Meet Isoken Odia O.D M.P.H

By Editor - June 14, 2017



Meet Isoken Odia our spotlight of the week. She shares her experience as an optometrist and branching out into public health. Public health is somehing lots of people get confused about or lost in but Isoken has made something great of it and I hope this inspires someone.

My journey in public health began when I was in the University of Benin studying to become an optometrist. In my third year, three of my neighbours died of cancer at the same time. At that time, I wasn’t really familiar with the disease but I kept thinking to myself, could this be due to environmental factors? Why would three individuals living on the same street die of cancer at the same time? It could have been a coincidence but I couldn't stop thinking about these unfortunate events. This made me very interested in research. It is important to find what you’re really interested in and then you can focus on making it your career. I enjoyed working as an eye doctor but somewhere along the line, my interest for research made me decide to go into public health. I knew it wasn't something I was very familiar with so I took a class in biostatistics at some point and I truly enjoyed it which made me choose my concentration in biostatistics.
      When I was asked to write an inspiring story about myself I was nervous because I knew I’m not a very good writer but instead of declining the request I decided to give it a try. As I was sitting on my couch searching google on how to write an inspiring story ( the things I search for on google though ), I realised something, this attitude truly helped me during my master’s program. Of course let’s not forget God because every decision I made could have turned out differently but I remembered watching YouTube videos on statistics. I was faced with the challenges of advanced statistical concepts but instead of accepting defeat I decided to learn from online videos. I knew I didn’t want to fail, I also knew if I continued reading without help, I was never going to get the grade I wanted. The truth is hard work is as important as believing in yourself. I also knew that with the necessary effort I could understand advanced calculus no matter how difficult it appeared to me. In life you will be discouraged, people will doubt your abilities and you will also doubt your abilities but don’t be defeated.
   Another important lesson I learnt during my public health journey was to acquire the necessary skills to standout. Look for the most valuable skill and be great at it. For me that was SAS (statistical analysis system) a software used for data analysis. Even though I took a class in school, I had to put in extra effort to understand the language. Most times I didn’t know what I was doing at the beginning but I started helping people figure out how to analyse their data with this software. I became the first SAS tutor in my department. It is important to put in the effort as this could truly help in making you stand out.
  The last major lesson I learnt was to surround myself with people who shared the same ideas and dreams. You may be intelligent but who your friends are can determine how great you can be in life. I was fortunate to find some amazing friends and that was truly instrumental in my success.

Cheers 


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