Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hello Everyone!

Today started on a cold dry note that comes with the harmattan season in Nigeria. As usual, the weather is cold (for a tropical environment) and dry, the environment is very dusty and excitement is building up everywhere for the upcoming end-of-year holidays. As expected, the Christmas/New Year holidays mean a lot to people all over the world and based on background, environment, culture and personal experiences, it entails varying activities. Well for me, apart from the usual colors, ceremonies, fanfare and religious activities, the Christmas holidays mean lots of exciting reunions with friends and families. There are parties, get-togethers, church programs, live concerts, road trips, picnics, short vacations and other social activities that keep you afloat and refreshed till you are sorry when it is all over.  I think that for most Nigerians, this period is almost an equivalent of the summer break in the western world. Therefore, these holidays are annual robust experiences that I always look forward to and that I am grateful for.

As an ODL student, the holidays mean ….. well …. HOLIDAYS! Currently, I have completed my semester courses and I presume that most full time students should be currently rounding up with their exams now.

This session, studying has indeed been quite exciting and engaging. My last two courses were basically focused on “Zoonotic diseases” with topics skittering around global efforts at zoonotic disease control. As my colleagues and I (together with our course supervisor) discussed on these topics together we were introduced to a globally relevant topic that has been trending for a while now in development circles. Just in case you seemed to have missed it, I introduce to you to the Sustainable Development Goals, also known in its short form as SDGs. The SDGs is a new global development agenda with a target timeline for 2030 that builds on the Millennium Development Goals (which ends this year). The goals spread its focuses on various key pillars of development that need to be addressed in our present world. These issues as shown in the diagram below include health, poverty alleviation, economic development, inequalities, environmental protection, climate change, global security etc.

Most of our class discussions on SDGs centered around the 3rd SDG as that goal had the core relevance to our studies and profession in global health. Generally, these courses gave all of us the opportunity to contribute thoughts, experiences and suggestions on the SDGs and how to bring about its effective implementation. Based on our course discussions on the SDGs, we all agreed that it is necessary for the SDGs to move from simple rhetoric to core implementation in all sectors and communities worldwide.

Therefore, as we go about our daily lives, this is a global wake-up call for everyone irrespective of profession, socioeconomic status, race and religion to work cohesively and stay united in the quest to positively sustain our world to secure our future. This unity is even more essential in light of the recent global threats to human security which if not tackled wisely, might lead to a structural breakdown of civilization and have a negative ripple effect on other pillars of development. Therefore, our unity in purpose, efforts and actions towards holistic sustainable development is necessary and we all need to consciously lay aside our differences to work out vision 2030 towards our safety and well-being. To maintain this for ourselves and our future generations, our health must be promoted, environment must be sustained, our economies must be developed and our lives must be secured.
Vision SDG 2030 might seem like an over-ambitious, over-arching goal, but it can be achieved with each person's CONSCIOUS ACTON STEPS.

As we enjoy the holidays and spread cheer and goodwill, let this guide our thoughts towards the new year goals. For real, let each of us add at least one SDG to our resolutions and goals and ACT on them, who knows how much we might achieve?

Happy Holidays in advance!


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kigali III... And Now

Tuesday was business as usual as we received lectures from Ms Marshall Dozier, Ms Beatrice Niragire, Dr. Jenna Fyfe and Professor Michael Thrusfield. Professor Thrusfied continued his educative lectures on Basic statistics and Epidemiology with a core focus on observational studies.

Afterwards, Jenna gave a very fun and interactive talk on "Dissertations - students and supervisors". Together, we had detailed discussions on the expectations of respective dissertation students and supervisors during the dissertation year especially as an ODL student. Here, she gave us various advices and tips on establishing and improving our relationship with supervisors that will aid considerable progress in our respective dissertations and projects. She also shared some of her experiences as a dissertation supervisor and even invited one of her previous project student to share his experience when he worked with her on his dissertation.

Marshall then shared tips with us on dissertation and referencing. She was joined in this talk by Ms Beatrice Niragire, a Librarian from the University of Rwanda, who interestingly specializes in Public Health online resources. So together, Marshall and Beatrice gave an enlightening presentation with practical demonstrations on utilizing library resources, literature search, organization and referencing. Lest I forget, Marshall left for Edinburgh the same night as she had official duties to attend to at  UoE. We all gave her warm goodbye hugs and took beautiful goodbye pictures.

Marshall and I

Marshall and some GHA Summer School participants - Time to say goodbye...

Photo credits: Yusuf Alimi and Kikiope Oluwarore

The day ended way beyond schedule and I was left with no choice but to get some well-deserved rest and attend to some personal and official business. However, some of us went for a fun night-out at an Italian restaurant in the city.

And there went another #GHAKigali experience.

So, a little dish on the present….
This session has been an interesting and speedy one so far. Maybe because I am taking a total 6 courses throughout the duration of the session, everything just seems to be so short and so fast.  Currently, I have a new tutor and my previous tutor is the coordinator for my current course - Zoonotic diseases. Zoonoses is a field I am particularly interested in because of its relevance to my educational background, career, my country and other sub-saharan African communities.

We have been given our term assignments, the format of which frankly took me aback at first. In this assignment, we have been presented with a hypothetical call for application for funding of a research project on a selected zoonotic disease. Each of us would submit an application to the to the hypothetical Trust and then undertake a guided peer-reviewed assessment of each others’ application.  Though, I was initially surprised at this assignment format is not som, I quickly realized that this was a real-life scenario presented before us. At some point in our career, most of us would be required to apply this knowledge. Infact, as researchers, scientists, academicians, clinicians, public health and development workers working in our various fields and questions in the health sector, this was an aspect that none of us could avoid in our profession. And I got to really appreciate the ingenuity of the course supervisor in using this to challenge our thinking and helping us to make resourceful use and application of the knowledge that we are acquiring.

.... Until next time!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Something about Kigali (II)

Monday at the Hilltop Hotel, Kigali Rwanda started on a very cold note (for me coming from the tropics). I headed out just in time to grab a quick breakfast before heading to our seminar room at exactly 9:00am. By now, almost everyone (including participants and GHA officials) were seated. Later that morning, we would have ODL students from Kenya and another from Uganda arrive for the summer school. 

The day started with a warm welcome from the Summer School organizer, Lisa Wood, who we all later agreed was one of the most organized person in the world!  Afterwards, we all a good time introducing ourselves (all 20-something of us) giving short details on our course of study, area of work, countries and a little bit of fun-facts here and there.

Dr. Liz Grant then gave a welcome speech in which she reiterated the need for a multi-disciplinary one health approach to solving Global health challenges; a core focus of the Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh. She also discussed the newly established Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which she mentioned as a very core part of our lives as students and health professionals, as we work to make the world a healthier place for all. She also chipped in a short note on her passion/work in Palliative care and gave a brief introduction on Dr Mhiora Leng, our upcoming keynote speaker for the welcome dinner coming up later that evening. Generally, I found Dr. Grant’s speech quite moving and inspiring especially when she got to the topic of Palliative care and medicine. I had never given the subject that much thought until then and at that point, it suddenly became more meaningful and important to me. 

A short coffee break followed and then we had Professor Michael Thrusfield lecture us on some basics in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Of course, this was not the first time any of us had any encounter with Epidemiology and basic statistics but apparently, a good number of us had struggled with it in the past. However, Professor Thrusfield was such a patient and detailed teacher, as he took his time to start from scratch and give us building foundational blocks on Epidemiology and Biostatistics. We had frequent short practice times which were very helpful in applying our understanding of the topics. I met with him after the class for further explanation on some problems I had with the topic and he was indeed obliging.

After lunch (and lots of networking!), the sweet soft-voiced Ms. Marshall Dozier handled an interactive session with us where she spoke on tips and tricks of Literature search as a student of The University of Edinburgh. Ah… we learned so many erstwhile unknown tricks ranging from the use of Mendeley and endnotes to organization of files to accessiing full text of abstracts in journals etc. it was altogether a cohesive and interactive learning experience and Marshall was ever so patient to answer all of our questions.

This ended our session for the day but there we still a social event to later in the evening – the welcome dinner!

The Welcome dinner was one of the Summer School highlights for me. Now, without exactly planning it, Yusuf and I came dressed up in our traditional Nigerian attire. This caused quite a scene and in all modesty, I guess it added some color to the overall social gathering. After the initial networking session, Mhiora Leng was invited to give her speech on Palliative care and medicine. In the speech, she gave us some insights into her work especially in Uganda and around East Africa. She enlightened us on the need to promote Palliative care and institutionalize it in health systems in African communities. She also explained that Palliative care takes into consideration the emotional, spiritual, psychological and socioeconomic factors of health-care especially in cases of terminal illnesses. It was quite impactful and I am sure that everyone who listened had one or two key points to take away. I did.
 Yusuf and I in our ethnic Nigerian attire 

Excerpts from "Auld lang sang "

Picture credits - Charity Waweru

Thereafter, to keep the “party” going, we had song presentations from each table representatives. James Akoko taught us an interesting Kenyan folk song, I presented (after some “sabotaging”) a Yoruba song from my native Nigeria and Mhiora gave a nice rendition of an English song. Thereafter, Mhiora made us form a big circle (“….. like your mother’s cooking pot” - as said from my place in Nigeria) and we sang “Auld Lang Sang” while doing the accompanying Scottish dance. 

Later that evening, I thought, even though I was slightly frustrated with the hotel for their somewhat erratic internet connection and for the hot water tap that kept gushing out cold water, I was still glad to be in the beautiful city, Kigali.

.... Till the next series of #KigaliSummerSchool, Ciao!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Welcome ... And there's something about Kigali.

Hello Edinblog Readers

I welcome all new and returning full-time and ODL students to a new session. For me, officially, studies start today (Yaaay!) and I am beginning with a course that is a core area of interest for me - Zoonotic diseases. I look forward to learning in this course because of its direct relevance to my undergraduate study – Veterinary medicine. More importantly, it has great importance in the Global/Public Health sectors in many African countries and in my work as a Heath professional. Starting this new session, I’m more confident, (obviously) more experienced and with better more refined targets for my education. I hope you all are feeling the same way too.
Wish you all a fruitful learning experience at University of Edinburgh.

So, remember the Summer School I talked about in my last post.... Yes!

Welcome to my GHA Kigali experience! #KigaliRwanda #GHASummerSchool2015 #AmazingExperience

Scenes from Kigali, Rwanda; Photo credit - Erin Daldry

Now, I’m going to be hopefully-not-boring you with blow-by-blow details of my exciting experience in Kigali for the annual Global Health Academy Summer School 2015. To give a brief background story, the Summer School is an annual program organized by the Global Health Academy where ODL students, lecturers and other affiliated members of the Academy convene in select countries. Here, conglomerates of professionals and students with vested interests in Global Health and in line with the vision of the Academy at the University of Edinburgh, come together for learning, networking….. And lots of fun!

So after much expectation, travel preparations, documentation, vaccination, information and other –tions associated overseas travel, by August 28 early afternoon, I was finally on flight to Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia; my first stop-over. I arrived Addis-Ababa quite exhausted from the roughly 6-hour journey (Frankly, I could have as well been on my way to see the queen). Arriving the airport and really wishing the whole journey was over, I found my Nigerian ODL colleague, Yusuf who was also waiting for the next flight to Kigali. And at that point, I was just really glad to see a very familiar face and finally confident I was not lost somewhere in a very busy East African Airport.

As our plane approached Kigali International Airport at about 2am on Sunday morning, I was immediately captured by the beautiful man- and “nature-made” architecture and landscaping of the city, Kigali. I also couldn’t help noticing that the land was so beautifully green and had pretty hills that seemed to stand proud and graceful. At that point, it was love at first sight for the city and I was just glad to be there. Later that morning (at about 3am), I checked into the Hilltop Hotel where most of us (participants) were lodged for the duration of the program and it was immediately straight to dreamland till late next morning. A few of us also came in at around the same time from our various locations all around the world and much more would arrive later that Sunday. 

It was great meeting my fellow students IN REAL LIFE, for the very first time! I also got to meet with some of the lecturers and administrators of the Global Health Academy that Sunday afternoon as they came to assess the state of preparedness of the hotel management for the whole program. It was really great meeting everyone and even more pleasant interacting with them in days to come.

Interestingly, later that evening, I (and Yusuf) got a quick chance to explore the city. Now, that Sunday afternoon, we had the opportunity to interact with a beautiful Rwandan lady, Naomi (not real name), who was entertaining guests with her beautiful voice and her band at the swimming pool area. I am an ardent fan of good music and it was really refreshing to hear her belt out some great R ‘n’ B and local songs in English and Swahili. After our brief interaction with her, she invited us to a Karaoke night at a bar in the city. Instead of taking a taxi, Yusuf and I opted to take a commercial bikes and I did not regret one bit of that 20-something minute ride! Gosh, Kigali night scenery is beautiful! At some point, I practically removed my helmet so that I could feed my eyes generously on the scenery and just feel the cool wind whip across my face. At the Karaokee night/bar, I couldn’t resist singing a song, so I got in touch with my inner Adele, sang “Set fire to the rain”, and I got a standing ovation for my efforts! All in all, it was a great start to the summer school and I ended the night with high expectations for a beautiful time in Kigali, Rwanda.

There's more to come in the #GHAKigali series, till then, enjoy the start of the new session.  


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Its a tropical cold and beautiful morning here in the ancient Nigerian city with brown roofs - Ibadan. Ibadan is popularly tagged as "the city with brown roofs" because looking down from a geographically elevated position or from one of the city's seven hills, you are almost always lucky to see an extensive display of reddish-brown roofs typical of a long-standing indigenous community that has remained for centuries. The city is where I have resided for the past 3 months or so, due to my work schedule and residing here has been somewhat of a major break from the mega-city hustle and bustle that Lagos city always has to offer.

So I'm happy (and relieved) that my first year is "done and dusted" ... Yaay! I completed and submitted my final assignment last month and the final grades were released earlier this week. Subsequently, I also received a confirmation of my progression to the second year. Though we have been sent a number of requests to fill various surveys relating to our postgraduate and tutor experience, in my own simple plain words, I would say that my experience so far has been "pleasant and intellectually stimulating". I appreciate the quality of learning, exposure, level of engagement of students, and interaction between classmates, tutors and supervisors. Though there are still rooms for improvement of course, I still believe that the level of interaction and engagement of students with UoE Online Distance Learning (ODL) is quite commendable. The mandatory use of discussion boards, Skype meetings and  opportunities for guidance from Tutors and supervisors have helped in their own ways to mimmick a real classroom and student experience at the University of Edinburgh.
Modestly speaking, from interacting with a few of my friends undertaking similar ODL modes of learning in other schools all over the world, I still think UoE ODL gives students an interesting educational experience and better opportunities for interaction and mentoring from Tutors. Also, the past one ODL session has given me definite sense of accomplishment for the year 2015. Its been quite the challenge but highly rewarding.

Soooo... Rwanda beckons!
Every year my department of study - Global Health Academy (GHA) organizes a summer school in a selected country. Here, students, tutors, lecturers and officials working under the Academy convene from various continents and countries for a Global Health academic experience, learning and networking. My fellow Nigerian ODLer who just completed his second year and therefore attended the 2014 GHA Summer School in his first year has gotten me really expectant for a great experience in Rwanda. I look forward to more learning, exposure and physically meeting my fellow students and tutors. I also look forward to visiting a new country and hopefully immersing myself into Rwandan cultural experiences and historical learning that time would permit.

 Until next time.. Have a wonderful month and enjoy your break.

For my fellow "tropicalists", Enjoy the refreshing rains this season; For the "temperates", Have a great summertime!

Saturday, May 30, 2015


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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Discussions and more! (1)

 Hello Readers!

As usual, it’s been a flurry of activities since my last post. I’m talking essays and heated academic class discussions to presidential elections in my country and certain career landmarks … and just trying to juggle so many aspects of living together.

I would first of all, love to congratulate my country Nigeria for a relatively successful and peaceful political elections. The Presidential elections was undertaken two weeks ago while the Governorship took place yesterday, 11th April, 2015. In case you don’t know, I’m an ardent follower of politics and it was quite the excitement and tension following up on the daily political dramas that occurred in my country up to the election days. The drama isn't totally over yet but I am quite satisfied with the presentation of the new President-elect and new crop of State Governors. I am looking forward to a better and more progressive Nigeria. I am also grateful to the international community for their on-line and off-line support. Its been a remarkable 2015 for Nigeria so far and a big shout-out to everyone! As it is commonly said here, “Nothing dey happen” (Translation, It is going to be alright), I strongly believe that we shall all overcome and Nigeria will get more alright.

Now unto my academics…

So in my just-concluded course ‘Understanding Infectious Diseases”, we were entrusted with this scientific journal and were given the ultimate power to make our own versions of a compelling summary out of some major parts of the journal. Personally, I considered the journal quite akin to cryptography and I was beginning to get a little worried about that upon the first few reads.  Believe me, I always assumed that I was pretty good with summarizing especially when it comes to taking into perspectives, the analytical part of journals, but this took some sweat out of me. I was relieved to find out that I was not the only person in this boat when we had our class discussion on the journal as some of my colleagues also shared their experiences with difficulties encountered in breaking down the technical languages and complexities of the journal.

Anyway, as expected, the contents of the journal stimulated one of the most interesting, controversial and engaging discussions that I have experienced so far in my ODL course of study. I mean how do you really explain and/or confirm that infection with helminths (worms!) could be a preventive cure for your asthma and other allergies??? – Yes! That was the topic discussion/debate. 

Unfortunately for me, during most of the period when these heated discussions were on, I had been diagnosed with a lethal combination of malaria/typhoid infection. I was unable to attend to much of the discussion except  to read through, monitor, learn and also do some more research on the topic of discussion as I could. But of course, at some point, I did get off my feet to contribute (not unless I wanted to forfeit the associated marks). 

As usual, when you have a controversial discussion as this and you have very bright students as colleagues, you cannot but learn more than a thing or two from such discussions. My colleagues all contributed to the learning experience by sharing personal experiences from all parts of the world, notes from other scientific journals, news reports, giving accounts of on-site professional experiences and providing generally intelligent deductions from cases presented for discussion from the journal. This was highly expository for me and I look forward to having more of this in my next course after the spring break.

To be continued….

N.B: It is now 362 days today that the Chibok girls were abducted from their schools by Boko Haram Terrorists in Nigeria. This happened last year 14th, April 2014. Kindly join us in our prayers and solidarity as we continue to ardently hope for their return and for justice.

Please use the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls #ChibokGirls #NeverToBeForgotten to join the solidarity on Twitter. Thank you. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

More than studying …. (II)

If there was ever a time I wish I was a full-time student at The University of Edinburgh; that would be now. Judging by the rapid inflow of messages I get in my school mail talking about either an invitation to one road trip here, some sporting event there and some volunteering opportunity somewhere and another election coming up elsewhere – it all seems so exciting and I feel just a little wistful that I’m not in the midst of the flurry of activities in the campus. (And what is it about “The trip to Loch Ness”, I’m really curious as there have been repeated invitations to the trip since last semester). Anyway, they say you can’t eat your cake and have it, so I better just probably wait till I get the opportunity to visit Edinburgh, right?

So, in my last post, I was discussing about the variety of assignments that I’ve been having in this semester and I’m going to talk about my just-concluded Poster assignment.
Let me mention first that I had no prior experience in scientific poster-making, therefore, I was quite apprehensive about how to even go about it in the first instance. Fortunately (thanks to our ingenious course supervisors), in addition to providing how-to materials on making posters, we had the opportunity to critique a sample poster and I considered this a great idea. Everyone contributed accordingly and I’m pretty sure it was a highly beneficial exercise and learning experience for us, not just as students but as researchers, scientists and workers in our different fields of work.

Also, I reached out to a fellow ODL student and Nigerian who I “met” on the Facebook ODLEdSoc platform. He is a second year student running a course that I consider similar to mine (MSc International Animal Health) and he was really helpful in giving a few pointers on his own experience with his previous poster assignments. All in all, I tried my possible best in making what I consider very appropriate for some cool high scores.

So, wish me luck with that!

It’s just a few hours away from the next month and I’m sure we all had great times in January and February.

Just to leave this little nugget by Napoleon Hill – “There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it”.
I hope this motivates someone for the month of March and beyond.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

More than studying ....

4:07 am. Lagos, Nigeria.

As my “internal alarm system” wakes me up in my room, I feel the simultaneous blend of heat and caress of cool air both coming from my ceiling fan above and my open side windows on the sides. Thank goodness the rains are finally here to cool the searing characteristic dry heat of this season. I’m grateful for the present electricity - and then I feel dreadful at the thought of having no electricity to power the fans at this moment (Yeah, this happens here). The heat would have been plainly discomforting and the few mosquitoes that I noticed were very much around just before I slept would definitely have thanked their maker for such an opportunity! But of course, if that happened, I still would have survived anyway and probably slept fitfully through it all.

So, I look through my windows, observe the starless night, feel the peace of the quiet night and it comes rushing ... Edin-BLOG!!! (that’s what I call it).

Yeepa!!! (That’s Nigerian pidgin English for “Gosh!!!), I grab my nearest phone, reconfirm today’s date and grab my laptop immediately. I feel grateful once again for this electricity because my laptop battery has run really low.

So Yes ... I’m here again.

I hope we all had a great January and a LOVEly February. I can say I have been having a good semester so far. This semester course schedule and organization was quite different from last semester’s course. However, the good news is, I’m more prepared. We have had series of very interesting assignments which were given in new ways, some of which I have just recently been introduced to.

The last 2 assignments were given as writing an abstract, giving a diagrammatic representation of that abstract and then making a poster!

I’m not new to writing abstracts, thanks to my undergraduate research project and one year of work experience in a research institute; but I was definitely new to the recent trend of presenting cool diagrammatic expressions of your abstract (and project). This I learned, is necessary to present a summary of your project in an engaging way that can be communicated easily, especially to the layman. It was quite the interesting and learning experience undertaking this assignment as I consider my drawing/artistry quite horrible. (I imagine myself as a kid, when my teacher tells me to draw a picture of the sun and I end up with something that looks a lot like a very active amoeba). Keeping my poor artistry in mind, I immediately set to work and read so much more to further familiarize myself with the dynamics of the assignment given and the use of Microsoft Power point. Also, the support and tips given by the course team (as usual) and fellow classmates was incredibly helpful. So, I was thrilled to know that my hard work paid off when I got a reasonably satisfactory grade in the assignment

And you know the most interesting part, undertaking this assignment has taken me to a whole new level of expertise (please allow me to brag!) on putting together creative presentations especially for my workplace. I have learned so much from just undertaking this assignment that has and will improve my capacity beyond just getting an education.

Okay, I have to go now. Wish you all a great week ahead!

To be continued… Promise…

Monday, January 12, 2015


A new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, new hopes and new goals at least for most people and that definitely includes me. Now, I am not going to go all cliché and go on and on about setting goals but …. YOU JUST HAVE TO SET GOALS!

I was one of 3 invited guests at a radio station in Lagos, Nigeria last December and the topic of discussion was on Goal setting and making Resolutions. The discussion got really interesting and one thing that struck me during the conversation was that – Really, after determining your goals, how do you turn them into reality? Or how do you make your plan work? What specific steps do you take to make the plan work? What options are available to you and which is most resourceful for you to choose? WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY? This struck me because a lot of us are good at fantasizing and even speaking about our beautiful goals and dreams but its either we fall short or nothing even comes out of it

Like I mentioned in my previous posts, it’s been quite the experience for me as an ODL student studying from far away Lagos, Nigeria. This is especially significant as I now have a basic idea of the studying terrain in the University and I can now adapt better to the work-study schedule in my first semester and modify to subsequent semesters.

As the first semester results were released, I had a few concerns about my results and I needed a few guidelines on how I can improve my studying and writing skills and generally grow as a student. Of course, I contacted my ever approachable course director who was indeed very helpful as she immediately set up an appointment for me to discuss on my concerns and improve my performance for subsequent semesters. If you feel this would also help your studies or grades, do not hesitate to contact your course supervisor(s) as I am sure they would really help in giving advice and constructive criticism where necessary.

I also engaged a few of my ODL colleagues in the second and third year, on the ODL Facebook group and it was enlightening to hear about their experiences on how they encountered similar adjustability issues (especially combining studies with work) upon inception of study, adjusted their academic goals and strategy and implemented lessons learned. I intend to do better, I intend to reach my academic goals and that is why I am taking one of many strategic steps towards reaching that goal and I enjoin everyone to take that step. Plan your year, plan your months and plan your day. The quote “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is very relevant in our everyday life.

Oh and lest I forget, a new goal for me this year is to post more often - at least 3 articles every 2 months. Yaay! So help me God.

Wish everyone a wonderful and successful academic year!