Igboanugo Annastatia, who graduated with first-class honours, in an interview with Tribune, reminisced about memorable moments that inspired her feat.
The 26-year-old Imo graduate is the first foreigner in the history of Rostov State Medical University to graduate with a perfect 5.0 GPA.
- Who is Igboanugo Annastatia?
I was born in Aba, Imo, Nigeria and graduated from Godfirst International Secondary School in Abia where I passed my WAEC with 6As and 3 B2s in 2014. I got into Imo State University in 2015 and by my second year, I wrote the federal government scholarship exam and won the bilateral education agreement scholarship (BEA) between Russia and Nigeria to study General medicine and surgery in Russia.
In 2016, I resumed my studies in Rostov State Medical University in Russia. I did one-year Russian language course and 6 years medical school, making it a total of 7 years. In June 2023, I graduated with first-class honours and a GPA of 5.0/5.0 from Rostov State Medical University. I was equally the valedictorian for my graduation. It was a great honour to speak to thousands of people on my graduation day. That was the first time I ever spoke to that mammoth crowd.
- Tell us how you feel when you were accepted to study at Rostov State Medical University
(Smiles)… When I was accepted to study General Medicine and Surgery on full scholarship in Russia, I was overjoyed. I screamed till I couldn’t scream anymore. My joy knew no bounds because I had always wanted to study abroad and going through scholarship was the only means I had.
- How do you feel graduating with a GPA of 5.0/5.0?
I am delighted to have graduated with a GPA of 5.0/5.0. This is because I really worked hard for it and I feel like I deserve it. I studied mostly 8-10 hours each day. I am seen mostly in school, my apartment and church. I make time to talk to my family and friends and any other important things that I needed to do. I sleep early (mostly around 8-9 pm) and wake up early (around 1-2 am) to study. I strongly believe that I am deserving of my achievement because I put in the work and I give God almighty the praise because he made it possible.
The beginning was hard, after one year of language course, I was still not perfect in the language so in my first and second year of medical school, I watched medical YouTube videos, wrote notes and did lots of translations from Russian to English just to understand what I was studying. Some days, I just wept off my bed because of the stress I was facing and my fear of not overcoming the language barrier. I’m glad that all that sadness is in the past and I came out victorious.
- What would you say inspired the feat?
In this life, two great people inspired me to be excellent. One was my late father, Igboanugo Celestine and the second was my secondary school director, Engr Gilbert Uche Madu who is also late. My father was a successful businessman but he never went to the university. He believed so much in the importance of education and so he made sure he trained all his children in school. My father kept saying that, education can take you far, just be serious with it. I took my dad’s words seriously, so I made sure that I came out the best in my academics just to make him proud and also to tell him that his money and words of encouragement are not a waste.
My school director, Engr Gilbert Uche Madu was the first brilliant teacher that made me wonder how a person can know everything. He taught us Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. He was funny and he made learning easy and enjoyable. He did mini-tests in classes and set a prize, anyone who got the answer correctly won the prize. So most times, I won the prize. Because of these mini-tests, I always studied ahead so that I could keep winning those prizes. Looking back, it was funny, but that very act of his motivated me to be excellent. I saw a brilliant man in him, so I was determined to be brilliant as well.
- What is the most outlandish thing you’ve ever done in the name of education?
The most outlandish thing I ever did in the name of education was confronting one of my teachers in Russia. In my first year, I was not yet fluent in Russian language but I could write well.
We had a chemistry test and the teacher failed me. I knew very well that I was not supposed to fail. So I went to her office and complained to her but she didn’t give me an audience, I had to report her to the departmental head before she revisited my script and found out that I indeed passed the test. Ever since that incident, her attitude towards me changed from bad to good. My friends thought that I would get into trouble for reporting her being a foreigner but I’m glad that I listened to my guts and confronted her anyways.
- What is your advice for students on how to achieve outstanding grades?
My advice to students is that they should bear it at the back of their minds that excellence is possible only if they put in the work. They need to desire it. When you have a strong desire for something, you will have a reason to work towards it and try to get it. Sometimes, things might not go the way you expected but I want you to never stop trying no matter how many times you failed. No one wants to hear your failure story, everyone wants to hear your success story. I wish you the best.