Although we're extremely dedicated to making sure our students are fully prepared for their next steps into higher education, we'd like to think that Ashbourne College prepares students with a good foundation for life in general. For this reason, we are always delighted to hear how former students are getting are getting on, and we are especially keen to hear from those who are continuing to set themselves fantastic goals. So when former student and ambassador for Hope for Children, Olamide Abolarinwa got in touch to talk about her plans to take on Kilimanjaro, we couldn't have been more proud!
Here is what Olamide had to say about her upcoming challenge.
What prompted you to get involved with this charity and how long have you been an ambassador?
I became the publicity officer for a society at UCL called RAG (Raise and Give) in March 2015
I heard about Hope for Children as it was one of the charities RAG were supporting. In November, we had an info meeting for the Kilimanjaro challenge. The one thing I picked up from the meeting above everything else was their project themes, which were, empowering families, healthcare and education and the opportunity to visit their project in Tanzania on this trip.
I spoke to the charity representative, who informed me about an opportunity to be an ambassador, which made me think to myself, if I was going to do this trip I might as well know more about the charity. I went for the ambassador selection day and it was a family of aspiring and current ambassadors from different universities. They went over their work and the difference student ambassadors make with challenges in terms of income. Hearing all they did and the case studies we went over made me want to be a part of the team.
At the end, there was an interview for the role of an ambassador. Initially, I wasn’t nervous, but the last question I was asked which was “what is life to you?” made me think about my life and ask when had I done something selfless to aid the progress of someone else’s life. I passed my interview and I have officially been an ambassador for 5 months.
What preparation have you done for the challenge so far, and what else are you planning to do?
I jog at least twice a week and I am also on my university’s football team, so I train with them each week and play on Sundays as well. I take the stairs as much as possible, as it will be loads of climbing, which I am starting to get used to. I am also planning hiking trips in the summer for my team and I before the actual trip.
How did your time at Ashbourne College help to prepare and inspire you to take up this challenge?
I never took part in challenges at Ashbourne, but it was something I considered, as students were doing a charity skydive and they baked frequently to raise money by selling them. Back in Nigeria this wasn’t something I had ever seen people doing, so to see students passionate about charities and take time out of their studies to bake was quite impressive, which motivated me to participate in a challenge someday.
What are you most looking forward to about this challenge?
The second day of the trip before actually embarking on the trek, we will be visiting one of the charity’s project which is quite unique as you can see where the money you have raised is going, and hopefully get the feeling that all the training and multiple bake sales, were worth it. Also, living away from home and adapting to sleeping bags, as it’s a 6-day trek, the weather conditions are not fully predictable so it’s scary, but at the same time exciting. There will probably be times I want to give up but my psychological strength to continue will be all I can rely on. Also the relationship I will build with my fellow challenger is one I am looking forward to.
What key advice would you give to any Ashbourne College students who may be interested in taking up this challenge?
Do it, you are only young once. I’m not saying you can’t do this when you are older but it won’t be the same experience. Your youth is all you have to refer to, what did you do, apart from getting that first class and landing your dream job? What else did you have going on? I am saying this because it’s a challenge that widens your knowledge about the world we live in and what we take for granted but also tests your limits as a person.
Have you got anything else planned as a follow up?
I am thinking of doing a charity marathon. I enjoy running but due to the weather I don’t get to do it often so why not force myself through the weather and raise some money along the way? I could probably do a marathon just running around my neighbourhood, but what fun is it, if I am the only one benefitting?
We applaud Olamide for digging deep to find the courage to take part in this challenge. We look forward to hearing all about it on her return!
If you would like to sponsor Olamide on her Kilimanjaro challenge, please follow the link below