Zubaida Idris Saeed is a medicine student who graduated with 11 honorary awards from the Usman Dan Fodio University. In an interview with Daily Trust, she narrates her experiences and plans moving forward.
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I chose medicine because it has been my dream to assist womenfolk and find ways to better their lives. I love seeing smiles on the faces of new moms and I wish to ease whatever fertility issues they might be passing through. In my opinion, I find medicine to be very rewarding and it is a way of showing love to humanity.
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Did you see these honours as a surprise?
It was actually less of a surprise for me. This was because our results are usually placed in such a way that the performance of individual members of the class would be clearly seen and also rated. Therefore, everyone is aware of who has what score and who is likely to win any award.
Could you please mention the awards you received?
At my graduation ceremony, I received a total of 11 awards. They include best in Internal medicine, best in Community medicine, best in Surgery, best graduating female student, best graduating clinical student, overall best graduating student, NMA award and provost award. As the overall best graduating students, there were also some individual and association awards that were presented to me which include; Prof Kufreh’s award, ASMEDA award, MDCAN award.
Out of all these awards, which is dearest to you?
Receiving the overall best graduating student meant so much to me. It takes a lot to be noticed amongst a crowd and be praised. Because of school work, I lost out on friendships and social engagements and had to focus more on my books. These awards were a compensation for all the hard work and efforts I put in. I had colleagues who did equally well as I did, but to receive these awards only proved that my efforts over time were not in vain.
How were you able to achieve these feats?
It came as a result of hard work, prayers, perseverance, consistency, patience. It was not an easy journey. As a student, you are bound to face moments of backlash and setbacks, they were times I felt I couldn’t move on and they were times I’d feel energised and elated to keep pushing. For example, whenever I see my results after an exam and I passed, it proved that my efforts had paid off and if I were to be consistent, there was nothing stopping me from achieving my goals.
How do you feel to have been recognized and honoured this way?
Honestly, I feel very glad and fulfilled. I feel blessed because it has brought so much joy and smiles to the faces of my parents, my spouse and people who supported me along the way. I’m grateful to God for presenting me with such an opportunity. To me, I see it as a stepping stone to many more achievements.
This couldn’t have cost you nothing, so can you tell us some of things you had to forgo to be where you are today?
Nothing good in life comes without a price and these achievements aren’t an exception. I spent so much time studying, day and night, as a result I had little or no time to build a social life or engage in any form of extracurricular activities. Any little opportunity I had, I would prefer to rest or meditate on what my next plan of action was. I barely had the chance to attend weddings and naming ceremonies of my friends because I had less contact with my friends and even my family too. I spent most of my time in school. In a year, I spent only a month or two at home with my family.
Was there a time you almost gave up on your dreams? If yes, please tell us your experience?
I’m a very optimistic person and I often take a huge chance in believing in myself and my goals, I don’t believe in giving up, it has never been an option I considered. I always try to give my best efforts even though sometimes it could seem like things are becoming more challenging. If at any point I feel my workload is taking a toll on me, I withdraw myself first from the situation, redirect my focus and begin to work on other things that aren’t related to medicine and when I have that sorted out, I come back to my success journey and keep pushing to achieve the goals I have set in mind. I do not have a specific experience; however, I know they were definitely times I felt worked up, stressed and needed a break.
What are your plans going forward?
My plan for the future is to strive harder and become an outstanding consultant obstetrician gynaecologist. I also plan to be financially buoyant enough to sponsor three surgeries for patients who are suffering from vaginal fistula. This is because this group of women who suffering from this illness are in a very pitiful condition and they need all the help they can’t get, physically and psychologically. I also wish to assist women who are facing any kind of fertility issue as the IVF method is not readily affordable to everyone.
What tips do you have for those reading this and desiring these feats?
I always tell people the most important thing one can do in any success journey is to believe in themselves. Yes, there will be days that you may be faced with challenges, days your will and spirit will be low. However, you must continue to strive. Remember the reasons you set your goal in the first place, encourage yourself and keep positive people around you so you can draw support from them. Be prayerful because there’s only so much you can achieve on your own. To make the best out of anything, you must involve God. Ensure proper time management; be conscious of how you spend your time. Persevere and strive harder always.