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Ayodeji Oyedeji on asking yourself honest questions about your choices

Undergraduate degree and University:

Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Second Class Lower) from the University of Ghana

Graduate degree and University:

Master's Degree in Health Psychology (Merit)from Coventry University

Ph.D. Public Mental Health from the University of Sheffield.

What inspired your Graduate School goal?

The desire to want to help others as well as understanding that there is a need to be creative in addressing some of the challenges in the Nigerian health care sector.

What are some of the pressing challenges you encountered while trying to go to grad school?

Being rejected by several grad schools in different countries and having few supervisors with similar research interests. There was also the struggle to find funding for my Ph.D. adventure, as well as questioning if embarking on a Ph.D. was the right step to take.

How did you overcome these challenges?

It was easy to give up and just focus on something else, but I tried convincing myself that I had already done the difficult bit, which was writing a research proposal, and as such, I had already come too far to give up. I also surrounded myself with people/friends whose drive was infectious, and this spurred me to keep sending in applications and getting in touch with potential supervisors.

The resources other aspiring scholars may find useful.

The common one is knowing the right terms to use when searching for articles in academic search engines. Without knowing this, you can spend hours or days without making getting results. I also would advise utilizing websites such as Coursera and Futurelearn for personal and professional development.

Another thing that will be useful for aspiring scholars is having time for oneself.

This is one area that's not often discussed. The narrative is that scholars (current and aspiring) should solely focus on academic matters and neglect other areas. My advice would be to create a schedule to socialize with friends and make sure your academics aren’t affected.

What is your philosophy about life?

My take on life is to be the best version of myself and take myself out of my comfort zone to be in positions where I'm able to help others.

What is the next milestone for you?

I think this would be putting my research into practice and testing my project’s feasibility in the real world. Often, the Ph.D. thesis stays on the shelves and in university databases.

What is your advice to other African students?

Before embarking on the postgraduate journey, you need to ask yourself the honest questions;

Why do I want to do this? What sort of impact is this ambition likely to have? Is this postgraduate ambition in line with my goals for life? How will this postgraduate ambition enhance my personal and professional long-term goals? Because when the chips are down and frustration begins to creep in, the answers to some of these questions will help you get back on your feet and push you to achieve your goals.


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