A president once said in his famous speech, “Ask not what your country will do for you but what you can do for your country”. In the spirit of the celebration of democracy of my beloved country, Nigeria and in witnessing the recent Presidential handover, I ponder on these words.
I remember applying for the Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship and an essay question was presented asking applicants how undertaking their proposed graduate study would be of benefit to my home country (Apparently, I wrote quite the compelling essay… If not, why am I even blogging here?). It goes to show that nothing is really all about you and nothing is really for free. With someone gives you an opportunity or gift, a lot more are waiting to receive and benefit from that gift. You have an immediate responsibility to utilize that opportunity to improve not only yourself immediate environment, community and/or country.
This is my message to students especially scholarship holders. Yes, education is a right, but it is also a gift and an opportunity. And where I come from, quality education is even more precious. So, when you work on that research, project, invention or paper, courtesy of your grant or scholarship, think about how it is much more than your career/educational advancement or churning out excellent scientific papers. Think of the bigger picture; to improve health, technology and socio-economic sectors of your immediate or global community. To be a blessing to mankind. By making other lives better, your life is more fulfilling and by making other people shine, you shine even brighter.
So before I turn this to a boring motivational write-up, let me get down to my actual studies.
As usual, it has been assignments and discussions and more assignments and deadlines with my studies. I am undertaking a very interesting course, the final for this session called “Applied Epidemiology in Public Health”. To be sincere, I was very skeptical about enrolling for this course. I knew I really needed the course as a Public Health professional but the amount of data analysis expertise that accompanied it was a bit of a scare. I wouldn’t say I fancied data analysis so much till now, but welcome to public/global health, where you must be able to analyze data. I also asked my course supervisor for advice in one of our Skype sessions and she guided me alright. Now that I’m into it, it’s really not as bad as I thought and I believe (and I am working hard) to do much better than I initially expected I would in this course.
Interestingly, in the last two weeks, we have had a guest come in and interact with us on ‘Outbreak Investigation’ - the topic at the time. She works in a governmental public health institution in Scotland. She was with us over a period of two weeks and she was great at answering the questions that we (students) had. I find bringing her to the platform for those two weeks as a very good move on the part of the course lecturers. It is a good way of simulating a real classroom environment where guest lecturers and professionals are invited to interact and share some of their experiences including real-life application of students’ coursework. I look forward to seeing more of that in my journey as an ODL student in University of Edinburgh.