It’s a pleasure having you here. Please introduce yourself.
I am Oluwatobiloba Oladipupo Akingbulugbe, Tobi for short. I’m a third-year medical student from Ondo state. I’m privileged to be the founder of God is Love Educational Foundation, an admin member at AffordHealth Initiative, and a volunteer at Check Medical Missions among other volunteering organizations.
How would describe yourself compared to how others might describe you?
I don’t pay attention to how other people describe me rather my identity is rooted in how God sees me. Everything about my life is centred on pleasing God. The principles and motives that guide my life are based on love. I’d describe myself as an ambivert because both sides come out for different situations such as work where I tend to be serious and keep to myself or outside work when I just want to interact and tell jokes.
An interplay of both personalities. Nice. Why did you choose medicine?
Medicine for me is a calling. The reason I know my calling is because I know the Caller. Since I was young, about eight years old or so, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. There has always been a passion for me to touch lives. When I stumbled on the popular Gifted Hands, it sparked something in me. It’s a very inspiring book but it was not my motivation. I don’t think it’s enough to sustain anyone. I don’t think any book is enough. It only added fuel to the original fire. If medicine wasn’t my calling or if my choice was up to my teachers or my interest, I may have been studying something more mathematics-related.
Interesting. I hope the medics who are fond of blaming Gifted Hands for the tough reality of medicine see the light and hopefully find their original fire. What’s your favourite course?
My favourite course is Neuroanatomy. It’s something I read stress-free, understand fast and actively remember. During our first practical, it was as if there was a spiritual communication between me and the brain specimen. [Laughs] I think the reason I’m drawn to it is tied to purpose.
What’s the worst part of your medical school/university experience so far?
I don’t think I have a worst part, but what I like to call growth moments. For example, times when I scored below my expectations and even higher than. Those times helped me fix up and realize that divine powers are working for me.
And the best part of your medical school/university experience so far?
For me, it’s the opportunity to meet wonderful people, and not just academically speaking. That has helped me to get closer to my dreams and think above the status quo.
On a scale of “ọmọ” to “This one pass me”, how has Preclinical school been for you?
I think Preclinical school is in quotes, easier than I expected. I was somewhat disappointed. I discovered early that when you know the tactics you will come out successful. I’m really enjoying the journey, to be honest, and knowing I’m not the only one passing through it brings a certain joy and relief.
You weren’t even on our scale! I want to be like you o. Anyways, preclinical school can be quite hectic even for the strong. How do you reduce the tension when things choke?
Even though I said it was below my expectations, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been demanding moments. What I do in these times is just take a break and tell my caller that ‘things don choke o, abeg help me’ and I receive light and direction. For tests for instance, sometimes the workload is just too much but I receive direction on where to concentrate more on and people will think that I am very stuffy but the truth is that I didn’t even read everything.
What’s a habit that medical school has inevitably caused you to have?
One good habit that has been imbibed in me is the ability to plan because I’m involved in a lot of things. Also, I don’t usually have time for things like idle scrolling on the internet or binge-watching movies.
Speaking of planning, surely you’re planning for when this strike is called off, to cross to the other side. What are you looking forward to in Clinical school?
I’m looking forward to meeting more wonderful people in general, the ward rounds and engaging patients in discussions. I really want to know what it is to interact with living people rather than what we had in dissection. I can’t wait!
If school work and anything medicine-related is removed from your life what would you be found doing?
You can find me on mission fields reaching out to people, going from one secondary school to another. Other times, I play the piano, sing, and record songs. I’m into graphic designing and video editing for organizations as well. I also teach tutorials, but I don’t do it as a business.
You are the founder of God is Love Educational Foundation. Can you tell us about that and how it came about?
The foundation came into existence out of my passion to help mostly secondary school students achieve their full potential and be the best of what God has created them to be. It started in 2020 when students were about to write their WAEC. We interviewed the overall best WAEC student in 2018 – Seunara Arotiba – and from there, ideas kept coming in on how to expand. We then started reaching out physically and giving out free educational materials. Now we also share scholarship opportunities, educational nuggets, host online webinars, and provide mentorships and tutorials.
It’s evident there’s quite the variety on your plate. Many people would want to be like you and I’m sure they would be wondering how you balance all these with studies and personal life.
Just planning. I have a plan for each day and every plan is well constructed with time slots for everything ranging from gisting to praying to reading. Time management helps me be more productive.
What is the key thing you would say you’ve gained from these endeavours?
The main thing I’ve gotten from all these experiences is the realization that there’s so much more located inside of us but we don’t tap them. It’s just like mining because you have to start from the surface before you get gold. The foundation came from a small idea and it’s mind-blowing how far we’ve come now. We’re currently working on partnerships and that’s amazing.
Are you single or off the market? If single, why?
I’m single. I just choose to be single for now.
Where do you see yourself five to ten years from now?
Five years from now I see myself as a medical doctor working on my postgraduate training. Ten years from now I see myself as a neurosurgery resident – if not a neurosurgeon already – who has made groundbreaking research on cancer. As for the foundation, in ten years would have reached out to a hundred million Nigerians.
That’s a very clear future. Hopefully, it’ll all come to be. On a final note, is there anything you’d want to say to classmates and UIMSAites?
Take time to discover your purpose and pursue it because purpose adds colour to life. Living in purpose is the real beauty of life.
It was interesting conversing with you, Tobi. Thank you for making yourself available.
Thank you for having me. Thanks also to the Preclinical Press. I see it going to greater heights by God’s grace.
This interview was conducted by Osaretin Ehiorobo and Sa’eedah Hussein