A complete package, a high flyer, a woman of distinction, an epitome of intelligence and excellence, Fatimah Morenikeji Adubiaro is that and more.
Well, it’s no surprise Dr. Fatimah exudes excellence. If you know her, you will know she has always been a high flyer since her childhood and settles for nothing but the topmost position.
The recent graduate of Physiology and MBBS from the University of Lagos with 10 distinctions shares her story with At-Tareeq. It was all fun listening to her.
Assalāmu ‘Alaikum Wa Rahmatullāh Wa Barakahtuhu
Please Ma’am, can you kindly introduce yourself to us?
I’m Dr. Fatimah Morenikeji Adubiaro, a graduate of Medicine and Surgery from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Who is Dr. Fatimah Adubiaro?
I’m a 25-year-old indigene of Ekiti State, born to Hon Sulaimon Adubiaro, a Civil Engineer and Entrepreneur, and Dr. Mrs. Adubiaro, an associate professor of chemistry at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti. I also recently got married to Radiographer Odeyinka Miftahudeen Alade, Alhamdulillah.
I’m also a striving Muslimah (May Allah accept our strivings….Aameen). Asides from being a doctor, I also love learning and teaching the Qur’an a lot
Let’s start with a journey down memory lane. How was growing up like for you?
I’m the third child and only daughter of four children born to my parents. I attended Igbayilola N/P school for my nursery and primary education, and AtTawheed Model Schools for my secondary education. I wouldn’t say I’m the typical child born with a silver spoon in her mouth, as we had our highs and lows as far as family finances are concerned. However, despite all these, one thing my parents always made sure of was that we were enrolled in the best schools available, even if that meant sacrificing a lot as regards our standard of living.
How did your upbringing influence you and the person you are today?
As I earlier mentioned, my schools, both primary and secondary formed a solid basis for academic excellence and it was easier to tow that path. Also, my parents never imposed any career on any of us. When I chose to be a medical doctor, they kept asking over and over again if that was what I wanted, not because they weren’t happy with my choice of a career, but because they wanted to make sure I wasn’t being coerced. This is very important because a career chosen for and by yourself is more likely to bring out the best in you. More especially, medicine as a course, it is very easy to give up if you didn’t want the course in the beginning, due to the challenges one is likely to face.
Also, my parents always encouraged us to be the best we could be and always celebrated us whenever we achieved an academic feat. My dad would tell us clearly that he doesn’t celebrate birthdays but he celebrates achievements. So, whenever we achieved those feats, he would take us out. My mum would buy me new storybooks as gifts when I did well, especially in promotion examinations, as she knew I loved to read storybooks. These also assisted me a great deal.
What informed your decision of becoming a Medical Doctor?
I had always wanted to be a medical doctor since I was a little girl. There was a Nurse in our street who usually treats people when they are sick and I wanted to be like her. I remember mentioning it to my elder brother and he told me; Why don’t you be a doctor instead? Doctors also treat patients and they have more money (laughs). So, I decided to be a medical doctor, and ever since then, my love for the medical career just kept increasing, although now for more mature reasons (laughs). But by and large, it’s more of an innate liking for a thing. I love every part of being a doctor and I’m grateful to Allah for making me a doctor.
Tell us about your experience in medical school?
Medical school was a wonderful experience. Tears, laughter, joy, hope, sadness, fear, anxiety, every emotion possible can be stirred up by medical school experience.
During my days in premedical diploma class, with Allah’s help, the only thing I needed to adjust to, was the university system of doing things. So, I didn’t have any issues. Our courses were essentially the same, albeit more advanced: Physics, chemistry, biology. My very good friend, Dr. Azeezat Ajose introduced me to the library that year and I became a library goer. So, with the help of Allah, I crossed over to 200 level with a GP of 4.67
200 level, however, was a different ball game with courses I was newly introduced to. I struggled to find my foot. In all of these, another very good friend of mine, Dr. Pelewura Hamdalah introduced me to the one I can call my Hero, Dr. Alade Azeez Arisekola, the greatest tutor and mentor of all time. He painstakingly tutored and mentored me to achieve distinctions in all my courses in 200 and 300 levels, adding up to 8 distinctions. This gave me a solid basis to navigate the remaining levels of medical school, ending with 2 distinctions in my final year to make up 10 distinctions in all.
In all of this, what kept you going?
The fact that I know that as a Muslim, everything you do will be rewarded by Allah, as if you’re praying or fasting, as long as you have the right intentions. The thought of this kept me going when I felt like giving up. Also, my innate love for the practice of medicine was helpful. It made clinic and ward round attendance less difficult.
You graduated with a double degree, BSc physiology and MBBS. Tell us how that came about?
I was able to achieve this feat, by Allah’s mercy via the intercalated program. The intercalated program is an opportunity given to students initially admitted for MBBS or BDS, and to study Physiology for one year, after the 300 level MBBS or BDS program.
At the end of the one-year intercalated program, the candidate graduates with a BSc, and then progresses to 400 level MBBS or BDS, albeit with his or her immediate junior students.
The criteria which the candidate must meet before being allowed to benefit from the intercalated program in Physiology include
The candidate must have a distinction in physiology, which I had
In addition to 1. Above, he/she must have at least 3 other distinctions in the combination of his/her 200&300 level courses.
Meaning at least 4 out of 8 distinctions including a distinction in Physiology.
In my case, I had 8 of 8 distinctions so I was qualified. I took the intercalated program and graduated with first-class (4.75) in Physiology, Alhamdulillah, before proceeding to complete my MBBS degree.
Standing on that podium, receiving all those awards, how did it feel like to be celebrated?
It felt really good, Alhamdulillah. I was happy I was able to do something for myself, my parents, my wonderful friends and associates who were always rooting for me, my wonderful husband, and for the Islamic society at large.
I heard you exude excellence and have always been a high flyer since primary school days. Can you give us a complete package of your educational journey?
Well, in primary school, I was usually among the first three positions. In secondary school, I was first throughout my stay there, Alhamdulillah. I already gave other details in the previous sections, Alhamdulillah
Going forward, what area of Medicine would you be exploring (specializing)?
Bi idhnillāh, I plan to specialize in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. I have always had an interest in that field before the awards, and I’m glad Allah granted me the awards. Though I envisage there are challenges on the way, I pray Allah makes it easy.
As an Hijābi, what are the challenges you’ve had to deal with because of your Hijāb, either in medical school or elsewhere?
Majorly, the mentality that hijabis don’t do well is widespread, and I’m glad that the mentality is changing. I’ve also had to deal with superiors, co-workers, and other health care professionals who don’t want you to carry out a specified task with your hijab on, even though it doesn’t violate any rules of the hospital.
I’ve also had the issue of classes and exams being fixed at Jumu’ah times.
By the way, does being a Muslim influence you, your way of life, the decisions you make, and your exploits?
Being a Muslim has influenced my decisions and exploits in so many ways. One major striking way being a Muslim liberated me is in my sojourn as an undergraduate. Being a Muslim made it easy for me to overcome a lot of distractions like boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, incessant partying, and all those. Being a Muslim also inspired me to always strive for the best in whatever I do, as contained in a Hadith where the Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said: “Verily, Allah loves that whenever anyone of you engages in a deed, that he perfects it”
Tell us about you and Islām. What does Islām mean to you?
Islam to me is a gift that I am deeply grateful for. Islam is simply the way to live our lives, perfectly planned by the master planner, Allah Himself. It’s amazing, that whenever we want to do things according to our knowledge, Allah humbles us and shows us He always knows better. Alhamdulillah for Islam.
What are your principles in life?
Allah first, always
Always put in your best. Once you have done that, you can conveniently leave everything to Allah. I particularly don’t like the feeling that I could have done better, so I try to guard against it as much as possible.
What would you advise anyone who wishes to tread your path?
Hmm. This is a dicey one, as I know that my success is only by Allah.
However, the first is to always put Allah first in whatever one does. Also, never see a goal as impossible, or unachievable. Just make sure you put in your best and leave the rest to Allah.
I also used to wonder how possible the distinctions were, but I was encouraged to keep putting my best, and Allah crowned the efforts, Alhamdulillah
Also, particularly for medical school, it is important to be aware of the system one is in, to channel one’s efforts appropriately. High yield topics, style of question answering, details of attendance, and signatures, all these information helps to make the medical journey a bit smoother.
What’s your advice for our darling Muslim sisters out there?
We, Muslim sisters, are currently the endangered species”. As such, we need to distinguish ourselves positively in any endeavor we venture into. We also need to consider career choices in medicine and other allied medical courses such as Radiography, Physiotherapy, Medical laboratory science, etc.