Abdul Rahman Bensalim talks about second year

A day in the life

Abdul Rahman Bensalim talks about second year

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I like that the lab for my Evolution class is so straightforward. We’re doing a project over the term to study allele variations in flies from generation to generation. And we’re sampling to determine how genes behave.

The business of biology

“One of my life goals is to become a business tycoon,” smiles Abdul Rahman Bensalim, a second-year student in Dal’s Biology Department. “I played a lot of business-oriented games as a kid.”

Business and biology? “I’m not sure yet how I can combine them,” he admits. “I know bio-mimicry will be a big part of the future. But for now, I’m just thinking of doing a minor in business.”

He’s also planning to follow in his mother’s footsteps and go into medicine—which would also make his dad proud. “If Dalhousie’s Medical School accepts me, then I’ll stay,” he says, adding that he volunteers at a hospital and enjoys it. “Also, being a doctor will help me build up the capital I’d need to achieve my business goals."

Abdul’s already working hard to make that plan happen: “This year, I’m looking forward to getting an A+ in all my classes.” And he’s not joking. “I spend most of my time studying—if I’m not at work on Saturday, I’m studying or sleeping,” he says. “Every day, I come to Dal at 11:00 a.m. and leave at 11:00 p.m.”

“But I’m trying to work on time management—I need balance between studies and leisure time, so I don’t burn out.” At the same time, he says he’s proud of his study habits: “I feel I’m accomplishing something.”

But Abdul is already making time for social activities. He’s joined a new wrestling club, and he’s involved in Dal’s Circle K society. “It’s a small student group,” he explains. “For one thing, we’re raising money for the Spread the Net campaign, to prevent malaria.”

This term, Abdul is taking two Biology courses, Evolution and Animal Diversity. “I like the Diversity course because we’re learning about a wide range of animals, including newly discovered ones,” he explains.

“The cuttlefish was the coolest one we learned about,” he says. “It’s cool the ways it hypnotizes its prey with lights inside and around its mouth and changes its skin colour with special cells, each containing a colour pigment—its nervous system knows which cells to trigger to change its skin colour and shape.”

Abdul also notes that because the cuttlefish has only one bone, it’s popular with predators—including humans. “It’s eaten by anything with fins. And over 3 million tonnes are fished every year.”