Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Life Insurance, Ghana, Gideon Ataraire has disclosed that he dropped out of university due to financial constraints in the second semester of his first year.
Gideon Ataraire made this revelation in an interview with Lexis Bill on Joy FM‘s Personality Profile.
According to him, his university days were the most challenging moments in his life. However, successfully going through that period developed resilience and a ‘never say die’ attitude.
“Getting into university was very tough for me. In level 100 I did the first semester, and in the second semester, I couldn’t cope because there was no money. I couldn’t cope with all the bills, all the fees, registering courses, so I had to drop out. It was very sad for my parents,” he recounted.
“But when I dropped out I started working, I started teaching and started doing a lot of things to save up some money,” he added.
The Alliance Life Insurance CEO said after he had gathered enough funds, he went back to Level 200 hoping to continue his studies.
But the Head of Department (HOD) insisted that Mr Ataraire did not meet the requirements to continue studies where he left off, a development which made him very sad.
However, his hope was revived when the HOD said ‘except’, meaning there was hope although he did not understand what the lecturer was saying as it was too technical for his young mind to comprehend.
Eventually, his grades and GPA from the first semester were reassessed following which he narrowly made the cut.
“So he (Head of Department) checked and came back with the good news. He said ‘wow!’ okay and then they started assisting me,” he recounted.
Mr Ataraire said when he was enrolled back at the university, the challenges did not end. He encountered more difficulties in his subsequent years as he still struggled to pay his fees.
“Whilst in the second semester of level 200, I was writing level 200 exams and level 100 exams at the same time. It was crazy, that’s one of the most challenging periods of my life,” he said.
“The saddest part of the story is there were days when I would write exams with an empty stomach. One of my aunties and immediate younger sister who just finished SHS and was working backed me up with her salary that was how they paid my fees in level 200,” he recounted.
In his third year, although he had accommodation, he was still unable to pay his tuition fees and was subsequently removed from the exam hall for non-payment of his fees.
“Level 300 was bad because I couldn’t pay my fees but I had accommodation, I was driven out of my exam hall, the first paper. The Dean of the Faculty noticed and called me in, saying they should allow me to write the paper.
“At level 400, I was at the verge of dropping out again until I was rescued by somebody in the nick of time with some amount of money.”
Mr Ataraire said he was rescued again in his final year in level 400, by a young lady who used her house rent to help pay his fees in order not to lose everything he had struggled hard for.
He revealed that he felt terrible when the lady’s rent expired and he didn’t have the money to pay her back. He was in so much distress that it caught the attention of his Head of Department who intervened.
“Just when I was going through that anxiety, the HOD saw me, he looked at my face and said something is wrong with me. I said no. He dragged me to his office, shut his door and interviewed me.
“I couldn’t explain so I just started crying. He also started shedding tears. He felt so bad and said I just punished myself for nothing, the school would have helped me throughout all of these. It was the HOD who gave me the money that I used to refund the lady’s rent.”
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