Matriculating students of American University of Nigeria (AUN) were on Monday advised to overcome the circumstances of their birth and childhood challenges in a bid to achieve greatness.
President of the university, Dawn Dekle gave the advice in Yola, Adamawa State during the 2018 Fall Semester convocation and pledge ceremony.
Mrs. Dekle urged the students to dream big and aim for greatness, adding they are much more than where they were born and the circumstances of their childhood.
“You are so much more than where you were born or your childhood circumstances,” President Dekle said.
“You contain multitudes; you have the talents and skills you have not yet recognized. Use your time at AUN to develop yourself, make AUN work for you, make the most of it, and you will make your lives masterpieces.”
Among the over 200 students. who took the university’s Community Pledge – a tradition of American universities – include four Chibok schoolgirls and several freshmen from other African countries.
The four Chibok girls graduated from AUN’s New Foundation School, an intensive pre-college preparatory program, which integrates academic and counselling contents.
Three of the girls who plan to go to medical school are enrolled in AUN’s world-acclaimed Natural and Environmental Science programme, with a concentration in Biomedical Science; while the remaining one is enrolled in the university’s Law programme.
Altogether 12 students from Chibok community in Borno State are enrolled in different programs at AUN.
Five are studying to become doctors, two each are in Law and Accounting, and two others are in the Business Administration and Communications and Multimedia programs.
Supported by their parents, faculty, fellow students and other community members, the girls drew the loudest applause from the audience when they were called up to the podium to receive their Class sashes from Mrs. Dekle.
Drawing broadly from sporting metaphors and anecdotes, Dr. Dekle said football transcends language, religion, race, and politics.
Of all sports, she insisted that football is the most inclusive, tolerant, and diverse.
Continuing, she said, “University study is a lot like football. In both, you have to rely on your team and make a plan for each test of your skill; you have to learn mental toughness to manage your anxieties and fears, and you have to take the opportunity to shine in the spotlight when you are asked to lead.
“If I have one last prayer for each of you; it is that you use your time at AUN to develop the mindset of a midfielder on the football pitch.
“Why do I choose a midfielder, when the striker is the one who bends or chips the ball into the goal and wins the glory for the team? I choose midfielder because the position is the most flexible and fit, the most adaptable, and the best team player,” she said.
All the newly admitted students took part in the first community service on Saturday at the Yolde Pate Primary School in Yola South Local Government Area of the state.
All students of the institution, reputed to be Africa’s first development university, are required to participate in community service.
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