Paul Njie is one of the many students who braved the odds to go to school, despite the separatist ban on education in the restive English speaking regions of Cameroon. After three years of studies at the department of Journalism and Mass communication (JMC) in the University of Buea, he graduated best student with a GPA of 3.40.
The 21-year-old told Gina Informs that one of the main challenges he faced while he pursued his studies in one of the prestigious universities in Cameroon was going to school amid the ongoing socio political crisis.
“It was a big challenge to study amid the ongoing socio-political imbroglio in Anglophone Cameroon. I had to brave the odds to pursue my undergraduate studies because I was determined to have a solid education. Sometimes I would vigilantly sneak out of my area to go to school, despite the separatists’ order for school boycott. It really wasn’t easy, but I think it was worthwhile,” he said.
According to JMC’s best graduating student, it was not only about the separatists’ order for school boycott but equally about the ghost towns imposed on Mondays in the English speaking regions of Cameroon.
“Meanwhile, the ghost towns really marred studies on Mondays and the numerous lockdowns posed a big problem because we had to always dauntingly catch up with past topics which we were to treat during such periods. It was quite a hassle, but thank God we came through,” Njie said.
Njie equally told Gina Informs how he became the best student in his class, despite all of the challenges he faced.
“I really don’t know how I became the best in my class, but I think it’s owing to my efforts, pertinacity and the collective effort of my friends. They were truly instrumental to my success,” he explainded.
“I don’t always consider myself as the best. With this mindset, I mingled with other tough students, made friends with them, learned from them and taught them what I knew as well. This made me gain more knowledge and it took me to the top,” he added.
The smart intellectual has already started postgraduate studies in International Relations, and hopes to bag home a Master’s degree in two years’ time.
“Studying International Relations will help me have a broader understanding of how different facets of the world function and I will incorporate that in my journalism. Currently, I am the Editor-in-Chief of TWIF NEWS, an online news website and a part-time journalist with HI TV Buea. I envisage greater experience in the field of journalism as the years go by, and I just wish to get to the zenith of my journalism career.”
Njie’s advice to university students, especially freshmen is hard work is the key to success.
“Focus on your studies, devote enough time for your school work, and always have a positive mindset. Don’t be discouraged and never say you can’t do it. Everyone can succeed; they just need to work towards their success,” he said.
“As much as you need to devote ample time for your studies, don’t ever neglect extracurricular activities. Always do whatever you love doing when you’re not in school — just know when to do them and you’ll be fine. Extracurricular activities are important in keeping you fit to study. With me, I loved playing football and I did that whenever I was out of school. It gave me joy, and it made me to be fulfilled each time I studied. I adequately partitioned my time between school and out-of-school duties, and it worked just well for me,” he added.