Ganiat Adebimpe Giwa Full Interview

What is your name?

Ganiat Adebimpe Giwa

Give a synopsis of your academic journey in Greensprings School?

GSL wasn’t just an academic journey it was a life one. I grew as a person and I had the best help during this time. I’ve always had good grades, nothing extraordinary but good enough. I used to feed off the energy of my other classmates. I used to compete with them, use them as a standard. But in year 9, I realized that the only competition I should be trying to beat is myself. I decided to look within for motivation, as opposed to looking around. I drew closer to God and I became much more determined, driven and focused. I knew I wanted to be a surgeon from a very young age so I enjoyed science classes, maybe not so much of physics. But still, I was doing what I loved and GSL set an environment in which I was supported and constantly challenged. My teachers were warm and friendly, so I was able to comfortably express myself. One of the ways I did so was through Drama. GSL has an annual Christmas show in which students perform a play in front of the entire school. It is one of the highlights of the academic year. I always participated in these shows.

The drama has always been something I loved and GSL gave me an opportunity to do that alongside my science classes, something not commonly done together. In my last year, I was given the honour of writing the school play, I was so happy and I felt so fulfilled seeing my long nights and disorganized thoughts being showcased in a well put together production. Several times, I felt like giving up but in my parents and my teachers, I found a shoulder to lean on; an ear to listen and a voice to guide. I discovered that effort goes a long way. I realized that hard work can turn an A into an A*. I ceased to settle for ‘good enough’ upon this realization. I pursued and still pursue the highest level that can be possibly achieved. I know now that we have to keep pushing ourselves because there is always something better to be attained. Although my journey isn’t over, with my experience at GSL, I was well prepared for stepping into the outside world.

How did your time in Greensprings School prepare you for the IGCSE?

Well IGCSE is an examination that is literally hammered into your head right from the first day of year 9. GSL has their own exams and I believe that these were considerably difficult in order to make students ‘buckle up’ and study harder. In year 10 you pick classes for IGCSE, right from that moment, teachers start preparing you. The questions you’re faced with on tests and exams are standard IGCSE style so by the end of year 10, you are familiar with the kind of questions that would be on the exams. I recall us getting heavy past question booklets on the first day of year 11, my teachers’ idea of a welcome back gift. We had two mock exams prior to the examinations so teachers could pinpoint our weaknesses and strength.

Those booklets I spoke about were like our textbooks. I remember my chemistry teacher went over the syllabus so many times, to make sure that we understood 100 %. In the drama, we’d watch the monologues of previous years so often, I memorized their scripts. GSL teachers do not take chances, it was like they were taking the exams with us. Few weeks before the exams started, we were bundled up and taken for an intensive study camp. We had one on one interactions with teachers. They would stay up all night studying with us. It was just so motivating and honestly, teachers would give you they're all. We had a lot of pep talks and counselling sessions. I’ll always remember them saying “ your success is our success”. Once the examinations began, it was just like I was writing a third mock exam

What challenges did you face and how did you deal with them?

My major challenge was being calm despite all that was going on. I remember how difficult it was to design a realistic set for our group devised play in Drama. We actually went to Lagos Island market In search of beads and artefacts. I struggled to manage my time because I had to rehearse all the plays and make it in time to Biology review sessions and still carve out time for the other subjects I was taking. I actually was so overwhelmed until the guidance counsellor suggested I take some time off weekly to just relax and do something I enjoyed. She also helped me form a timetable that I religiously followed. This helped me reduce my stress levels. I also had regular sessions with her to deal with my anxiety. So going into the exam hall, I was calmer and level-headed. I believe this helped me perform better.

What are you currently doing?

Currently, I’m going into my second year of college. I’m a biological science major and I’m actually on a pre-med track.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In five years by God’s grace, I should be in my second year of medical school at Johns Hopkins University. I’m actually still pursuing acting as a hobby. Although I don’t have as much time to write plays, I hope to have one of my plays acted on a big screen.

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