If you are black and you live in Africa, like you’ve spent the last 365 days in an African nation, you don’t have quite enough audacity or experience to talk about racism. In lesser words, it’s really not your concern and you can’t help. In the real sense of it, your posting black lives matter and talking about white privilege is something more of pretentiousness than actual relevance. Because 1) it’s not happening to you 2) it will most likely never happen to you in your country. The awareness of black lives also came, I believe, with some romanticism of melanin. I just want to clear some things. Africa, specifically Nigeria, my country really has so much to deal with and to improve on. Nigerians, Africans should not turn the race thing into a romantic affair with melanin. There’s no problem with appreciating how beautiful black skin is, that’s fine but…
I have decided to share with you the top 7 lessons I picked from my journey through med school. The lessons are not just specific for medical students though, anyone can apply them to any phase of life they are in.
1. DECIDEWHAT YOU WANT.
Have you ever asked yourself “what do I want out of medical school?”
It’s not enough to have the desire to become a doctor. You have to know why.
For some, it’s the admiration for famous Doctors like Ben Carson, and for others it’s the motivation to contribute to the cause of humanity e.g. finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.
Whether your purpose for deciding to become a doctor is simply PASSION or PRESTIGE, or a combination of both, take some time to reflect upon it, and know if your goal is worth the effort. Trust me, you’ll need this at some point in your journey.
2. DISCOVER YOURSELF.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you a morning or a night person? What motivates you? What distracts you? These are questions you have to answer. Self discovery is one of the most reliable tools for success. As important as it is to learn from people’s experiences, there isn’t much room for trial and error in med school. So discover what works for you early and go for it.
3. GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT.
No student should be an island. The med school curriculum can be tough. It’s ok if you don’t understand a particular concept in Biochemistry or you find it difficult to set an IV line. You’re not alone.
That’s why you have your colleagues and seniors. Most of them are ready to help you because they were likely in your shoes at some point too.
Ask until you understand the what, why and how of your question.
You’re in school to learn and that’s exactly what you should be doing at every opportunity you find.
Ignorance is sometimes pardonable but arrogance is not. Don’t allow your ego to rob you of your dream.
4. ENJOY THE LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOOKS.
My Biochemistry Lecturer quoted this phrase almost after every Friday class. The point is Med school can be all-consuming and is very time-demanding, but it’s still the most flexible period you’ll get, compared to other phases in your medical career i.e. Internship and Residency.
Be careful not to trade what’s IMPORTANT to you, for what is URGENT.
Don’t miss out on ALL other interests because of medical school, you may never have some opportunities again.
The key is BALANCE.
5. RUN IN YOUR OWN LANE.
In med school, you’ll meet some high-flying students. Since it’s typically a gathering of the best among the rest, be careful that you don’t get intimidated by other people’s accomplishments. Whether in the classroom or on the ward, there will likely be students that perform better than you. The key is to focus on your journey and not theirs. You are not sure of their destination.
6. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF.
Success is a PERSONAL affair but self-criticism paralyses.
That you’re not seeing results doesn’t mean you’re not putting in efforts, maybe you just need more time than others to get it right. Patience is the key to facing the challenges you will encounter.
One of the factors that motivated me during med school was seeing myself doing things I had challenges with initially. I’ve learnt how to be patient with myself over time as I learn new things.
7. YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR GRADES.
This is so IMPORTANT. Unless you’ve got the genius gene, chances are you’ll face some discouraging bumps in your grades, despite your best efforts sometimes. Don’t let that stop you from reaching the goal. I had some really depressing scores a couple of times, but I had to keep going by faith.
Failure is just a bend, it is not the end of the road. Keep moving!
One of my favorite mantras was: “WITH GOD, MEDICAL SCHOOL IS DOABLE.”
And Glory to God, I conquered it.
I’m sooooo EXCITED and highly EXPECTANT about this Month. I remember this time last year when I did the series: A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER.
How time flies.
I’m thankful for the journey so far, all of God’s blessings towards me and every lesson I have learnt along the way.
So here are a few things that have recently happened/what-I-look-forward-to in November:
1. Scripture for the MONTH: 2 Kings 20:9a (GNB)
Yes and AMEN, because my God is a Miracle-Worker and a Promise-Keeper. I have every reason to TRUST him for what he says he will do.
I received this clear WORD in my SPIRIT on the first of this Month- GOD CAN AND GOD WILL.
And seeing how amazing he is, just a few weeks ago as I was unpacking an old box, I came across one of my prayer requests over 2 years ago:
It was such a HUGE TESTIMONY, talk about ANSWERED PRAYERS! And for me that was A SIGN that God will certainly make good every promise he made as regards the present and my future.
And that’s why it’s advisable to keep A PRAYER JOURNAL and I’m thankful for my PrayerJournal APP which I need to learn to use more often.
2. Song for the Month: WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD (Positive Media)
Tbh, the song literally gives vibes to my body. I can’t keep still while it is playing. Btw, a Trinidadian sang it and it’s really beautiful, so Yoruba folks pls just chill. Tenkiu! 😉
3. Currently reading the following Books :
i. The Complete Book of Questions (Gary Poole). I have answered 500 questions so far. It’s quite an enlightening read, I’ll recommend you read it with other friends. I downloaded the free PDF version. Here are the first five questions:
and my answers to them:
ii. Me and My Big Mouth! (Joyce Meyer). I borrowed a hard copy from a friend and it’s an eye-opening book too.
Here are some lessons I’ve gleaned:
” We are instructed to talk to and not to talk about our problems.” ” Extremes are the devil’s playground, if he cannot get a believer to totally ignore the truth, he’ll get him to be one sided and out of balance.” “Confession is a means of speaking God’s promises into existence.”
“Thankful people are too busy being grateful for what they have, that they have no time to complain about the things they don’t have.”
“Complaining not only robs the joy of the speaker, but it also quenches the hope of the hearers.”
iii. ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING (John MacArthur). This is another deep book about what a Christian should focus on, instead of worrying endlessly. It’s really been a great resource during this phase I’m in. Here are a few lessons from the book:
” Worry is unnecessary. God doesn’t just create life, he sustains it.”
“Worry is unable to accomplish anything. You may worry yourself to death but never to a longer life.”
“To worry is needless because of God’s bounty, senseless because of his promise and useless because of its potency to achieve nothing.”
“Providing and Planning for tomorrow is taking responsibility but worrying about it, is sin.”
“The best way to avoid worrying is through prayer, followed by right thinking and right doing.”
4. Still studying the book of REVELATON with the help of Matthew Henry’s commentary.
I’m now on the 19th chapter. My favorite so far has been:
Have you let the savior in? If not, what are you waiting for? 🙂
5. Adventures: It’s been one adventure or the other in the last few weeks…I attended a mega concert of African worship, TEHILLAH AFRICANA and it was an awesome experience, followed by a Christian Talent Show that turned out unexpectedly as per the final winners, and most recently, I tried Karaoke for the very first time, with my friends. We did the song- The Heart of Worship (Matt Redman). Unfortunately, I can’t upload our video clip. Sorry😅🙈.
I’m hopeful that there will be more wonderful adventures this month.
6. Projects: So this last month, I completed and entered two stories, for National & International prizes respectively. While I’m not counting too much on the outcome, I’m a bit hopeful that one of them at least gets picked.
– Then I wrote about my Sojourn in SVG (Part 1) here, pls read.
– I’m still working on MY FEGGO DIARIES book. I look forward to getting it publishedthis month. My amazing friend Z (firstname.lastname@example.org) was kind enough to help with cover design samples for the book. You may contact him for the cover design for your book(s) at a token fee. 😉
7. Culinary Skills: My skills have remarkably improved in recent times. Yours sincerely single-handedly made Pizzas for a sale at an event.
I recently attempted baking bread for the first time too, but sadly the yeast wasn’t enough, so it flopped badly…solid rock bread 😓. I look forward to investing more of my time this month polishing more of those skills.
8. SPANISH 101: So yours sincerely has started learning Spanish via YouTube, thanks to a friend’s suggestion. I’m so looooooving it. I didn’t even realize how relatively easy the language is plus a huge BONUS is that my Neighbor is from Cuba. So therefore, I get to practice as often as I want to. Buenos para mí.
9. Another friend told me she was taking some free courses at Edx.org and I decided to check it out. I registered for these three courses:Think 101, Behavioral Medicine: A key to better health and Inclusive Leadership Training, and what an amazing experience it’s been. You can sign up for free here.
10. A few of us volunteered at a community health fair the other Saturday, and I got to play “The Doctor” for real and no longer Student-doctor. Haha. My Medical School Journey was certainly a dream come true.
I was able to take a quick selfie…
11. BE INSPIRED:
a) Looking for what to listen to? You can subscribe to these Podcasts.
– Your Move With Andy Stanley, and
– Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer.
You’ll be glad you did.
b) Looking for what to read on BLOGSPHERE? Why not try these:
1.. Omooba’s Blog: Omooba is a wonderful Christian lady who is both an Artist and a Writer. She recently started a new blog. You can check her old blog www.omoobaa.wordpress.com too. She’s refreshingly inspiring.
2. Lola Opatayo’s Blog: The lady writes dramatic, seat-grabbing fictionlike no other. You don’t want to miss out, so visit her blog.
3. Eziaha’s Blog: For Practical Spiritual Truths, Mind-blowing ideas, Awesome Encouragement and daily/weekly Motivation, Coach E’s blog is where to visit. She’s awesome both in WORDS and DEEDS. How do I know this? I know because I’ve had an ENCOUNTER with her…lol.
PS: Do you have a friend or family member who is interested in studying Medicine in the Caribbean? Kindly ask them to visit www.studymedcaribbean.com or like their Facebook page.
PPS: Hopefully, next month will come with a new series December Diary, and the focus will be on how I’m adjusting to life in Nigeria. #Anticipate