What are your goals? What are your dreams? What do you aspire to be? No matter the dream, anything is achievable with hard work and sacrifice. Today you will read about three individuals who have undergone the rigorous process of Medical, Pharmacy, and Law School. They have given some great tips and advice for people interested in pursuing one of these careers. Enjoy the Interview below!
Gray Akoegbe, MD
Kosi Odoemene, Pharm. D
Osa Asemota, JD
1.Why did you choose this career? Do you have any regrets?
Gray (Medical)- I had a life changing moment as a child when I lost a close family member. That moment was my catalyst for looking into medicine as a life career. My real defining moment was realizing how much I enjoyed basic science and biology during my first exposure in high school.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- I chose this career because I was always interested in this field, since I was 7 years old. My curiosity developed for this field and I just pursued it. I love science which comes along with pharmacy, but most of all I like the patient interaction associated with pharmacy. All in all it was an ideal fit for me.
Osa (Law)- I wanted to have a career that would fit with my personality (opinionated, bubbly, generous, and analytical), allow me to be myself, and allow me to work with and help people. I honestly do not regret taking this career route because it was not something that just fell in my lap. I prayed and sought out my God before making any decisions concerning my career.
2. Tell me about your background? Education & Experience?
Gray (Medical)- Originally from Cameroon. I moved here (United States) at the age of 11. I feel I’ve been in school my whole life without much of a break. I was a high school student at McEachern, college student at Kennesaw State University and Medical student at Meharry Medical College in Tennessee . I am currently a 2nd year resident at the University of Chicago. In terms of experience, there’s very little since I took no breaks between each stage.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- I have a Nigerian background, but grew up in New Jersey. I graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a degree in Human Biology, then went to Notre Dame of Maryland University to pursue my Pharm D degree in Baltimore, MD.
Osa (Law)- I was born in Houston, Texas, but was raised in Brooklyn, New York. I currently reside in Atlanta, GA and have been here for the last fifteen years. I attended Georgia State University and attained a degree in Business Administration in May 2012. In the Fall of 2012, I entered the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University located in Houston, Texas. I have held various positions in my field including working for Wells Fargo Bank before entering law school and now working as a legal assistant at the Immigration Relief Center in Duluth, GA. I will be sitting for my license exam soon and after such will go from a legal assistant to a full-fledged attorney.
3. What advice would you give someone when trying to pick a school to attend?
Gray (Medical)- Choose a school based on the people you meet and how well you see yourself assimilating at the institution.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- Think about where you see yourself practicing once you graduate. If you get accepted within that location it’ll be great for networking purposes while in school. Also factor in tuition cost, as well as housing around the area, because most schools may not offer living accommodations. Also during your interview, pay attention to your environment, to get a feel of the professors as well as the current students.
Osa (Law)- One of the most important things is to have faith. Secondly, you must know yourself and the type of environment you know you will be able to thrive in. Thirdly, you must be organized. It is important that you pay attention to deadlines, tuition, diversity, retention rates, and employment rates. My biggest advice is to have faith, I cannot reiterate that enough. The process can be grueling and it was my Christian faith helped me through the school selection.
4. How do you handle workload stress & emergency situations?
Gray (Medical)- The work load and stress gets worse with each step but you learn to adapt and become acclimated as you go. One thing that will always keep you sane is remembering the reason you choose to go into that field. I love what I do and would not change that for the world. However, there is stress and frustration which needs to be vented in a safe way. I usually run and exercise as a mean of relief.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- To be honest and cliché, I take it day by day. I’ve learned the importance of pacing myself so that I am not overwhelmed. It is also important for me to remember that I work so that I can live and not live to work. The working life can become so mundane and routine -like so its vital ( like water is to life) to remember to do the things you love such as your hobbies. All this decreases stress.
Osa (Law)- I try to make sure that I take time out for myself. I do things that I love, whether its shopping, dining out, going to the movies, or hanging out with friends. It is so easy to get overloaded and stressed out, practicing law can be a heavy load, but making sure that you actively take time for yourself, making sure that you eat well and exercise is important. I take emergency situations in stride, I try to remain calm and analyze the situation first before taking action
5. Describe your day to day activities, priorities, and tasks.
Gray (Medical)- My day to day activities change based on the service in rotating on. Some weeks I have clinic where I see my own patients, but I’m usually in the hospital taking care of admitted patients. Early morning and late night are the usual. There are no weekends. The work week is usually about 60-80 hours in the hospital with a day of a week which is usually spent on catching up on life and sleep.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- My daily tasks at work usually are the same. I work for a retail chain pharmacy. I fill and verify prescriptions and counsel patients on appropriate use.
Osa (Law)- My days are never really the same. I may have to help interview a client, work on a particular client’s file, or write a memorandum to another attorney. I make a to do list every night of the activities that I need to complete the next day. I prioritize by the importance of the activities and the date the activity needs to be completed. I write down everything because it is easy to forget something when you have a lot to do. Every client has a deadline that needs to be met, so it is important to remain organized, so that you do not miss key dates for filing paper work with the court, meeting with your client, or going to a hearing.
6. Tell me about a successful moment or accomplishment you’ve had thus far in your career.
Gray (Medical)- I feel my whole journey to this point is something I’m very proud off. Knowing my family is proud of me and hearing them express that would be my “moment”
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- Everyday, every minute, every hour is a successful moment. The moment I come into work and complete my daily tasks and provide adequate care to a patient in the midst of a fast paced retail environment is a success for me.
Osa (Law)- One of the first cases I helped with was for a middle school-aged girl who was going to be deported. We were able to save this young girl, who had virtually grown up in the United States, from being deported back to a country she did not know.
7. What are the key challenges of this field?
Gray (Medical)- The field is not constant. Research is always change our scope of practice and guidelines. You will forever be a student as the practice is evolving as our knowledge of medicine continues to expand.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- -Working in a high stressed, fast paced environment such as retail pharmacy. Dealing with difficult people while being calm.
Osa (Law)- The law is forever changing. As society changes, so does the law, as such lawyers must be able to adapt quickly to these changes. Also, the law contains many loopholes, so it is the job of a lawyer to analyze their client’s case and make sure the client does not become a victim of such loopholes in an ever changing justice system.
8. How did you prepare yourself for the long journey of becoming a Doctor/Pharmacist/or Lawyer?
Gray (Medical)- Remembering my purpose and reason for entering this field.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- I knew from an early age this was a career I wanted to pursue so I took the necessary requirements and mastered them. I also worked in a pharmacy throughout high school and college, even while I was in Pharmacy school. All of this led towards an interview and acceptance to pharmacy school.
Osa (Law)- You have to have a very strong mind and spirit to be a lawyer. Your mind and your spirit can easily be broken, especially when dealing with a justice system that may or may not be favorable to your client. Go into any situation with the mindset of doing absolutely everything you possibly can to help your client. One of the rules lawyers must abide by is “working zealously and effectively on a client’s case.”
9. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
Gray (Medical)- I haven’t really thought of this. At the very least, I’d like to be a role model for my (Future) Children.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- n/a
Osa (Law)- I want my legacy to be one where people remember me for always giving a helping hand and wanting to see others succeed, even more than myself. I want to be remembered for always putting others before myself and making sure that my community thrived. Community is very important to me. Having that support of people who actually want to see others do well is important.
10. What do you consider to be the most positive impact of medicine/pharmacy/or law on the world?
Gray (Medical)-Having the ability to save lives on a daily basis is pretty incredible.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- Keeping patients alive and well.
Osa (Law)- Lawyers are here to help the helpless. It is easy to take advantage of people who do not know their rights. There are so many people walking around as moving targets, each being manipulated and used because they do not know better. Good lawyers are protectors of human rights and see that one of the only ways to help humanity is to inform them of these rights.
11. What advice can you give to people, trying to enter medical/law/ or pharmacy school and fulfill their dreams?
Gray (Medical)- Have a purpose. Don’t be discouraged by failure.Don’t think too much of the future.
Kosi ( Pharmacy)- Stay focused and determined. Keep your eyes on the prize. It will be difficult but don’t give up. Don’t let distraction get in the way. Pray, pray, pray
Osa (Law)- Never give up on the dream of being a lawyer because of what your family or society says. Many times our family members or members of society will place unnecessary fears in our minds because of their own experiences, but every human experience is different. We all may take different roads to get to our goals, and that is the great part. It’s the twists and turns in our lives that make us who we are. Every lawyer is not the same, we all think differently, we all will look at a case and come up with one hundred different ways to solve it. There is no cookie-cutter route to becoming a lawyer. The one things I learned in law school is that different is good, different can help you win a case, different can help your client go from losing it all to gaining everything and then some. I did not take the traditional route into law school or through law school, but I am here and I am happy with every decision I made along the way.
My advice to any aspiring lawyers is to:
1) Take the LSAT (do your best and God will do the rest)
2) Apply to law school
3) Do not wait until the last minute (The early bird catches the worm)
4) Do not place limits on yourself and on God (apply to any law school, no matter your LSAT results or your GPA)
5) Believe in your abilities (always remember where you started from and those who you started with and did not make it there)
6) Put a smile on (you will need it to deal with fellow law school students :] )
7) Get a support system going (my sisters and very close friends were mine)
8) Get a mentor (I am definitely available firstname.lastname@example.org)
9) And if always make sure to go for it even if you are afraid (“DO IT AFRAID”)
10) Live regret free (lean not on your own understanding/ Lean on God)
Remember it is never too late to make your dreams a reality! Live a life of fulfillment & passion!
Thanks for reading.