One of the new medical doctors, MISS OYELEYE LATEEFAH ABIOLA, was named the overall best graduating student from both the Faculty of Medicine and in a course offered by the entire students of the university. In this interview, she narrates her journey, challenges and outstanding success.

 

Question: Can you briefly tell me about your background?

Answer: I am Miss Oyeleye Lateefah Abiola. I’m from a quite large family, a happy one though. I was born and raised in Ibadan, Oyo state, where I attended primary and secondary schools respectively. I had my primary educational at Fountain Private School, my junior secondary school at Muslim Grammar School and further went to Ad-din International College where I completed my secondary education.

I moved on to Osun State University Osogbo to study medicine; studied for 3 years before we got stagnated due to lack of accreditation and the Osun State Government came to our rescue.

My dad has a transporting business; quite strict,  but has his children’s great interest at heart. He is a great influence in my life; he is a very responsible man. My mum is into buying and selling.  She is the liberal one. I guess that makes it a balanced equation.

 

Question: How do you feel as the best graduating student in medicine?

Answer: I feel really elated.  I feel accomplished; although, I know there is a lot of work ahead, I mean this is just the starting point. I am also happy because I finally proved to myself that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well and that hard work pays. So,  generally,  I feel happy and grateful.

 

Question: Have you always been at the top of your class?

Answer: I wouldn’t say specifically, but I have always been a good student. I had good grades throughout my study,  but in our first professional exam,  I didn’t have the best result, I had the second best result; so, I knew I had to work harder. Sincerely, it’s actually not about good grades only for me; it’s always been about being a great doctor.

The first professional exam was written about three years ago. It’s like an equivalent to the first MBBS exam written in Nigeria.

Question: Tell me about your challenges in school and how you overcame them?

Answer: The first challenge I had as a medical student was coping with the large syllabus in a very short time. We had a lot of things to do in such a small amount of time. So, I had to learn time management, pace myself so I wouldn’t lag behind.

Another major challenge I think every medical student faces[sic] which I also faced was how to remember the things I have read after a long time. This was a big one, I had to constantly try to remember stuff, I mean retrieving information from my memory even when I don’t need them. All these challenges really helped me and also I had to study with a lot of online teachers. There are so many on YouTube, the videos are free.  Another thing that helped me study better was investing in good books; I have my dad to thank. Those are some of the challenges I faced.

Question: What lessons has your journey taught you?

Answer: First lesson, hard work pays. Also, perseverance, asking questions and prayers are important ingredients to success. I learnt all these from my own story.

 

Question: Why did you study medicine, in the first place?

Answer: I wouldn’t go along with the cliché response of ‘I studied medicine because I want to save lives’, no. In the beginning, teaching was my passion,  but I didn’t just want to be a teacher; I wanted to be a teacher with a difference, I wanted to teach how to save lives, so I decided to study medicine, that way I get to be a doctor and a teacher at the same time, which I still want to do, but over the years I have come to fall in love with medicine, I want that instant gratification of treating a patient and seeing them get better right in front of you, I mean that is the definition of joy for me.

So, I studied medicine because I wanted to have two established lifesaving careers, being a doctor and being a teacher.




Question: What do you think about the fact that a lot of first class graduates are still job hunting?

Answer: You mean in Nigeria? It’s very heartbreaking, but I think it boils down to the fact that Nigeria is an overpopulated country and you need more than just a degree to be recognized as extraordinary.

 

Question: What else did you get yourself into apart from study?

Answer: When I was in my third/fourth year, I was an Oriflame consultant. Oriflame is a beauty company that deals in a lot of beauty products and after I wrote my final exams, I learnt make up.

I’m not exactly a very social person, but I attend social events when I chance to[sic].  I am very outspoken person; so,  I do a lot of debates and public speaking and like I said earlier, I enjoy teaching. So,  I teach,  but not commercially but for free.

 

Question: How about entrepreneurship?

Answer: Yes, I would love to go into business, have a big pharmacy. I also want to have a chain of well equipped diagnostic centers in Nigeria where people can do all sorts[sic]  of medical investigations because there are not so many of that in Nigeria and it’s really affecting our health system.

 

Question: Your study was put on hold at UNIOSUN due to non-accreditation for lack of a standard teaching hospital, how did you feel then?

Answer: I felt really sad. I saw my dreams almost crashing down in front of me. I thought all hope was lost, but God came into the picture through the Osun state Government and I am very grateful for that.

 

Question: Governor Aregbesola later came to your rescue by sending you to Ukraine to complete your studies,  but government sponsored 87 out of 98 medical students?

Answer: Yes, the government paid all expenses, but some people decided not to come. But everyone who showed interest was sponsored.

 

Question: So, you are part of success stories of Aregbesola led regime?

Answer: Yes, I am very thankful to the government of the State of Osun.



Question: How did you feel on your convocation day?

Answer: I felt so happy. I have never been celebrated like that in my life. There was so much love and appreciation in the air. It was really overwhelming.

I also saw that day as the beginning of other great things in my life and above all I am very grateful to God.






Question: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Answer: 10 years would do it for me. In 10 years by God’s grace,  I would be a consultant cardiologist, a senior lecturer and great teacher to my students. I would be on my way to becoming a professor.  I would be a wife and [ a] mother.



NB: THIS INTERVIEW, CONDUCTED BY TAIWO OKANLAWON, WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON NIGERIA POLITICS ONLINE.


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