Born and raised in Nigeria, Rume Dedekuma’s career journey has required persistence and determination.
After graduating from a private high school in December 2007, Rume’s plan was to attend university in Alberta. With his heart set on enrolling in a Bachelor of Science program, but few of these programs accepting students in the Winter term, Rume found himself at Augustana Campus with the intention of transferring soon after arriving.
This plan was short lived. From small class sizes to close relationships with professors and various opportunities to get involved, Rume knew he wouldn’t get the same experience anywhere else. The result—Rume stayed at Augustana for his full four and a half years. Always having an innate interest in psychology, but without much prior exposure, Rume was initially unsure about making the discipline his major. However, convincing him didn’t take much as Rume decided to change his major to psychology after his first intro class with Augustana faculty members Tim Parker and Rebecca Purc-Stephenson.
In between his studies, Rume found time to get involved, participating in undergraduate research, the Augustana Students’ Association, the International Students’ Association, and the Soccer Club. “An unexpected gift about my time at Augustana was how easy it was to befriend people,” said Rume. “Everyone was generally warm and receptive and took pride in being part of the community.”
Although, as expected, immigrating to another country had its struggles. Rume came to Canada with a study permit, prohibiting him from working during his studies and making his job search post-grad that much more difficult. With little experience, a post-grad work permit that only lasted three years and a permanent residency application requiring significant work experience, Rume had less time to establish roots than he had to earn his degree. It was the connections he made during rare summer jobs and with Augustana faculty members that helped steer him in the right direction, providing recommendations and advice that would allow him to gain the experience he needed.
Now a permanent resident and looking to apply for Canadian citizenship, Rume works as an Addictions Counsellor with Alberta Health Services. In this work, Rume provides support to individuals and families in their struggles with substance abuse—something that he finds deeply rewarding: “My work gives me the privilege of helping people help themselves. Everyone is capable of change, sometimes they just need a bit of hope, motivation, or reminder.” Rume credits both his previous work at a residential detox facility—which gave him valuable and relevant experience—and his degree for allowing him to be effective and versatile in his role.
“My biggest take away from this adventure is the importance of being unrelenting with your goals,” said Rume. “Opportunities won’t always be there, but if your determination remains unwavering, your hard work and dedication will eventually pay off.”