Ladipo Anjolaoluwa was a member of JCI during her University days at the University of Ibadan. She studied Agronomy and held different leadership positions during her University days. InterviewStories was able to get across to her where she talked about her journey while studying at the University and a little into the future she hopes to create.
Can we meet you?
I am Ladipo Anjolaoluwa, a fresh graduate of the Department of Agronomy, University of Ibadan. I was a member of the Junior Chamber International, Unibadan chapter, a member of the fourth estate of the University of Ibadan and an avid volunteer. I’m also an SDGs enthusiast.
Why study Agronomy? What is Agronomy about?
I wanted to study Medicine and Surgery initially but it didn’t work out. I had few points below the cut-off for Medicine so I was given Agronomy instead and although I cried initially, by the time I got in and with the right orientation, I soon fell in love with it. I used to think that agriculture was something for aged people in rural areas but thankfully, I know better now.
I finished as one of the best students in my class. Agronomy is, simply put, the study of crops and soil which arguably makes up the bedrock of agriculture. There’s a lot more to Agronomy actually but I won’t delve into that.
Describe your five-year journey at the University of Ibadan
My journey was both tasking and fulfilling. Tasking because I had to put in a lot of work to get the results I hoped for and wanted. I set a goal when I was a fresh student to finish with flying colours. I didn’t achieve it all at once but steadily I got to my target and worked hard to maintain it. There were sacrifices, of course, such as staying up late into the night and forfeiting some pleasures. I also had to juggle this with extracurricular activities at some point but I was able to strike a balance.
My journey was also fulfilling because eventually, the hard work paid off. I had good grades and I was able to serve in other leadership capacities which built me as a person. I was also able to do other things that I had an interest in like volunteering and compering.
What leadership capacities did you serve in and how have they made you a better person?
I served as a class governor for four years alongside one of my colleagues. I didn’t think much of it at the time I was nominated and elected but looking back now, holding that position helped shape a lot of things about me. I learnt how to face the crowd because I had to address my coursemates from time to time. At some point, 400 level to be precise, it wasn’t just my coursemates alone I had to face but the entire 400 level students of a little above 250 students in the faculty because we were all doing the same courses that year.
I learnt how to relate with older people especially those in positions of authority because I was constantly in touch with lecturers in my department and other departments and sometimes the dean of the faculty when petitions had to be made. I also learnt team leadership and people relations.
I likewise served as an editor in my departmental press organization. I learnt how to be consistent and how to keep to deadlines because we had to publish articles weekly. I served as a treasurer in the press at some point and this helped me learn to be accountable. I was also able to brush up my writing, editing and proofreading skills as we worked on the production of our annual departmental magazine. I got to do a bit of HR too as I was usually part of the panel that conducted exams for and interviewed incoming pressmen.
I also got to serve as an executive in my campus fellowship. These positions that I held, helped me learn how to multitask because, at some point, I was holding more than two positions at the same time. I learnt to work under pressure and to be an effective leader.
What did you gain during the times you volunteered?
I learnt to look beyond myself and to be selfless. It stopped being about me and what the society could do for me but rather what I could do for society. I learnt that ‘service to humanity is the best work of life’ as a line from JCI Creed states. I became more sensitive to what people around me were going through and I began to learn ways to tackle and solve problems.
Volunteering also helped me learn how to communicate with people on various levels because some of the volunteering works took me to areas where people were either illiterates or semi-literates.
Why join JCI? How has it made you a positive change to society?
I decided to join JCI in my penultimate year after researching organizations I could join whose visions aligned with mine. I felt JCI would give me the platform to develop myself and it did. My volunteering history kicked off from there. JCI allowed me to engage in projects designed to develop the community. I also learnt a thing or two about parliamentary procedures and the frequent training we had brushed up my employability and entrepreneurial mindset.
I have been able to equip myself with the necessary knowledge, experience and connections I would need to effect a change in the society by being an active member of JCI.
Did you get involved in any business that brought you money? How were you able to take care of yourself while in school?
After I discovered that I enjoyed engaging people, I took up a job as a compére for red carpet events. It meant travelling around because most of the events were outside Ibadan but they were thankfully during weekends so I would ensure I was back in school before a new week commenced. I do freelance writing too as a content creator. I also did a bit of graphics designing and catering for dinners within the school. Sadly, I had to stop most of this during my final year because the courses I took, sixteen in all, and my project was quite demanding. I was, however, able to make ends meet during that period with support from home and from the MTN Scholarship I won.
Do you think every student deserves to have a scholarship?
If it were possible, yes. Many students usually need financial boosts to augment whatever they are getting from home. Some students don’t even get support from home, they have to sponsor themselves through school. At some point or the other, aside from the regular course materials and textbooks, students would need to have access to the Internet so a good android phone and a laptop is necessary. A scholarship could cover those extra costs. I think the extra cash from scholarships would go a long way in helping students.
Tell us your best and worst moment at the University?
I have had numerous best moments but the most recent would be when my coursemates presented me with an outstanding leadership award at our departmental dinner. I was quite surprised because I didn’t see it coming and I felt quite honoured too.
My worst moments would be those times that things didn’t seem to be working out well with my project. I was really confused and sometimes scared that it wouldn’t end well.
Any advice for finalists,stallites, freshers and people who want to enter the University in the nearest future?
My advice for incoming UItes, freshers and stallites, though might sound cliché, would be to discover themselves, set goals and also have a plan towards achieving the goals. The University provides an avenue for individuals to explore but I’d advise that one not get lost amidst all the activities. While exploring, figure out who you are, what your values are and where your passions lie and then plan towards achieving whatever goals you set for yourself.
It is usually not good to get to final year and then discover that there’s nothing much to show for the 4, 5 or 6 years sojourn in the university whereas someone who sets a goal and has a plan from the beginning can build steadily over the years.
For finalists, I would advise that as they put in their best to finish strong they should also keep an eye open for opportunities out there.
Where should we hope to see you in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I hope to have bagged a second degree in an Agric-related course although I can’t say which precisely for now because I do have quite a number of options which align with my interests. I’ll come to a decision as the opportunities present themselves. I also see myself working and building my career in an Agro-allied company. I also up to still be actively volunteering and if possible, have a start-up that is geared towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
How can you be contacted?
Any parting words?
I’ll just leave us with a quote to remind us that in the end, it’s not so much about what the world can do for us but about what we can do for the world.
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill
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