I love hearing stories about ladies smashing stereotypes in career and leadership. It is refreshing and inspiring to read about and it spurs other women to aspire to more. As much as I love reading about brilliant successful women who are currently making waves in the society, I believe that becoming a daring female leader is not something that just happens at the peak of your career. It is something you start building from an early age. Then, in the university, what you have learned all through childhood and teenagerhood is tested and refined. By the time you graduate, you are more equipped to face the world.
Ladies in school is a series that is dedicated to showcasing female high achievers who are still students. It focuses on ladies in school who are driven, motivated, and full of passion. These ladies have dreams and aspirations and are working towards achieving their goals. Ladies who are passionate about volunteering, leadership and are doing great things despite being in school.
By sharing these stories, I hope to inspire female students all over the country. I want to show these students that their dreams and pursuits are valid, and they are not alone. So, they should keep working hard, defying stereotypes, and getting things done.
This edition of Ladies in School is a very special one as we will be sitting down with Victoria Adeola Shittu. She is the founder of AVASTORIA, a medical student, mental health enthusiast, and a poet.
Currently, she is also the Vice President of Ife University Medical Students Association (IFUMSA). She has been able to spread her wings with impact via volunteering in the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) and counseling young boys and girls in mental health. Her passion speaks loudly with the progress she is making in AVASTORIA.
Sit back, grab a snack and let’s get to know her better.
1. Can we meet you, please?
I am Victoria Adeola Shittu, branded as AVASTORIA 💚. I am a Clinical 2/ 500L student of Medicine and Surgery at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.
2. What spurred your interest in Mental Health Issues?
I would say it is a calling. I am that God’s daughter called to join him at work in the field of medicine, particularly mental health advocacy to raise mentally aware and strong individuals.
For me, I just want all I do, the fact that I stand to speak, share stories, and all to build mentally aware and strong people.
3. Do you seek to specialize in Mental Health Issues later?
Yes, I hope to. I am particularly interested in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
4. Can you tell us more about AVASTORIA and projects you have launched under your initiative?
AVASTORIA is a brand that is being unveiled day by day. At the moment, AVASTORIA has three parts to her, the counseling, coaching, and the advocacy part. All these parts still achieve one goal, mental awareness and strength and I hope while I’m at it, I’m able to offer these Freedom, Healing, Wholeness, and Strength.
As AVASTORIA, I have been able to pioneer mental health outreaches to secondary schools.
I have also been able to coach intending and aspiring mental health enthusiasts on how to grow their interest in this field and organizations to be a part of.
Counseling is a part-time service I offer. I volunteered with the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) where I was officially exposed to the art of counseling.
5. What spurred your interest in studying medicine?
Medicine seemed like the one thing for me. I wanted to be able to help most people and I felt medicine was one of the fields that can provide answers and solutions to a wide range of challenges. So, I went for it.
6. What impact will you create on the next generation?
Children and Adolescents! I love that age group and that’s where my work comes in. I think that’s the most critical part of anyone’s life. I want to build youths who are confident, strong, aware, and can achieve just about anything they want just by hearing of me, and much more when they come in contact with me. I believe there’s something deposited in me for this generation and that is why growing them right is my desire.
7. How do you hope to combine all your amazing experiences in the future?
🤗. That’s a beautiful question. I don’t know how it would go just yet but I like surprises ( pleasant ones) and I’m excited about it. I believe it’s God who keeps me together and when that future does come, it’s almost here, he would keep me just together and perfectly.
8. How do you merge poetry writing in the Arts world and your career in the Sciences?
Poetry is divine. Some people like mysteries ( I belong to that category) and poetry gives that touch of mystery in the right dose. I like the way the words flow, the poise, and the fresh breath. Poetry is a therapy for me and even for some of my clients. I prescribe poetry in the form of music.
9. What does volunteering mean to you?
Volunteering means giving myself to a cause that I believe in.
10. What advice will you give a freshman female student?
Take your time, observe, note the things you love, and learn about them. Find people in that area, follow them from afar or closely if you can and when it’s time, Shine!
11. How has been your role as the Vice President of IFUMSA?
Challenging and beautiful. I love that I’m making those impacts I desired and at the same time learning to work with people and deal with the challenges of leadership.
12. Life as a student, what is it like?
Fam! It is not the easiest thing in the world. For many, it is the pressure to act like they know what they are doing while for others, it is that of money.
13. What have been the major ups for you in school?
Talking to people, my patients, and colleagues and seeing them smile and give great feedback.
Also, many of my consultants convince me to come back for residency in their specialty. It only means I do well wherever I go. Medicine is rewarding for me.
14. Do you have particular motivations in school, either in person or things?
Well, I always tell myself that I want to fulfill my purpose. I want many people to look at me and say thank you for rising and doing what you do.
That’s my motivation.
15. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
A renowned Psychiatrist, wife, author, leader, and coach making waves globally.
I hope you enjoyed this exciting conversation with Victoria Adeola Shittu. And are challenged to make an impact, regardless of your age, class, or level. In her words, the greatest motivation in life is to fulfill purpose – for many people to look at you and say thank you for rising and doing what you do. It is my greatest desire, dear lady, that you rise up to the occasion and that people say these things about you.
To connect with her or support the initiative, reach out on these social media platforms:
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/victoria-adeola-shittu-1a0512196/