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I aim to become a researcher, with a particular focus on drug design and development – Haleemah Hamzah

Haleemah pursued her education at Al-eemaan Group of Schools, completing her secondary education in 2018. Initially aspiring to study medicine and surgery, she embraced a degree in Biochemistry after being offered admission.
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Haleemah Hamzah, a driven and accomplished individual, hails from Ilorin West, Kwara State. She pursued her education at Al-eemaan Group of Schools, completing her secondary education in 2018. Initially aspiring to study medicine and surgery, she embraced a degree in Biochemistry after being offered admission. Throughout her undergraduate journey at UDUS, Haleemah excelled academically, culminating in an impressive 4.87 CGPA at graduation. Her academic success was supported by her dedicated approach to learning, leveraging strategic study methods and active participation in extracurricular activities. In this interview with Abdulhaqq Obisesan, she reveals her plan for the future. Excerpts

Please provide Edugist with a brief introduction about yourself and your background.

I am Haleemah Hamzah an indigene of Ilorin West, Kwara State. I am the first child of my parents. I had my primary and secondary education in a private school, the Al-eemaan Group of Schools. I completed my secondary education in 2018.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in Biochemistry?

I never wanted Biochemistry from the start because I applied for medicine and surgery. I was offered biochemistry instead. I accepted the admission to cross over to medicine if I was able to make it to the top 5 of my class. I read hard, however, my hope of crossing over was shattered when it became clear to me vividly that crossing over in UDUS is nothing but wishful thinking. I wrote Jamb the following year, and I had to choose between Agricultural Science or Veterinary Medicine. Later, I decided to continue my biochemistry and look for my place in the course. I thought that by studying the course objectively, I could figure out a pathway with which I could impact my society and community at large.

Can you describe your undergraduate experience?

I had an exciting experience while in school because I had the support of my parents who provided my needs for me. They shouldered all the expenses, so, I have no reason to be distracted from my studies because of funds. I also had friends who were academically minded and morally upright. I got engaged in extra-curricular activities that enhanced my learning and improved my intellectual, communication and emotional intelligence.
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Were there any courses that you found especially difficult?

While I was in the 100 level, we had a 4-unit course which is statistics. The course was one of the courses many students failed because of the bulkiness and the complex nature of the course. I made a personal schedule to solve the questions of the course for 30 minutes per day. When the examination period was approaching, I tutored my colleagues on the course. This was the method I adopted throughout my entire stay; giving more time and effort to complex courses.

Did you frequently use the library for studying?

I made use of the library frequently during the early years of my undergraduate study because I found it silent and it is nearby to my hostel. But in my penultimate year when I extended the number of hours my study hours. I changed classes because the library closes at 10:00 pm. The time was not enough for my study and compounded with the fact the seats of the classes would have been occupied if I had been coming from the library by that time.

What significant challenges did you face during your studies?

The challenge I faced was that time was never enough. There are lots of things to do from academics to extracurricular activities on campus. I learnt and applied the art of proper time scheduling and to-do lists. This helped a lot as I was able to use my time judiciously.

How does it feel to graduate with a 4.87 CGPA?

I give thanks to Allah and praise him for His Favour upon me because some people are better and more brilliant than me but were unable to achieve this feat. I felt fulfilled and empowered as I was able to achieve my aims and objectives on campus. I sincerely feel it is a manifestation of hard work and prayer.
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Did you participate in any internships during your studies?

No, I was not involved in any internship but I did compulsory industrial training in an industry and a Research Laboratory. I got to know about internships in my penultimate year when I had completed my industrial training.

Did you receive any scholarships for your studies?

I was a beneficiary of PTDF and Ilorin Emirate Professional Association.

Do you plan to pursue any additional professional certifications in your field?

Yes, I aim to have professional certifications in my field most especially laboratory hands-on experience and techniques.

In what ways do you think your interdisciplinary background sets you apart from other professionals?

Biochemistry is a field that is relevant to all life sciences courses. It studies the processes that happen within living organisms and the reasons they have occurred. Equipped with knowledge in biochemistry, can enable you to perform better in other life sciences courses. What sets me apart is the ability to venture into many diversified fields during my postgraduate studies.

Has any lecturer contributed to the ease of navigating your academics?

All thanks to my lecturers for their unwavering commitment and the knowledge they have passed across to me. Noteworthy of mentioning is my supervisor who always motivated and stood for me during the hard times in my journey.
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Do you have any role models you admire?

I do learn generally from those who have made it in life through academics, who stood for academic excellence and those who have an impact on the community.

What are your long-term career aspirations?
I aim to become a researcher, with a particular focus on drug design and development.

How do you plan to apply your knowledge to address real-world challenges?

I aim to become a researcher who will help provide drugs to people living in underserved communities to reduce deaths arising from diseases like Malaria and other major diseases affecting the population.

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