INTERVIEW: Treading the Right Paths ( Series 1)

Khadeejah Ademola.

The first few weeks of any new engagement is always difficult. Being specific, the effects of novelty on the fresh students cannot be over emphasized: the anxiety of being fresh, the complication of goal setting, being in a relationship, and maintaining a balance between academics and extracurricular activities.

In order to adapt with this new endeavours, one must be flexible, ready to take on new challenges and able to adjust. To this, Adh-Dhikr Press deem it important to pave the way for the newly-admitted students. We are determined to get role models and mentors for students whom we recognize as vanguards of Islam.

Across all faculties, we have randomly selected outstanding students who ace in balancing academics and relevant extracurricular activities. We believe these people’s values are worthy of emulation. It should be noted that the most important part of having a role model is so that you can become the best version of yourself. You are your own person and a role model just gives you something to emulate and guidelines to follow, you can however decide to take that which suits you and leave out that which you don’t find worthy.

Here’s Abdulhammed Babatunde, a medical student at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is passionate about improving the well-being and health of Africans. He’s a budding global health researcher, a social innovator, and a serial volunteer.

Hard work or talent, which has contributed to his achievements?

Well, it's a bit tricky because I'm not the only one that works hard and I won't bank on my talent, so I'll just say it's Almighty Allah's fate. Although both hard work and talent also contributed to my achievements. 

I'm a budding global researcher, a serial volunteer. As a global researcher, I've published about 13 research projects in the international journals, I have presented in about two international conferences. My research interest is basically digital health, global health, HIV/AIDS and mental health. I am currently the chairperson of the standing committee on medical education and research for FAMSA (Federation of African Medical Students' Associations). I am also a youth research facilitator for the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR). 
As a social innovator, I cofounded The Innovation and Design thinking Academy (TIDA) with a colleague in the University of Ilorin. We seek to create digital environment for innovative thoughts to thrive especially among Nigerian students by training aspiring innovators on how to innovate and build new products that will solve societal problems in Africa. I'm also working on a project called "MyBelle" which is aimed at improving the pregnancy experience of pregnant moms in Nigeria and reduce childhood and maternal mortality. I have participated in a number of innovation challenges. I also volunteer with a number of NGOs.  I am the director of research and development at SmileBuilders Initiative, founder/director of Healthy Africans Platform and ambassador for the Asido Campus Network. I am also a freelance graphics designer.

He ranked College of medicine, University of Ibadan among the best in Sub-sahara Africa. However, he still believe there is a need for improvement to pay more attention to developing students for the outside world by focusing on improving technological advancement and research in the faculty and making life more comfortable for students.

His view about studying ahead of classes, tests and exam:

It's very good to study ahead of classes and exams. However it's very difficult to study ahead of classes in my department. But it's advisable to study ahead of tests and exams so you wouldn't have to crash read. Crash reading can be very disastrous, and increases risk of failure.

The Reality of looking into extracurricular activities

Presently, I don't feel like I've done so much that someone wants to be like me but perhaps better than me. For medical students that want to engage in extracurricular activities like me, I want you to understand that there's always not a balance. You might have to sacrifice some classes, a little drop in your grade. But you have to be able to cut down some social activities in order to give time to partake in extracurricular activities. You will also have to connect with people all around the globe through social media platforms like LinkedIn. Also try to be consistent with your study schedule.

The Versatility: why?

Basically because I've interacted with people who were involved in extracurricular activities and were still doing pretty well with academics before i got admitted. I've also had experience with setbacks from sticking with academics alone when I was seeking for admission outside the country. Extra curricular activities give room for a lot of opportunities especially after graduation. Moreso I'm also a person that it's quite easy for me to combine both.

A bed of roses?

One challenge I think about is having to do many things alone because most people view me as someone that's perfect, hence we don't get to have deep conversations. It is also a challenge to get people to engage in extracurricular activities with the same zeal. But I try to stimulate interest of close people. I also collaborate with people virtually a lot. Although the challenge is not totally mitigated.

Abdulhameed also has some things he would have loved to do.

Before I resumed into UI, I wasted about 8 months doing nothing. I wished I had used that time to improve on Islamic knowledge, Qur'an Memorization and Learning digital skills like coding. But I thank God for what I've been able to achieve so far.

The Motivation, despite all odds. background most likely because I've seen the other side and my siblings are also my source of inspiration. We're rewriting the story and all praise to Allah.

Any setback? Alhamdulilah, I can not say I have had any setback financially, emotionally, academically or spiritually. Academically, I set my goals and I'm able to achieve them and I'm also trying to improve on my spirituality.

The Secret behind the ace

[Laughs]I do not know your definition of acing exams. But being consistent and starting very early has been helpful. Also group studying and discussions. I also try to develop my self confidence. Alhamdulillah.

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