Interview by Abdallah ABDELWEDOUD
Abdallah ABDELWEDOUD : How long were you at BSL for? Peace ADESINA: I studied for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in BSL for 2 years (2011 – 2013) AA: Where did you study before you came to BSL? PA: I completed high school in Lagos, Nigeria. AA: How did you get to hear of the school? PA: I got to know about BSL through my guardian at that time. AA: What were your favourite subjects during your time at BSL? PA: There were quite a couple of classes I did enjoy. I enjoyed Mr. Rao’s Mathematics class and Mr. Anquandah Chemistry class and Mr. Wamukoya’s Physics class. Spanish class used to be very fun too. By the way, I miss Mrs. Diabo! AA: What do you think of the school’s campus and extracurricular activities? PA: The scenery of BSL’s campus is exceptionally beautiful. The flowers and lawn were all well maintained. There was also a basketball court, football field, and badminton or volleyball court where we had our sporting activities for CAS. The memories of my IB days are flooding back (smiles). Sunday brunch was great too! AA: Can you describe in a few words your IB experience at BSL and how the IB programme prepared you for university life? PA: Personally, I found the IB programme quite exhilarating and intensive (at that time) yet very rewarding. The all-encompassing course was very much what I relished about the IB programme. It not only exposed me to the academic facet of my education but also provided me the opportunity to pay attention to my health and wellbeing (with the outdoor sporting activities), nurturing and impacting lives in the most tangible way (through service at Aneho orphanage) and developing the right interpersonal skills to face life’s challenges and work independently and in a team (through creativity). Being able to strike a healthy work-life balance is an indispensable life skill. More importantly, being introduced to it at an early stage in life is a great opportunity I am grateful for. Furthermore, I remember that my first and second year in the university was much smoother because of the wealth of knowledge I garnered doing the IB diploma. I recommend the IB diploma as an excellent transitional course from high school to higher education. AA: What universities did you attend after BSL? PA: I studied Chemical Engineering at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana. Then, I moved to the UK to study for an MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. I decided to continue into a doctoral programme immediately after my masters as I found that that I could use my expertise in chemical engineering to contribute solutions to one of the biggest challenges of our time which is global warming, climate change and the energy transition. I am currently studying for a PhD in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Cambridge. AA: Many young students frown upon PhDs due to the long time, energy, and effort required; how did you conjure the motivation and discipline to continue with your education? PA: I understand! I wouldn’t say you are completely prepared for the lone, long, and demanding journey of obtaining a PhD. It is almost like you learn on the go. One of the lessons I have come to learn is that passion, enthusiasm, or motivation cannot help you discover great things. You need to be extremely disciplined to get the most out of life. There is a limit to which the short-lived adrenaline rush of motivation can get you. There will be challenging days when you have zero drive to work. But you still must go to work because discipline is your only chance at success. In fact, all you need is to make the effort to show up, and things will somewhat sort themselves out. The famous story of Thomas Edison and his light bulb discovery only became a reality to me when I began my Ph.D. To young students who frown upon the Ph.D., yes, I agree, the Ph.D. program is not for everyone. It is a decision you must make on your own because the consequences will be yours to handle. However, if you are willing to pursue a Ph.D., it would be a very rewarding journey. You will face challenges all by yourself, there will be good and tough days. But you will learn a lot about yourself, your environment, gain an immense amount of knowledge and acquire some of the best transferable life skills like resilience, time and self-management, emotional maturity, creative thinking, and independent working. For me, it is worth the journey a hundred percent. AA: Do you have any words of advice for IB students here at BSL? PA: I am not big on giving advice as I realize that we all experience life distinctively and differently. More so, I do not want to taint your reality with my life experiences as this can be completely different from what you will encounter in life. So, forgive me if this will be very general. Make the best use of your time in BSL, work hard, have fun, make friends, be grateful and kind, forgive easily, ask questions, discover what resonates with you and stay true to you. Seek to help others when you can. Most importantly, you are not defined by your seeming failures or successes; for they are all momentary. You are you and you are enough. AA: Lastly, can you please sum up your PhD experience thus far? PA: A beautiful roller-coaster! Haha!