By Agatha N. Biira
Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Statistics was not always Wani Daniel’s dream, but rather something he had to do. When he was younger, he was interested in computer and phone games. He always told himself that this was a field he would pursue his career in.
“I have always had a keen interest in technology. Most of the electronics that are spoilt at home are because of me, “Wani said. “I was an inquisitive child. Every time a parent or visitor left their phone or computer lying around, I found myself drawn to it, trying to press things. “
Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, that was not the path he took when he joined Uganda Christian University (UCU). But today, he graduates as the best student in his class with a first-class degree of 4.41 out of 5.00.
He attributes his success to attending all the lectures. “I was the class representative of my class, and as a leader, students tend to believe in you. So, most of the time when they had issues in class, maybe understanding a concept, I was among the people they would come to for assistance, “Wani said. “Of course, as a leader, you don’t want to look vulnerable. So, I was forced to do a lot of research and help other people.”
He also recalls his friends telling him that they needed a first class and it was this pressure that kept him pushing. “Initially, my class had issues when COVID-19 broke out. Teaching mathematics online has become complex. So, when my friends realized that my performance was relatively better than theirs, they told me, “You are closer than we are. So don’t let us down, “Wani added.
In the beginning, Wani did not see Economics and Statistics as the course for him since he had always wanted to do I.T. Prior to joining UCU, Wani had applied to Makerere University and Kyambogo University, where he had been given information technology and computer science courses. But his parents had preferred UCU since his siblings had been there too.
“So, in the first semester, I was reluctant. I wasn’t at all interested in studying the course. My performance was not really good. I had a CGPA of 3.92, which was good but not excellent. I wasn’t even among the top performers,” he said.
He felt bad that he was not doing the course he had always wanted to do. But, he had an uncle who encouraged him and told him that he could always tweak things and find his way back to what he wanted in the future. “It did not make sense at that point because I had to go by my parents’ decision,” Wani said.
As time went on, he did research, trying to link his course to the world of technology, and that was how he discovered data science. “I said to myself, why don’t I get my head in the game, perform in this course, and see what next? Maybe I can advance later on something I want,” Wani said. He then took an interest in the course and started working hard, which continued for the rest of the semesters.
Wani talking about how he managed to get a first class in his last semester
Hillary Muhumuza, one of Wani’s friends, described him as a very intelligent and hard-working person. “He has been our class representative and he really supported each person. He didn’t leave anyone behind, “Muhumuza said.
When Wani joined UCU, he never wanted to be associated with certain people, but that is different now. Studying foundation courses such as Old Testament, Ethics, and Worldviews has changed how he views the world. He remembers challenging one of his lectures on why they were having such classes instead of extra computer or coding classes, but he was told that he would realize their relevance as time went on.
“I thought it was useless to study them, but they deepened my understanding of politics and the moral dynamics of the world. I became open-minded and it is because of this that I now relate with people of different ideologies, “he said.
Wani intends to do a postgraduate degree in applied data science. “What my uncle told me that things happen for a reason now makes sense. If I had gone ahead and done IT or Computer Science, then I would have probably never taken an interest in data science, “he said.