I want to advance the study of mind, behaviour, says UNILAG best graduate

I am Ayodele Daniel Dada, an indigene of Ekiti State. I am 29 years old. I attended Hopebay College along Badagry expressway, Lagos. We are a family of four: my dad, my mum, my younger brother and I. I am the first child of my parents. My dad is an accountant while my mum is a teacher. We are a regular people; we are not rich. And my family believes a lot in education and they always encourage me to work hard and remain focused with my studies.

Academic journey to UNILAG

After my secondary school in 2003, I went to start a computer course when everybody was talking about Information Technology (IT). I learnt a lot of things in IT, especially in hardware, mast commissioning, BTS, among others. I got a certification, but I never used the certificate because it was not something I really wanted.

I studied French language a bit. Then I did a little of music production. I also worked with an uncle while I was into music production. I was doing all this because I needed to get a hold on something I really wanted to do, the thing I believe in. There was a lot of pressure as to what was next for me. I even wrote UTME at some point and got an admission to study an Engineering course. But I knew it wasn’t me.

I made a conscious effort to tell myself the hard truth. I just didn’t want to go along with the flow of what people were doing. I didn’t want to end up as a mediocre. I am not very good in conforming to what people want. I just like to think on what I really want to do. Even before I decided to study Psychology, I had to ask myself series of questions. I read quite a number of books between 2003 and 2011 before I gained admission to UNILAG.

But entering UNILAG wasn’t an easy task. In 2011 when I wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and applied to study Psychology, I prepared very hard for it and I knew I was going to get a very good score. When the result was released, mine was cancelled. I thought about it and wondered why they would do that. I discovered that they felt that I could not have gotten some scores in some subjects if I hadn’t cheated. I felt bad about it, but I needed to commence my academic pursuit without further delay, so I elected for UNILAG Diploma programme.

Why do you choose to study Psychology?

Yes! I chose to study Psychology at a point when nobody was even interested in it. They thought I was not going to make much success out of it. My parents wanted me to go for medicine or engineering. But I chose Psychology because that is where my passion intersected with my ability, having tried a number of other things.

In fact, while I was on the journey of finding my path in life, I was also busy reading. I read widely till I encountered Psychology in books. I knew immediately this is my calling.

If you had not studied Psychology, what other disciplines would you have loved to study?

At the moment, I wouldn’t have studied any other course because Psychology for me is everything. I had always wanted to study Psychology and I don’t think I would have settled for any other course if I had not gotten admitted into Psychology Department.

One of the challenges facing Psychology as a discipline is that people are yet to see its real value. People think that it is a knowledge one can use to manipulate others. I was monitoring some social media threads on nairaland and I saw where people who studied Psychology were described as psychic. But there is a real world of difference between being a psychic and being a psychologist. It just shows a general misconception about Psychology.

What challenges did you encounter while in school and how were you able to tackle them?

There were series of challenges knowing that the university environment is full of distractions and I had to support myself at some point in time. I basically took care of all my expenses because I said I wasn’t going to depend on anyone. My major challenge is having time to do the things I needed to do. When people see that you have so many capabilities; so many responsibilities come around. I was a leader of planning committee for several programmes in my department, coupled with series of other responsibilities.

What were the strategies you adopted in the last four years?

Well a key strategy for me was that I prepared by looking at the entire picture. When people prepare for academics they deal too much with studying, but in my own case, my preparation was holistic. This is because you have to know the people who are around you, you have to deal more with people so you understand what it means to be emotionally intelligent and that for me is a lot more important than reading over and over again. That has been my strategy. It’s more important to succeed with people than just reading books.

What is the next step for you?

The next step for me is to further my education in Psychology. I want to go as high as possible, which may possibly entail getting a Ph.D. Also, I desire to advance myself and solve problems in my environment so that I can be useful to the society. I want my words to be more valued in solving problems especially in Nigeria.

Do you have plans coming back to lecture in UNILAG?

I do have plans to lecture but that would be after I must have attained my Ph.D. level in the nearest future. For now I want to further my education to the next level.

What was your social life in school like?
Yes! I had a social life. I went to the cinemas, went to people’s birthdays, and as I told you earlier, I was head of several planning committees. I interacted with people in my faculty even outside my faculty. I participated in leadership programmes on campus, and I attended leadership seminars. I may not have been the most active but I was very active.

What’s your next objective?

I’m still trying to decide, but for now; I want to go for more studies and establish myself further in my chosen career.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are reading and tutoring people, I also have the passion for music production. If I have the opportunity I would eventually go into it.

What advice do you have for students who are aspiring to be like you?

My advice for them is, they should never try to be like others because everyone is doing the same thing. They must learn to know what they really want in life and where they want to go because the problem with most students in the university is conformity.

But if they understand who they are, they will be able to achieve their final goal.

What advice do you have for students who want to emulate you?

For those who want to emulate me, they should know that focus and preparation is key. I always put the military strategy of Sun Tezu that says “a victorious general is already victorious before the battle but a defeated general enters the battle to find victory.” I believe a lot in being focus and I believe a lot in listening to people because people are everything if you don’t listen to people you don’t get ahead. I listen to my lectures and even listen to those who are beneath me; I try to learn from everybody around me.

Where do you see yourself five years now?

Five years from now, I see myself doing something related to Psychology, I should have advanced further, gotten more certificates and I want to really get to the top of the discipline as far as possible.

Do you have a girl friend while in school?

I don’t have a girlfriend for now, but am planning towards that at least before the end of this year.