Meet Rufai Basirat Oluwadamilola, the best graduating student, Pharmacy UI class of 2018/2019. She gave a hindsight into her life experiences, dreams and everything. Her story is a reflection of consistency, and so much of an inspiration.
Can you kindly introduce yourself?
My name is Rufai Basirat Oluwadamilola. I am from Abeokuta, Ogun State. I am 22 years old. I fill the 3rd position in my family out of 4. I am a recent graduate of Pharmacy from the Premier University of Ibadan (2018/2019 set, B. Pharm.)
Why the profession “Pharmacy?”
Well, I have always been enthusiastic to be an health professional right from my secondary school days, but I didn’t really like Medicine actually. So for my love of chemistry and biology, the best option I could go for was Pharmacy, and I am glad I chose the course.
Can you highlight your academic feat, including distinctions and CGPA?
Okay. I got a CGPA of 6.9/7.0
I also bagged Distinctions in all Pharmacy courses including Clinical Pharmacy, which is very rare for students to get a distinction in. So I got distinctions in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmacognosy, Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy, Social and Administrative Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Did you ever see this feat coming?
Hmmm… Somehow. I said somehow because I almost got discouraged after my 200 level, where I had a low score in Zoology and Anatomy in my 100L and 200L respectively and those courses reduced my CGPA. After my 300 level and 400 level, I realized I had 7 points in all of my courses. I saw it coming; the more reason I had to put more efforts in my 500 level.
While you were in school, did you engage in any extracurricular activities? If yes, what were they?
Yes I did.
I was a member of Pharmalead Club and at a point, the head of public health thematic in the club where I organized a first aid training for Pharmacy students, facilitated by the Red Cross Society, UI detachment. I also engaged in so many religious activities being a member of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN). During my 200L days, I was the assistant librarian of MSSN. In my 400L, I was appointed the Chairperson of Sisters’ Seminar Organizing Committee where I organized a befitting Sisters’ seminar for over 500 sisters. In my final year, I was also appointed the role of Assistant secretary of the Finalist Forum Committee responsible for organizing programs for the Finalists. I attended trainings, programmes and conferences within and outside the school. One of the trainings I attended was focused on “Strengthening Interprofessional Education in HIV Care and management” and that made me more interested in HIV Care and management. I also participated in some PANS week activities like health outreach, dinner, cultural night and the likes. Basically, I had a social life while in school, but I also wish I had more.
How were you able to combine it with the rigor of pharmacy school, considering that studying pharmacy is time consuming?
I always have this mindset of doing the right thing at the right time. Basically, I am not a fan of piling up notes, so most of the time, I read as we are being taught. Also, during tests and exams, I go into hibernation mode. I am not also a fan of late night reading, so I use my weekend very judiciously. I stay indoor reading from morning till night, and the only break I get is probably to cook and also go for prayer. If I am to go for any program or when I was a member of some of the committees I mentioned earlier, I always have a way of fixing my time for any of the meetings or programs. I am a good time manager, lol, so I know how to compensate one for the other.
Did you find pharmacy school challenging as most students claim?
Yes it is. Due to the nature of our exams, (i.e The marathon race), if I can put it that way. It is usually very challenging having to prepare for each course each day. These courses are not just mere courses, rather bulky notes one have to read.
What’s your reading culture like?
I do morning till night. When I wake up in the morning, I pray. After prayer, I probably get about 30 minutes rest, and immediately I start reading. My reading time usually starts around 7 a.m. My maximum reading capacity is usually around 3 hours. So after about 3 hours, I feel very tired and stressed already. I take a little time to rest, say about 15-30 minutes. During that time, I could munch on corn flakes or coco pops. Lol. Then I resume again. After about 2 hours again, I feel tired. I take that time to pray and also probably get something to eat. I rest a little while and also resume back. So I do this till evening, but I do go for prayers in between. So by evening, like I said usually around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m, I shut down. Most times, I take that time to go outside with my friend and chill out or probably check Instagram or sleep, depending on what I feel like doing. That’s my usual reading pattern during the weekend.
Now that you have graduated, is there anything you wish you did while you were in school?
Yes, that I participated more in extracurricular activities I guess.
Share with us your toughest experience in school and how you were able to overcome it?
My toughest moment was during my 500L project. The project was not easy and at a point, I got tired of everything, but I was able to overcome with the support of my friends.
You must have had some fond memories about your time in pharmacy school, can you share your most exciting one?
Well, I had so many, but one of them was during my 500L exams. My birthday was on a Saturday, just before my Clinical Pharmacy exam on a Monday. And usually, clinicals exam is always like “we die here” during preparation because of the bulk of the course. So because of my exam, I could not really enjoy the birthday but my friend promised to take me out in the evening since I was not a night reader like that too. But I was scared because I was just on the 7th material that Saturday evening out of over 20 materials. My room mate gingered me to go which I did, when I came back, I was very tired, stressed as well as scared. So I slept off. But the following day, it was “we really die here” reading I did and we thank God, the result came out fine and I am glad I went out that night because it was like a stress relieving moment for me.
What’s your Relationship status?
It Is often said that being a distinction student is all about book, how did you venture into becoming an entrepreneur?
Lol. The entrepreneur idea came in during the lockdown period. My mum sells accessories and I decided to tap into her grace. I also love doing business, so I took that opportunity during the break and I am glad the BB LuxuryAffairs brand is becoming well known.
What’s your take about community pharmacy, which is like a safe haven for pre-interns with the intent burden of “over-use and underpay scheme structure for I.T students?
Hmm. Well, community Pharmacy like you said is like a friendly home for most Pharmacy students. It is usually one of the apsects of pharmacy practice that is well known to the public. Community pharmacies are also different from one another, so I wouldn’t want to generalize. But from some of the feedbacks we do hear for pre-interns, some over-use and underpay, some do not pay IT students and we still have some that pay with due diligence. So, it all depends on the community Pharmacy.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself being a successful pharmacist paving ways in the area of research. I also see myself being addressed as a Dr. already Lol. I see myself winning in the area of pharmacy practice I delve into and also encouraging younger colleagues. Then, I see myself married with kids too.
What’s your perceptive of leadership?
Leadership is the ability to work together with team members to achieve a common goal or interest. In leadership, there should be a common goal we are all working to achieve. As a leader, one must be able to motivate your members and also extend listening ears to them. Leadership is different from ruling, in the sense that you are all working together to achieve something. No one is really above the other, but being appointed as a leader is just to guide other members, so that the purpose of the team can be achieved successfully. I see leadership as an aspect one has to build necessary skills on because a leader is not born but made.
Any words of advice to your younger colleagues?
My word of advice is, “be determined and consistent. Also, do the right thing at the right time. It is also important to figure out yourself, your reading pattern, time you are most active and the likes. Just be yourself. Do not imitate others, rather do what suit you and what is best for you. Sometimes, things may not go as planned, but it is best not to give up. Also, it is important to commit everything to the hands of our creator. Pray as much as you work hard.”
Finally; who would you like to give your biggest shout-out to?
My biggest shout out goes to my parents (my No 1 support system), my siblings, my Maryam hostel mates, my senior (Pharm. Roheemah), my classmates and to my best friends, Bello Yakub and Bankole Abdullah for being a great support system.
Thanks for your time Basirat