Interview: Shared Experience of Best Fellow (Abah Gift) of the StudentBuild Incubator
At the StudentBuild Incubator, the interview crew met with Abah Gift on 13th April, 2020. She’s a 400-level student of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, aspiring data analyst and a talented writer too. During the interview, Gift shared with us her dreams and experiences as a student and as a fellow in the StudentBuild incubator. She gave insight into some of her challenges as a student and as a fellow in the incubator sharing how she has been able to overcome them, whilst simultaneously being the best fellow in the incubator for the past 3 months.
Here is a transcript of the discussion.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: Good day ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to welcome you to the first edition of the StudentBuild interview session brought to you by the StudentBuild Content Creation Crew.
My name is Oluwatobi Omotayo, a 400level student of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology Department, University of Ibadan. I would be anchoring this session. We have a special guest with us. She’s the best group Fellow in the StudentBuild Incubator Program since inception in January till now, April. She’s here with us. Abah Gift, we are very happy to have you here. We would like to know and meet you. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Abah Gift: Thank you very much for having me. I am Abah Gift, a 400l student of University of Lagos. I am very passionate about data analytics, how data can be used in solving common human problems. Because I am a student of Pharmacy, I have discovered that the major problem we have with health in Nigeria is unavailability of good data. This prompted me into asking myself, what can I do to change the narrative? How can I, as a person help to change this situation? I hope to use data and knowledge of data in solving problems.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: Thank you very much Gift. So, we know you are a student, we would like to know about your journey into SB Incubator, how you got into the SB Incubator program, how has your experience been so far and what you have learnt so far in the first quarter since inception in January.
Abah Gift: First of all, I got into the StudentBuild Incubator around December last year (2019). About few days to January, I got a message from my cousin who also happens to be a Fellow at the StudentBuild Incubator. He was like there is this program that he signed for. It was meant for students in their penultimate or final year in school. He explained what the program was all about, and I was interested in the program. He sent me the link and told me how to go about the application.
The next day, I took a trip down to the social media profile of StudentBuild. I did this because I didn’t really understand what the program was all about. That was the first time I was hearing about the program. After going to their LinkedIn profile and Twitter handle, I got to understand the program and put in my application. I finally got onboarded on the 6th of January this year.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: Thank you very much. So, tell us your experience so far, what have you learnt so far since January till now?
Abah Gift: Being a Fellow at StudentBuild Incubator has been a learning experience for me. It’s been an interesting journey for me and every day in the incubator has been an opportunity for me to learn something new. Every day comes with its own peculiar challenges, tasks and of course lessons. So, StudentBuild has basically exposed me to out-of-the-classroom experience. It has changed my perspective of who I am supposed to be as a student and what I am supposed to be outside the four walls. I have been exposed to learning the real skills that keep me relevant and help me to contribute meaningfully in my workplace and be a useful person to my country.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: Gift, we want to know how you became the best group member in StudentBuild. We know there are like over a hundred students in StudentBuild. How did you do it? How did you stand out, out of so many students in StudentBuild in just 4 months?
Abah Gift: That’s quite an interesting question. First of all, I did not expect to be the best Fellow. Being the best Fellow of SB in the first quarter was something I didn’t see coming at all. All I wanted was to learn as much as I could and as fast as I could.
I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to me to become the best version of myself that I could be. So, this pushed me to try as much as possible to attend all AMA sessions. I wanted to learn from the mentors.I wanted to see how they see life and what their experiences have been so far. I was curious about learning because I knew that the knowledge I would gain from their years of experience and their knowledge of the workplace was something that was going to help me in my life and my career as well. So, I think one way I was able to stand out was my general participation in the SB program.
Also, I am this kind of person that always puts in the best into anything I do. So, for most task and assignment that we were given, I was very deliberate about putting out the best work that I could. I was deliberate about the quality of the assignment I put out. I think these were the few things that actually gave me the opportunity of becoming the best fellow for the first quarter of the StudentBuild.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: In short, you became the best Fellow in SB because you are very interested in your personal development during this period?
Abah Gift: Yes.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: What challenges have you faced so far in the StudentBuild Incubator program? What are the things you struggled with in the past four month and how did you overcome them?
Abah Gift: One of the challenges I have had so far is that of time constraint. It hasn’t been easy meeting up with deadlines, balancing my activities as a Fellow with academics and other activities. So, I think that’s what makes the SB incubator interesting.
One of the ways I have been able to deal this with this challenge is by learning how to make productive use of my time. I got to understand how to prioritise. I had to understand and know what is really important and extremely necessary to do at any point in time. This is something that has really helped my learning so far in StudentBuild.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: We are aware that you are the head of Content Creation Crew in StudentBuild which is a platform that gave us the opportunity to hold this interview in the first place. How has been the experience so far and what challenges have you had?
Abah Gift: Being the head of the Content Creation Crew has been an opportunity for me because I don’t think being the head of the Content Creation Crew was awarded based on merit. It was an opportunity which I saw to further grow myself.
As a leader, I got to understand better concept of leadership. This has been life changing. I got to have several opinions about being a leader. One
of the interesting things that happened to me is been able to seek to understand people and try to see what people feel or think at any point in time. This was unlikely of me before. Being the leader, I got to reach out to people about their well-being which has really helped me change my perception about life. I also understand that being a leader
transcends giving instruction alone but rather about being supportive and being able to encourage people to express themselves and ideas.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: How long have you been writing? How long has StudentBuild improved these skills?
Abah Gift: I can’t remember when exactly I started writing. It’s been a while I would say. Prior to my appointment as the lead of the Content Creation Crew, I was a spontaneous writer. I simply wrote what came to my mind at that instant in time.
One way StudentBuild has helped the way I write is that, now when I write, it’s tailored towards a specific audience and has a specific message. Usually when I write, I tend to incorporate stories because I believe stories help to
connect with people and make the message stick with them. Writing for SB has made me connect to different parts of my story and use this story to pass a
message. I am now very deliberate about communicating the idea I have in my head in a way that people can understand, and it makes sense to them. I love using what I love doing, which is writing to share what I know, say the knowledge I am gaining in StudentBuild.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: What is your advice to other African undergraduates, especially aspiring analyst and creative writers just like you? What is the advice you have for them?
Abah Gift: My advice would be that they should learn as fast as they could and as much as they could. They should be open to more opportunities. They should learn to recognize opportunities when they come. They should never run away from seizing opportunities.
They should be free to express themselves, move out of the comfort zone and learn stuff outside academics. They shouldn’t forget to be as great as they can. This also applies to me because I am still a student. So, I am also giving this advice to myself.
Omotayo Oluwatobi: Thank you.