interactions from my academia. Coincidentally most of
It was a mixture of all the regular ‘studywell’ driven concepts with a touch of the magic recipe. Firstly, my mother and secondly, sleeping regularly. I take siestas every day if I can
friends were from Faculty of Law.
Have you always been this brilliant or was this a walk towards a goal for you?
I sincerely wouldn’t refer to myself as brilliant. I am pushed to always be a better version of myself. To do the possible best, I can always and hopefully, that will translate in an effort to make my society better. But to answer fully the ‘brilliance’ question, I share the same sentiment as Isaac Newton when he said, ‘I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’
What role did your parents and family play in your success?
The role a family plays in grooming a person can’t be overemphasized. I have been blessed with the most supportive parents and they were involved in every step of the way. My mother is an avid reader and that spirit was inculcated to us all from a young age.
The support from my family in all dimensions especially in terms of education is profound.
With the scholarship awarded to you by the NNPC for your postgraduate studies, what course do you intent do study and where?
I hope to explore the frontiers of energy perhaps along the lines of renewable technologies. The world of tomorrow is built around sustainable energy. As a nation, we must turn towards that with all we’ve got. I still haven’t decided but my options are between the UK and the US. I’ve already started the application process to Cambridge and I’m also adding the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to my list.
What else would you have studied if not Electrical Engineering?
Perhaps Psychology. I’m fascinated with the human mind and the thought of hypnotizing someone has always titillated my fancy. Hopefully I’ll pursue it some day.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy poetry so I read and write. I also play chess. Other times I make the effort to play football and on certain occasions, my squad forces me to move my otherwise stiff torso to the beat.
What advice do you have for students who find it tough to cope with their studies?
If you are doing something you love, stay strong and stay true. It’ll get better. Consistency is a virtue. So discipline your mind to keep pushing. If you aren’t, run away and find something you have passion for.