Good morning and welcome back! To my blog. It’s been a very long break🤗
Today, I’ll be sharing with you the story of my journey through my medical school. The good times, the bad moments and most importantly, the difficult times.
Just like yesterday, I remember gaining admission to study Medicine and Surgery in Imo State University, Owerri for “6 years” . A supposedly 6yr program was stretched to 11 years! Five (5) extra years, without failing or repeating any class. I must share my experience, I thought to myself, hopefully it will inspire someone. Who knows?
Like every science student in college, my dream was to become a Medical Doctor. I also aspired to become a Medical Doctor; a decision that was influenced largely by my very brilliant friend and classmate in F.G.G.C. Umuahia, Linda Agalaga (of blessed memory). However, I wasn’t the I-must-be-a-Dr-or-I-die type. I kept an open mind, I had a second option in Medical Biochemistry. Which at some point, I actually preferred to Medicine, for reasons I still couldn’t understand. Thank God my choice for medicine turned out to be the right one for me
During my first year in medical school, I was young, naive, fragile, but not timid. You can’t be a Feddy girl and be timid, that was out of the question. But it wasn’t a smooth year for me. I made it through the first professional exam (MBBS) with a “50” in Physics. This particular score changed my life. Yeah, you will know why….
The initial in-course assessment exam I wrote after the first year was the first medical exam. The first year course exams were classified under the basic sciences. I challenged myself, I read, I read and I read. The result came out and I scored 79%. “I can do this then!” All it requires is time, dedication, determination and… indeed, the feeling was reassuring. Subsequently, I didn’t just study to pass, I aimed for the highest score I was capable of, always! Graduating as the best in my class remained a secondary thought. I didn’t just ever want to be under anyone’s mercy. I wanted to pass, effortlessly.
Medical school requires 5 professional exams to qualify as a medical Doctor. You must have heard us say “MB”, it actually means BACHELOR OF MEDICINE, BACHELOR OF SURGERY (MB;BS). So we write 5-MBs. This exam, according to Guiness book of Record, is the MOST DIFFICULT EXAM IN THE WORLD. Guys, really they’re! The fear of Medicine is ,was and will always be the beginning of wisdom.
Faculty of Medicine, unlike other faculties does not use CGPA. Rather the MB examination results are presented as “PASS”, “FAIL” or “DISTINCTION”
The pass mark in Medicine is 50%, while to be awarded a distinction one needs to score 70% and above; a feat that is much easier to imagine than accomplish. The MB examinations generally involve a written (theoretical) component, an oral component and, during the later clinical stages, practical clinical examination conducted by both internal and external examiners using live patients. No doubt, this exam is very difficult, however with proper planning, hard work and grace one can excel, exceptionally.
Where do I even start from? The “Almighty” paediatrics had a way of putting students on their toes. The exam is reputed to have the highest failure rate. In some instances, over 70% of the candidates could fail! Maybe because the lecturers have a passion for babies and children, making them punish severely any student who makes avoidable mistakes. Others like Pathology, Biochemistry, Surgery and Medicine all had their peculiar challenges. Oh! Grace found me… realizing how much effort we all put in for these exams and still seeing a lot of my colleagues having one challenge or the other. Truly, it’s not of he that readth or writeth, but of God that shows mercy. I have to add, provided the hard work is proportional…
This girl called Ola…
Let me brag a little… she’s this smart, fashionable, hard working, game changer, always willing to learn, industrious, skillful, innocent looking, young girl. Very very captivating, yeah. But never jokes with her studies.
Ola is an enigma, she rules her world. I always told myself, YOU MUST BE A GOOD DOCTOR. I WANTED TO BE A VERY GOOD DOCTOR. SMART. ACKNOWLEDGEABLE. COMPASSIONATE. Through out my medical school training, I met very good Doctors, very good and inspiring ones that I looked up to. I wanted to be to my patients, as they were to theirs. I also met bad ones, or rather mean ones. I learnt from all, irrespective. My goal was to be a DOCTOR. THAT WAS THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING TO ME.
Life asides being a “Medic”
No medical student in Nigeria can deny the fact that the program takes a toll on one’s social life.
On my part, I made concerted efforts at balancing my social, spiritual and academic life. Even politics. I left none unchecked.
My social life wasn’t boring. In fact, I had a way of taking a break from the stress of academics once I felt intellectually saturated. The most important thing is not to forget the reason why you’re in school, with that mindset, everything can be taken care of with proper planning. I made out time for my family too, they are very important to me.
I got involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. Politics, church activities, skills acquisition, personality development, etc.
I wasn’t so lucky, I must say. I had my fair share of backstabbing, jealous coleagues masqurading as friends, who peddled heartbreaking gossip with attendant betrayal. At some point, I made the decision to stay on my own. Over 70% of my medical school years was just me, myself and I. I can’t deny the fact that this also helped me academically.
I strove through with the realization that I may not have a true friend among my mates, I had no option but to be at my best. Attend lectures, clinics, ward rounds, theatre sessions, tutorials, etc. I never missed out of my academic program. Yeah, I was a one man squad, choosing not rely on anyone for my academic progress.
However, later stage of the program, I met really amazing friends…Dr Uba Justice, Dr Chika, Dr Mandy, Dr Kenneth, Dr Peace, Dr Chidera, Dr Solomon, etc. I bless God for them🙌
This part of my life is very personal and at the moment not appropriate for public consumption.
First, I was one time the MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN MEDICINE.
One time VICE PRESIDENT , Imo State University Medical Students Association. A position that gave me a glimpse into the true nature of human political life and how easy it is to influence others positively through change. However, this is a story for another day.
I learnt a lot of skills as a student. Wig making, graphic design, blogging, online marketing and retailing. A lot! I combined all these with my studies and, they never weighed me down. Queen!
Academically, I graduated with an amazing result. Looking back, I never saw myself bagging these awards. Yeah, I had always known I was a smart chap, but with the kind of “brains” we have in medicine, I made it!!! I graduated with a total of Seven awards.
Distinction in Medicine
Best in Paediatrics
Best in Physiology
Best in biochemistry
Just to mention the notable ones.
Medical school helped me in discovering potentials I never knew I had. I realized I could achieve just anything I put my mind into. Just anything. No matter how difficult the course appeared to be, I always scaled through. For me failure was never an option. Just passing wasn’t an option either. I wanted to pass and pass well….! And I did!!
I’m most grateful to God, my parents (Chief & Lolo Theodore Otis Ndukwe) and my siblings (Barr. Mrs Theodora, Officer Millicent, Engr. Eustace, Vivian and the last but not the least, Blaise-Kizito) , Lecturers, friends and relations. Thank you for the love and support. It ended beautifully. Thank you.
Looking forward, I hope to make myself proud. I hope to be the Good doctor I’ve always talked about. I hope to be meek, kind, gentle, understanding and tolerant. I pray never to be the “bad” doctor I always criticized; I pray I don’t ever have to be in a position where I have to choose money over a patient’s life. I hope to be the role model our sons and daughters would have. I hope to write my name in the sands of time. All I ask for is for God’s direction. His purpose for me, I shall fulfil ❤❤