Bello Sambo Bello speaks: My journey towards bagging a Ph.D at 30
Meet Bello Sambo Bello, man from Katsina who bags Ph.D at the of 30
(Culled from Daily Trust)
Dr. Bello Sambo Bello is an engineer from Katsina State, but born in Kano and was raised in Kaduna. In this interview, Bello, 30, talks about his educational journey and how he bagged a Ph.D at that age.
I started secondary schooling at Zamani College where I got initial grounding for the sciences and graduated in 2007 with an outstanding WAEC result. I then proceeded to the Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus where I studied BSc Electrical Electronics and graduated with First Class.
I served the NYSC as a site engineer at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. In 2013 – 2014, I went for further education to read Masters in Engineering Control Systems and Instrumentation at The University of Huddersfield, U.K, and PhD at the same university 2014 – 2019. I also started work with The Institute of Railway Research (IRR) of the University of Huddersfield as from 2018 to date.
What was your driving force towards bagging a Ph.D?
I graduated the MSc in 2014 with Distinction (actually came top of my class) based on which my Project Supervisor(s) advised me not to relax but to proceed with PhD course – as my MSc thesis had opened up new areas of contribution to new knowledge and for doctoral research and the University offered me a tuition scholarship – to which I agreed and immediately commenced the Ph.D programme at The Institute of Railway Research, University of Huddersfield.
In 2018 I completed the doctoral research and was offered employment by the same institute to do more rail research work to date.
What difference does it make to be a Ph.D holder at 30?
I can confidently say that my critical thinking, horizon and resilience are at an all-time high. I have also improved a lot on my ability to collaborate with teams and make the most of peer reviews/critique.
Unfortunately, due long hours immersed behind the screen or publications, when it comes to my relationship with others, I think the inevitable traces of social anxiety, with little interest in frivolity (fashion, celebrity, entertainment) caused me to lose contact with most friends. Now that I look forward to getting back on the radar socially.
You schooled abroad. How did you strive through the cultural differences?
My biggest culture shock was at the early stages of my studies during my time in Cyprus, the food combination seemed unreal but in no time I wasn’t a stranger to char grilled green peppers, buttered pliau rice with ayran yoghurt. The hand gestures and passionate way of talking was also fascinating.
In the United Kingdom, the concept of time management was my biggest shocker, literary every second counts.
My journey from Heathrow underground to Huddersfield over ground train station taught me a lot on my first day. I still remember how the British accents I encountered changed gradually from the posh southern version to the broad Yorkshire type on my way North where the slang for “Thank you” is “Taa”
Do you think the overseas education system triggered your accelerated educational pace?
No, I think my accelerated pace of becoming a PhD holder was mostly driven by my personal ambition and the fact that my parents and siblings encouraged me with love, support and guidance in such a way that I didn’t feel tired of the journey until I had achieved my goal. Also, the swift nature of studies in my previous universities has also help to avoid unnecessary delays.
What were the challenges you faced in the pursuit of your goal?
The biggest challenge of being in such a specialist discipline is the ability to remain patient, work persistently hard to interlock the civil, electrical mechanical and computing aspects of my daily activities as a researcher.
Of course, there is the constant race to meet project deadlines before time and below budget to keep clients happy.
What are the biggest challenges for a PhD holder without a career?
There is a challenge of not appreciating the importance of career experience especially its impact on research methods and outcome. In other words, my colleagues with work experience had a better understanding of how to contribute to knowledge with novel techniques without having to rely on literature review in order to identify research gaps that can be filled.