By Kiven Brenda
At least 5000 students graduated from the University of Bamenda on the 10th of December this year. Each graduate, had their story to tell. The story that caught SisterSpeak237’s attention, is that of the best graduating student of year – Kinyuy Tatiana Ngalim, who also broke the record of highest GPAs in that university. From the department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, she emerged best graduating student with a grade point average of 3.75 on 4.
SisterSpeak237: Tatiana, thanks for talking with SisterSpeak237
Tatiana: It’s my pleasure.
SisterSpeak237: Who is Tatiana?
Tatiana: Tatiana is a young girl who hails from Kumbo, North West region of Cameroon. I am in my early 20s, and the first of two daughters of my parents.
SisterSpeak237: How was your childhood? How did your community look at girls who excelled at school?
Tatiana: My childhood was centered basically around three things; home, church and school. Being a good girl at home, a brilliant girl in school and being the child of God. Back there in Nso, girls who excelled in school were feared especially by boys. A girl considered as a “brain box” was feared by most people. Not feared in a way that prevents interaction, but feared in a way that she was respected
SisterSpeak237: Why the interest for sciences?
Tatiana: I have always loved to do the sciences and excelled in it.
SisterSpeak237: How did your parents/friends react when you told them you were going to read Medical Laboratory Sciences?
Tatiana: My parents encouraged me to do the sciences because they knew I was hardworking and could make it. I was brilliant in school and hardworking. I also made friends with people who were science inclined. So there wasn’t any opposition to my choice.
SisterSpeak237: What were your good moments and challenging moments in UBa? And how did you push through your worst moments?
Tatiana: Good moments at UBa were the times I interacted with friends and moments when I shared ideas with them on social and educational issues. There were those moments when we sat together to bring up solutions to a problem we all faced in class or societal problems. At the end of everything, when success crowns it all, you kind of forget the challenging moments but I must say one of those challenging moments at UBa were those times when classes had to be interrupted due to sociopolitical instability. Those are the moments that really tormented me but I pushed through all those moments because I knew why I got to UBa and my focus was to achieve that goal.
SisterSpeak237: What part of your studies did you like most?
Tatiana: The part of studies I loved most was when we had to back home and research on a topic and came back to expose on it or teach your classmates. That’s the moment that makes you feel like you studied something and you are the master of it, and that you’re not just there to be taught but also you can grasp the knowledge and give it back.
SisterSpeak237: How did you get focus in the University with all social distractions at your nose?
Tatiana: To say that where your treasure is, there your heart lies. There are always going to be distractions. Even the social distractions have distractions themselves. So it’s just that focus. I knew why I was in school and I worked towards it, to achieve that aim.
SisterSpeak237: At what time did you tell yourself, I am going to break records?
Tatiana: At the very beginning of it, I told myself I want to graduate with first class honors. I had this mentor who took me through University and he told me what is was like. And from that day, the beginning of my course, I decided that I am going to work for the first class honors and I did it. I didn’t just have the first class honors but I broke the records.
SisterSpeak237: What is the secret behind your good grades?
Tatiana: No big secret about my grades apart from hard work and prayer. When you work hard, you know what you want to achieve and pray for God to give you the grace to achieve it.
SisterSpeak237: Since you were announced, best candidate, how has life been to you? Have you been contacted by an employer?
Tatiana: I must say life has not been the same. I have this enthusiasm in me that kicks me that pushes me ahead and tells me, you can do more. I have been contacted by several people but unfortunately no employers yet. No employers have called me. I am trying to see on my part that I get something doing.
SisterSpeak237: Do you consider going back to school if you get a job or you don’t?
Tatiana: Yes. That’s the very first consideration. Going back to school. Getting a job now will be just to gain more experience in my field, but my focus now is furthering my education.
SisterSpeak237: What will you tell young girls out there who want to be like you?
Tatiana: For every girl out there who want to make it, I tell you it is very possible. It is not extraordinary .You are not a less intelligent person by being a female, or weaker (as they call us the weaker sex).All you need to do, is to work hard, pray and be focused. Set goals and you are going to achieve it.
SisterSpeak237: Where is your sky limit? What do you want to become in future?
Tatiana: (Smiles) I want to be in a world that has not been discovered, a world that has not been created. Sky limit…no no no. The sky is rather my starting point. In education, there’s no sky limit. I will study until the days that we are no more. We create and innovate. We work our brains until when they shut down. For now, no sky limits
Kiven Brenda is a Cameroonian journalist,who has worked with both audiovisual and print media. She is currently working as a Littoral correspondence for The Guardian Post newspaper, strings for the Guardian UK and contributes to SisterSpeak237. She has an interest in conflict reporting and the role women play in her society.