Tobi Badmus is currently a 5th year medical student of the LAGOS STATE COLLEGE OF MEDICINE (LASUCOM) with a passion for behavioral medicine and mental health. She has conducted researches tuned towards the awareness and solutions to mental health services accessibility in her community.
In 2018 she conducted a research on the awareness and availability of mental health services to medical students in Ikeja,Lagos which was published and she was awarded the novelty prize for the best student research from the Faculty of Clinical Science and also the overall best student oral presenter at the Faculty day.
In conjunction with the psychiatry department in LASUCOM she is currently conducting a research on examination anxiety in students and she is a volunteer in NGO’S focused on solving mental health issues like the Mentally Aware Nigerian Initiative (MANI) and is working with the Youth Alive Foundation(YAF) to enact mental health policies favourable to medical students especially.
We had the opportunity of sitting with her and getting first-hand information about her passion for research work. We were truly inspired and we hope you would be too!
• Hi Tobi. Thank you for choosing to grant us this interview.
Thank you. I am honored
• First, tell us briefly about Tobi. (where are you from, position in family, your age (optional), educational background, etc)
My full name is Badmus Oluwatobiloba Chinonso, i am from oyo state and my mum is from imo state hence my Igbo name. I am the second out of three children and I am the only girl (so I always consider myself a very special person). I don’t mind telling my age because I always say “the world will still end up knowing, so why bother hide it? I am 20 years old and I had my primary school education at Mictec International School and my secondary school at Apostolic Faith Secondary School and I am currently a 4th year medical student of Lagos State University College of Medicine.
• So, you conducted a research recently and got awarded for it. Can you tell us a little more about that? (what was the research about, where was it conducted, how did you go about it, where did you get the award)
Yes I did. The faculty day of Lagos State University College of Medicine(LASUCOM) was hosted by the Behavioural Medicine department and they put up posters calling for abstracts from the academics community, doctors and thankfully medical students in relation to their theme which was; MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN NIGERIA; ITS CURRENT TREND AND FUTURE DIRECTION. My research aimed at looking at it through the lens of medical students, that is, the availability of these services to medical students, how aware students are of these services, its effectiveness and utilization by the students, and ways to improve and include new services to the ones on ground. This research was actually a kick starter to an on-going research which is aimed at the rate of depression and anxiety amongst medical students as well as its awareness. It was conducted right here in my school as I didn’t have enough resources to take it to other medical schools which I plan on doing as soon as I am done with the one in progress. Well, it was qualitative in nature involving face to face interviews with students from each level. I was awarded on the faculty day itself, I was given a novelty prize and was recognized.
• I know that conducting a research even for the best scholars can be a tedious and undesirable experience. What was your motivation?
Well, for a very long time I have always been extremely passionate about the human mind and mental health so seeing the call for abstract put up, the decision wasn’t really a hard one, though I will say the defining moment of motivation for me was after the result of my first MB came out. Generally it wasn’t the best and the feeling of wanting to be there for my colleagues that had issues during and after the resit was just so overwhelming and it got me thinking, “with how much pressure is placed on each professional exam and studies in medical schools what measures are being taken to ensure that one doesn’t succumb to it in a negative way and even if one does are there strategies implemented to ensure that this person can get the professional help needed?”. So I decided to start up the research in my own little way and then I also discovered that Nigeria as a country doesn’t even have statistics for the rate of suicide, depression and anxiety etc among its people. and the truth is that these statistics will enable the government and private organisations tackle these issues efficiently.
• How did you feel about the award?
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it , I thought I was just going to be presenting together with other consultants and increase awareness to them toward our plight as medical students because I was the only medical student that presented an abstract , I didn’t know I was being judged alongside the consultants and it turned out I came first . I was really happy and very proud of myself.
• How did you balance research and school work?
I get asked this question a lot and I must first acknowledge the Hand of God in my life. A lot of it has to do with how I plan my time (I have a journal for that), I don’t always go according to plan because sometimes I battle with postponement but when I remember my goal immediately I begin to follow through; During the time of the research we were to have two incourses and the day after I was to present my abstract was one of them, I had to shuffle between my hostel reading room and the event hall just so I could cover up a few things. I was able to balance it with planning and God’s direction.
• Did you have any discouraging periods during the research?
Not really, but there were times I just wanted to shut it down and focus on my books as most of my mates were actively preparing for our forthcoming incourse and I felt like I was the unserious one at the time.
• How did you deal with those periods?
I really just had to encourage myself that the knowledge I would gain from it was not going to be wasted.
• How is the experience studying in a Nigerian public university?
I always say that I wouldn’t have it any other way because of the exposure that one gets while here both medical and non-medical.
• Any major likes or dislikes about studying in a Nigerian public university?
The fact that there is a general notion that the strength or ranking of the university is determined by how many students fail, so the more students fail, the tougher it is, hence the better and stronger the university. Which I believe should not be so.
• What would you like other African medical students to know about a research while in school?
It is one of the best ways to gain knowledge that last, networking and forming relationships with people that share the same goal as you and are just as determined is also an added benefit and most importantly by publishing it on the right platform you have helped impacting the immediate society around you.
• So, what’s going on with you now? Are we expecting any more ground breaking researches?
Definitely, by God’s grace as I earlier stated we are working on expanding our research through medical schools in Nigeria and from there take it to Nigerians as a whole.
• One random question, tell us your most embarrassing moment in school.
Well, this happened in secondary school during my junior WAEC, I don’t think I have had any other significant embarrassing moments. So, we were writing our French paper and being that I love French as a language I was done quite early , I sat a little towards the middle row and then I stood up to submit, I heard people whispering my name while walking down to the front but I was feeling like a boss so paid them no mind. Any way I took time submitted and then went back to sit down that was when the guy beside me was like “Tobi adjust your pinafore, it has been tucked into your underwear since you stood up to submit” I was wearing a flowery patterned short tight and I had never felt so embarrassed like that in my life as I imagined the number of people that must have seen it in the hall then.
• We sincerely wish you the best in life.
I wish you the best too, thank you once again for having me.
We hope you were inspired?
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