I had the privilege of interviewing the stunning Adama Sesay, known as "Aunty Adama" to her friends. Adama is a London-born half Nigerian, half Sierra Leonian student of the University of Birmingham. She is studying International Business with Communications, currently in her third year and about to go on her year abroad to Malaysia.
So Adama, tell me a bit about yourself. What do you do in and out of uni?
Whilst I'm at uni I spend my free time working as a student mentor in a local secondary school and sixth form. I help my mentees with their business related subjects as well as applications for both sixth form and university. Outside of uni, I work as a social media manager for an events management company, handling all of their social media platforms. I also have a YouTube channel where I post faith-based and lifestyle videos. Additionally, I bake...a lot and I'm currently undergoing the process of revamping my food blog.
Wow, you're certainly active! How are you able to balance all these things you do with university work?
Time management and organisation is of paramount importance.
Contrary to popular belief, as students, we have ample time outside of our scheduled lectures and seminars in comparison to someone working a full-time job.
It's really about how you manage and organise the time that you have. Personally, I set daily and weekly goals. They motivate me to get things done as I know that I am working towards accomplishing something. Having a routine also helps, especially during the mornings and evenings; ensuring that I wake up and go to bed the same time each day. Also understanding that there is a time for everything as the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". This helps me to stay grounded, check and discipline myself to ensure that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, when I'm supposed to be doing it.
Superb answer, I definitely have to rethink my work ethic!
Would you say that you would like to be a full-time Youtuber, blogger or social media manager, or is there any other career you're pursuing?
Although I'm not completely opposed to the idea of blogging/doing YouTube full time, it's not something that is at the forefront of my mind currently. I intend to put my degree to use and delve into the business/technology sector with a focus on development and education.
How would you say being a Christian at uni has helped you with your crafts, and what are the challenges you face with being a Christian at uni?
Being a Christian at uni has helped me immensely with my crafts as it has made me more disciplined as I am aware of the fact that I am representing Christ and His excellence. It has also helped me to allow my purpose to fuel my passions, which helps me to operate with integrity, in the sense that I no longer pursue things just because they make me look good on paper, but rather because they are in line with God's will for me at this time and ultimately return the glory to Him.
I no longer pursue things just because they make me look good on paper, but rather because they are in line with God's will for me at this time and ultimately return the glory to Him.
Definitely don't pursue something simply cause it makes you look good on paper! Very important, something I myself learnt earlier this year.
A challenge that I have faced with being a Christian at uni is people bondage; the fact that you are constantly being watched, by your peers and other Christians and are caring about what they think of you. It can almost feel as if people are waiting for you to trip up so they can comment on how "un-Christian" your reaction/behaviour is. I've learned to overcome this by fixing my gaze on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Also, understanding that I only answer to and serve one master, Jesus...not man. Therefore, in everything I do, I try to do it to the best of my ability, to honour God and not for the approval or applause of man.
Girll, people bondage is so real at uni!
I gather that you're a fellowship leader of G.I.F.T. right? Tell me more about the fellowship and how it has helped you with your journey as a young Christian.
G.I.F.T. stands for: Growing In Faith and Truth and is a non-denominational Christian student fellowship. After much persuasion from a friend, I started attending GIFT in the second semester in my first year and then went on to serve as President and Worship Leader in my second year. It's helped me so much with my journey as a Christian as it established an unwavering network of fellow young Christians around me. I learned to serve God through serving others. I've made lasting and God-centred friendships with people who love greatly, rebuke in love and with truth and are sold out for Christ. It taught me about the importance of fellowship and worship. Most significantly, it has taught me about the unconditional love of God and the importance of knowing the truth that is the word of God and allowing it to transform and renew me through my obedience to it.
Sounds like you've made some dope friends through GIFT!
If any of you are in the University of Birmingham (UoB) or Aston University, definitely check out GIFT! Even though I go to Warwick, I've been to quite a few GIFT events myself and the authenticity you get from fellowshipping with them is so great. Everyone's legit a family and I love it. Check out their Twitter (UoB, Aston) and Instagram (UoB) pages.
How did you get the nickname "Aunty Adama"?
LOL I've always been told that I've got Aunty tendencies. From the way I behave and do certain things, to the things that I say and the advice and counsel that I give. My friends went from saying "you're such an Aunty" to simply calling me "Aunty Adama" and it has just stuck since then.
What advice would you give people just going into university in terms of being a Christian at uni?
1. Be assured of your identity in Christ; know and believe what God says about you in His word. The first thing that the devil came for when He tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness was His identity. He (Satan) didn't address Him according to His true identity and say: "Son of God, command that these stones become bread". Instead he questioned Jesus' identity in Matthew 4:3 and said "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." He said "if". IF?! He questioned the identity of the King of kings, how much more you? When you know and believe God's word concerning you, that you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), you are a royal priesthood, (1 Peter 2:9) that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14), all that you do will reflect these truths.
Know and believe what God says about you in His word.
2. Make the most of the opportunities presented to you. There are loads of things that you can get involved in outside of your academics, from sports to a range of societies. Don't be afraid to get involved! And if you see a gap, don't be afraid to fill it, create opportunities that you would like to see manifest if they do not currently exist. Remember child of God, you are light, so shine!
3. Establish yourself within a community. This involves a lot of things, from finding a Bible believing church, to being a part of a student fellowship on campus. This ensures accountability, not only with your walk with Christ but with a whole range of other things, such as your general well-being, academics, etc.
It's okay if you don't feel like you fit in, you are set apart.
4. Remain intimate with your Father. Give God your best time and commune with Him daily in prayer and through His word.
We can often make excuses for why we don't spend time with God, we are either too busy with uni work or life in general. But the truth of the matter is that we really do make time for the things that we consider to be important.
Wow, so much wisdom! I love all your responses. The revelation from Matthew 4:3 about Jesus and Satan was a really good one especially.
Your YouTube channel is amazing by the way, I especially love The Peculiar People Project that you've been doing. What led you to create this project, and how did the name come about?
The Peculiar People Project is a docu-series detailing various aspects of faith that impact the lives and journeys of young Christians. It is based around the scripture 1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light".
God placed this vision in my heart and gave me this assignment summer of last year. Initially, I was consumed with fear - of comparison, inadequacy and the unknown.
"How long will you allow fear to hinder Me from using you?" God asked. These words rang in my ears continuously. Weeks/months passed and my procrastination became outright disobedience. Excuses after excuses. I lacked the resources that was required to make this "perfect". Abba's instructions were vivid and I didn't want to mess it up. I began to idolise the start and this prevented me from starting.
Breakthrough. Things gradually began to fall into place. Jehovah Jireh came through. He equipped and provided me with everything I required and more, willing participants and helpers, technical support...you name it. When Abba sends help, He sends people. Peculiar People.