Interviewer: Can you kindly introduce yourself.
UIMSA President: I am Olaoluwa Olorunfemi. I am a 600-level medical student. I am a from a family of 5 and I am from Kogi State, Nigeria. I have many interests but most importantly I’m a Madrid fan.
Interviewer: Congratulations on your recent election as the President of UIMSA. How has your first few days in office been like?
UIMSA President: It was something I was looking forward to but nothing prepares you for this moment honestly. Of course, we haven’t really started work but there has been an inflow of information on how things are done and how things work. It’s not time for any drastic changes just yet.
Interviewer: What sparked your passion/interest in UIMSA and how has your journey been so far?
UIMSA President: It might sound corny but in my 100 level I met the then executives just once and they didn’t communicate with us again. So, the following year I was pouring out my frustration to the then current President on how we felt left out and he advised me to join the executives and make a difference. That was when I first had an awareness about the executive council. I had always been interested in media and up till now I still am, so I joined the press and went along to become SDO preclinical and later PRO. One thing I realised that was fortunate for me was that what I was interested in always tallied with the role I served so I was always driven to give my best. Next up I was the General Secretary and at that point I had to fine tune some of my skills on correspondence. I was also lucky to have good working relationships with both my seniors and predecessors that were a great support system. That was how my passion for a better UIMSA started.
Interviewer: What are your roles as the President of UIMSA?
UIMSA President: As President of UIMSA you don’t have a specific job description because you are directly or indirectly involved in everything, every part of the association affects you. I think the umbrella term is looking after the welfare of medical students which extends in different directions. There is academic welfare like preparing materials, social welfare like checking up on sick students and in an era like this mental health is going to be top on the priority list. Also just ensuring everything in the college runs smoothly.
Interviewer: So, one can say you serve as a mediator?
UIMSA President: Well yeah, of sort.
Interviewer: Are there any peculiar challenges to UIMSA at this time especially concerning your office?
UIMSA President: We are generally still defining the scope of our problems mostly because of the fact that we haven’t been able to resume physically. Even beyond my office as president, I think it has affected the structure of the entire association. Before now, five executive offices were left unfilled and the number of senators and congress men drastically reduced. For us not being in school there is a general apathy which is understandable and expected. Priorities have changed so UIMSA is not appealing to a lot of people. That itself is the major factor that has displayed itself with various symptoms; participation in activities will drop, people will become more reluctant to pay dues and it also affects the quality of activities we can do.
Interviewer: How do you hope to overcome these challenges?
UIMSA President: We are definitely working on it. Our first priority is filling up the remaining vacant posts.* Because the executive council is like a table with 10 legs, it being incomplete makes it imbalanced. We are also looking to restructure our calendar in a way that we have activities that don’t really need our physical presence like orientation programs, hackathons, and symposiums that we would only need a suitable internet connection for. Hopefully by the time we are back in school, we will then have a row of physical activities.
Interviewer: This is totally understandable and I believe UIMSAites will acknowledge the effort put into keeping them involved. Moving on, what will you say keeps you motivated?
UIMSA President: My initial idea of wanting to keep people involved and carried along and that a lot can be done to help people is part of what has kept pushing me. I have always been driven by the idea to do more with the skills and opportunities I have been given both in serving UIMSA and as an individual. I also don’t want to look back and have regrets that I could have done so much more with the talents I was blessed with.
Interviewer: Share with us your favourite quotes.
UIMSA President: Wow there are many but I’ll say just a few. “The worst you will hear is no so don’t let fear stop you from seizing opportunities”, “Be like a duck moving softly on the surface but paddling fiercely underneath”, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you land among the stars”, “Greatness from humble beginnings” and “If you put in the work, it will surely pay off”.
Interviewer: Can you mention some of your role models?
UIMSA President: All the presidents from 2k12 to my predecessor did a wonderful job that has inspired me a lot. Dr. Chinedu Nwaduru taught me excellence in its truest form. There’s also Michael Akande.
Interviewer: What is your most memorable experience being a UIMSA executive and what is one thing you have gained?
UIMSA President: Awosika Symposium was a rollercoaster for me. The entire process as PRO was really interesting. Also being able to successfully put FOP (Face of Preclinicals) together was also memorable.
Interviewer: Asides from academics and UIMSA activities, what else will you be caught doing?
UIMSA President: Anything involving football and the weather. You may see me watching football, reading football, and analysing or playing it. I also read novels a lot. Recently I’ve delved into programming and designing.
Interviewer: Lastly, I’ll ask you some very random questions.
UIMSA President: Okay…
Interview: If you were a tree, which would you be and why?
UIMSA President: Iroko tree because it is strong and dependable.
Interviewer: Would you rather read minds or accurately predict the future?
UIMSA President: Read minds because I believe the future is infinity.
Interviewer: Would you rather give up your love life or work life?
UIMSA President: (Laughs) I can’t pick one please, they are equally important to me.
Interviewer: Davido or Burna boy?
UIMSA President: Davido of course.
Interviewer: Messi or Ronaldo?
UIMSA President: Ronaldo will forever be the GOAT (Greatest of all time).
Interviewer: Genevieve or Omotola?
UIMSA President: Omotola.
Interviewer: So, do you have any advice for students interested in going into the political scene of UIMSA?
UIMSA President: Before doing anything, be sure it is what you want to do because when you get in there, it is a very demanding and thankless job. People don’t compliment you when you do well but easily castigate you when you do badly. You need to have an internal sense of fulfilment. You also need a good support system for advice and encouragement, it is easier when you have people doing it with you. Also strive to achieve balance. Balance is an illusion but it’s necessary to try.
Interviewer: How did you manage to balance
UIMSA President: Like I said, balance is an illusion. It is a continuous effort that you can’t get tired of. I constantly tried to stay on top of things.
Interviewer: Any general words for UIMSAites?
UIMSA President: Not to overpromise and underdeliver. Hopefully by the end of this tenure UIMSA will be able to remember its greatness.
Interviewer: I wish you good luck in everything.
UIMSA President: Thank you.
This interview was conducted by Miss Chika Nnawuogo