I worked as a cleaner while pregnant in school – Single mother who bagged 1st class

A single mum and entrepreneur, Blessing Chukwuma, has shared the challenges she encountered in her quest to graduate from the university.

She recently went viral for bagging a first class in Computer Science from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.58.

According to the young woman, she initially wanted to leave school for a year after getting pregnant in 200 level, but with the right advise from the HOD, she found a smart way to balance her academics with motherhood and business.

I worked as a cleaner while pregnant in school - Single mother who bagged 1st class

Speaking in an interview, Blessing said she had to work as a cleaner because she wanted to be responsible for financing her education.

She said; “It was very difficult because I was holding a political position then. I was the deputy governor of the School of Computing in FUTA and was popular among the students. So I became a topic of gossip and even overheard some people talking about me behind my back. It dampened my spirit, but I had to pull myself together.

At a point, I stopped caring about the gossip. Also, I was the one responsible for financing my education and I had to work during pregnancy. It was not easy finding a job in that condition, as most employers would not want to employ a pregnant woman. I then decided to take up menial jobs. I even worked as a cleaner while pregnant. When I was heavily pregnant and could no longer continue with menial jobs, I started working for my landlady. I was helping her to sell at her shop, while she fed me. That was how I managed till I gave birth. After I gave birth, I started working in a restaurant very close to the school.”

Blessing added; “I was in the 200 level and felt so confused. I didn’t know what to do afterward. The father of my child, who is now my ex-boyfriend, wanted me to abort the pregnancy, but I disagreed with him. Then, we planned that I would get a condonation (a fee that students have to pay if they do not have the required attendance at the end of the semester or year) form to allow me to leave school for a year. I got the form, but the process of approval involved going through the student affairs officer, head of department, and other offices.

So while processing the form, I was questioned about my reason for wanting to leave school. I said it was due to financial constraints. I kept giving them the same answer when I got to the various offices. On getting to my HoD, he volunteered to pay my school fees because my grades were good. That was when I finally told him the truth about my pregnancy. He told me that there were other pregnant students in the school and advised me to continue with my education. I thought about his advice and decided to go back to school.”

On how she managed to bag a first class despite raising a child and running a business, the graduate said; “It was slightly difficult because if you study hard, it won’t be so difficult. I studied smartly because I didn’t have a lot of time to study, unlike other students. I was also managing my business and catering to my child, whom I welcomed while I was in 200-level. I had to come up with a study plan so that I wouldn’t have to go through all the course materials while studying. It was a combination of smart reading and time management.”