You should find what works for you, when to study, rest, socialise – AUN’s best graduating student


Abdulrazaq Momoh is the overall best graduating student of the class of 2021 at the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, Adamawa State, having graduated with a first class in Petroleum Chemistry. He speaks of his time in the university and how he was able to make impact in the lives of secondary school students and others.

How do you feel emerging the best in your class?
It’s amazing. I am just happy to repay the faith that my family, peers and professors have always shown in me. It’s a reward for all the hard work and effort, and it is definitely the perfect way to end my academic journey at AUN.

Tell me why you have an edge over other students to emerge the overall best?

I wouldn’t exactly say I have an edge over other students. I mean there are a lot of exceptional students at AUN. They put in as much or even more than I did. However, sometimes it just comes down to fine margins like the difference between a 94 which is an A- and a 95 which is an A.

What was a typical school day for you?
I woke up often between and I say my morning prayers and then study for one to two hours; usually when I had a test or assignment deadline approaching. I then had breakfast at the cafeteria before getting ready for classes. I had two to three classes a day and I’d typically get some rest or take a nap after my last class; then a shower and get something to eat.

I usually said my evening and night prayers and headed to the library at and stayed there for an hour or two. I might also tutor students during this time, then I would return to my room between and I often watched a movie or some football if there was a match, and then eventually went to bed at around midnight.

What academic challenges did you encounter?

The grading scale was definitely the major one. It seemed ridiculous at times, but it helped me to work harder and push myself more. To get an A you had to be focused right through to the end of the semester. There was really very little room for any dip in performance. The senior research project was also challenging. Your time management, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills were all put to the test. It was a massively beneficial learning experience for me.

What was your most cherished moment on campus?

This is a difficult question to answer as I had a lot of beautiful memories from my time at AUN. However, the closing ceremony of the Girl Child Empowerment Programme (GCEP) probably stands out as my most cherished moment. The GCEP primarily focused on ICT training for girls from secondary and tertiary institutions in Adamawa State. The programme also featured lectures on emotional intelligence, financial literacy and menstrual hygiene. It was honestly a privilege to have been part of the planning and organisation of the project. Being there at the closing ceremony and handing out certificates and awards to the girls allowed me to see just how much the girls had learned over the short duration of the programme. They had grown to be more confident and committed and it made me quite happy to have played even just a tiny part in that.

What was your social life like?

I wasn’t really the type to go to parties and stuff like that. My social life mostly revolved around playing games and watching football or movies; whether that was in the dorm with friends, or at events organised by the school’s Campus Activities Board. Watching football in the common rooms usually made for some banter-filled exchanges as everyone had their different team loyalties. There was rarely a dull moment. I also enjoyed movie nights and game nights as they allowed me to meet and interact with new people; all while having a lot of fun.

Were there any forms of distraction on campus?

Yes! AUN has a vibrant social scene and so there are often parties and other social events being organised. It allows students to unwind and relax away from the rigours of academic work. Obviously, you have to strike a balance between social engagements and your academic work otherwise such events can become a distraction.

What are your plans as you are leaving the university?

I would like to pursue a masters’ degree in renewable energy or something related to that. I feel the world is rightfully moving in that direction, and I would love to be a part of that change. My immediate plan as I leave university is to complete the NYSC programme.

Your university makes involvement in community service compulsory; what was your involvement like?

I was part of the Community Service Committee in the AUN Honor Society in my final two years. I helped in organising projects like spelling bee for primary and secondary school students, as well as a computer literacy program for girls from secondary and tertiary institutions local to Adamawa. It was a truly wonderful experience and I am proud of the impact we made.

In terms of parental input towards your success, what is your story?

My family have always believed in me. Whenever I have doubts or feel overwhelmed they are always there to reassure me. The fact that they have invested so much into my education is a reflection of their faith in me. The desire to make them proud has always been a huge source of motivation for me.

What is your advice to students who will want to emulate your success?

I feel one of the most important things is always to look to yourself and not others. Do not be distracted by what others are doing. The motivation for success has to come from within. You should find what works for you in terms of when to study, rest, socialise, etc. and stick to that routine. There are going to be setbacks along the way, but you have to learn to recover quickly and always try to look for the positives. Work hard so you have no regrets, and most importantly, always seek God’s help through prayer.

Chidimma C. Okeke
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