Posted in PERFECTLY LEGAL, STRICTLY BLACK AND WHITE

#DEARASPIRANTTOTHEBAR, ‘DON’T BE A LOCAL CHAMPION’

#MyBarFinalsTestimony is brought to you by the MCQ APP in conjunction with Ekaete Hunter. 

Name: Onakoya Oludare Subomi Esq.

Campus: Abuja Campus (First Class), Director General’s Prize for First Class Students.

University: Onabisi Onabanjo University (Ago Iwoye), Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2.1)

Bio:  Oludare Onakoya is from Ijebu Igbo in Ogun state. His education has mostly been in Ogun State – Olabisi Onabanjo University Primary School, Ago Iwoye and Christ the King Catholic College , Odolewu Ijebu, before he moved to Abuja for his education at the Nigerian Law School. He is currently doing his youth service in Abuja. Outside law, he enjoys the arts – reading, writing and a little bit of acting and singing. He has two unpublished novels and is presently working on a collection of poems. He can be reached  at oludareyonakoya@gmail.com 

ONAKOYA OLUDARE
SOURCE: ONAKOYA OLUDARE

I resumed law school, like most of my colleagues with the intention to be the best I could be. I really wanted a 1st class, because I had a second class upper from the University, and I firmly believed that it was easier to make a 1st class in the law school than in the University, since law school was just one year.

To this end, I got very close to the last person who had a 1st class in the law school from my University, Mrs Opeyemi Awolesi and she gave me the proper tips – I must read as we are being taught, I must attend  all the classes, and I must be ready to dedicate that year to law school. And so, I hit the ground running, started reading from the first day and kept up that consistency till the day of my last paper. Honestly, I read every day of my stay in the law school, including holidays, minus Christmas and New Year day. That is not to say it was easy, the workload was immense, we were being hit from all angles, but breaking it down piecemeal really helped me to keep up. I got discouraged a few times, especially when I was asked questions in class and I goofed, because they were things I felt I should have known. It got so bad that my friends were starting to get concerned that I was being overwhelmed because they thought I was better than that. But I kept at it, I didn’t give up. Finally, after externship, when I had read for the 5th time, things started making sense. Especially after the MCQ exams, I felt I did really well in them, so I actually started believing that it was possible. I could make a 1st class.

I should mention that at a point, my self-esteem took a hit. I asked a question in class, and my lecturer basically called it a stupid question – in front of 1,700 students. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Incidentally, after that day, I stopped speaking in class, and started working in silence. I got extra inspiration from that because I then felt I had something to prove.

DARE ONAKOYA
SOURCE: OLUDARE ONAKOYA

Also, I should mention my fears. I had several, I was afraid I would put in all the effort and I won’t get the desired result, which actually happened to a lot of people in law school. I was afraid I would let down all the people who were counting on me. I was afraid that the examiner would find a way to catch me in the exam. And even the thought that we would be graded on our lowest scores was enough to put the fear of God in us. I spoke to Mrs Opeyemi, and she calmed me down and told me fear is actually what makes people fail the bar exams. You become so paralysed and you panic and things you know become muddled up. So, I prayed about it, and I just left it in God’s hands. I believed I had prepared as best as I could. I read my notes 7 times before the exams, and at a point, I felt there was nothing else I could do, so I just kept calm, avoided people who could cause me to panic, and I went in to the exam hall and was pleasantly surprised that I knew virtually all the questions that were asked. I wrote the bar exams with a big smile on my face. And I feel what got me through were my dedication, commitment and simple determination to be the best I could be.

I must acknowledge the amazing friends I found myself surrounded by, my friends from the University, Saheed, Ayomide, Dare Oke, Bimbola, Damilola Ogundare to mention a few, friends I made in law school, Adesola Baruwa, Tolu Iyanda, Victor Nwankwo, the entire body of CLASFON as a whole, and the Academic Team in particular ably led by Ijeoma Unachukwu. These guys made learning fun, if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t trade meeting any of you for anything. Surrounding myself with the right people was also key – people that encouraged me not just academically but spiritually as well. At a point, we just stopped reading and started praying as a family, and miracles happened. Don’t be a local champion, the source of all knowledge; rather, learn from others as they are learning from you.

In conclusion, law school wasn’t as tough as it was made out to be, in fact, I believe all the stories we had heard did a lot to increase the fear in us. So I would advise those coming after us, listen to the right people, those who would encourage you, not bring down your morale. Anybody that preaches fear should be avoided, and by taking things one day at a time, apply yourself diligently and I believe you will do better than we ever did. I cannot over-emphasise applying yourself diligently to your work, nothing can take the place of proper preparation. It helps build confidence and reduces fear. Practice past questions, ask yourself questions when you finish reading to ensure whatever you read is sticking. To this end, Kadiri Ayodele* the best graduating student of my set, Precious Ivongbe* and myself have worked towards providing questions for the development of an MCQ application – the MCQ APP. There are 150 questions per course, and what is unique about this app is that the answers are given and the reasons for the answers are stated. There wasn’t anything like that in our own time, but we feel that it is one way of making the work of those coming after us easier. Details on how to obtain the app as well as its other features would be circulated as at the appropriate time. I wish you all the best.

Most importantly, pray as if you’ve not read, and read as if you’ve not prayed.

*Kadiri Ayodele and Precious Ivongbe stories are also a part of the #MyBarFinalsTestimonySeries and would be shared subsequently.

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A world changer who tells the stories that deserve to be told. Fiction may sometimes be real.

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