All medical students need encouragement from time to time; And staying motivated through the rigors of medical school is in itself a challenge.
From my experience and those of other past and present medical students, here are some practical ways to keep the motivation coming through medical school, which I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.
1. Discover yourself.
As a medical student, you’ve likely spent most of your life in a school environment (Elementary to College); now is the time to not just focus on your schoolwork alone, but also learn about yourself- your purpose, your values and your principles. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find out.
2. Learn new skills
Medical school opens a world of other interests to you, where you can develop new skills like writing, photography, baking, video editing, or music; plus the Internet offers you great DIY resources.
3. Take online courses.
It is true that you’ve chosen the career path of medicine, but there’s so much you can learn about other fields like the arts, humanities, social sciences or technology. There are a variety of free courses online that you can look into.
There’s enough stress to handle already with the overwhelming work load in medical school and sometimes discouraging grades. It gets worse with putting extra pressure on yourself and criticizing every mistake you make.
Volunteering especially for medical causes (health fairs, blood drives, health awareness campaigns etc) is a good way to feel invaluable while giving back to your community. You don’t have to wait until you graduate before you find some meaning in the medical path.
6. Listen to good music.
Good music is like therapy for your soul. You’ll have some low output days, and rather than allow yourself to sink into depression, why not listen to some cool beats with amazing lyrics? Music is a great tool for internal motivation.
Listen to this inspiring song: I’m a Winner(MTN Project Fame version)
7. Watch Medical Shows.
Medical shows are not only a (fairly good) source of medical information (think terminologies, procedures and diagnosis) and humor, they also fuel your passion for medicine. Grey’s Anatomy, House and Chicago med are a few of them.
8. Start your own business.
Even as a medical student you can become an entrepreneur; apart from the financial renumeration, it also gives you a sense of self-worth and personal satisfaction.
9. Keep a journal.
Having a journal helps to boost your morale when you reflect on how you overcame a previously challenging time; it also helps you to keep an account of your journey which will be relevant in sharing your experiences in future.
“For me it was mostly the thought of being a good doctor (that kept me motivated) says Dr. Johnson, “I was always like someone’s life is going to be in my hands one day and I sure want to be able to save…I don’t want to be the doctor that doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
I hope you find some of the tips helpful, you can let me know some other ways you stay(ed) motivated in medical school.
PS– If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:
It’s no news that scaling through medical school is challenging. Learning how to manage the stress that comes with it, is therefore a necessity.
Like I shared in an older post, a minimal level of stress, called EUSTRESS, is required for proper functioning in everyday life. When it becomes overwhelming however, it is known as DISTRESS which is counterproductive.
In this post, I have shared some tips that worked for me in managing stress as a medical student. I hope you find them helpful.
1. Start each day with a plan
As a medical student, I usually planned my day using both a to-do-list and a schedule.
A schedule is like a customized calendar that highlights specific activities for each day, especially those that demand a big chunk of your time (Eg Mondays for shopping, Tuesdays for taking out trash, Wednesdays for laundry, Thursdays for cooking, Fridays for blogging and so on)
A schedule helps you to manage your tasks, so that you can have sufficient time to get each one done, without neglecting others.
A to-do-list helps you to manage your time, so you get to maximize your day and account for every important activity.
A To-do-list on the other hand, is like a reminder, that lists out everything you want to get done before the day ends. It’s important that you do not overload your To-do-list. As a rule I don’t put more than 10 goals to accomplish on my To-do-list everyday.
Both are important to monitor your daily productivity, stay balanced and avoid crashing. To maximize them however, you need to apply the priority scale principle.
(PS: Check this blogpost for what a priority scale is and how to use it).
2. Practice healthy habits
It is true that you become whatever you’re becoming. Work at becoming a healthy doctor. Don’t just preach it, practice it!
They are quite simple really. But you’d be surprised at how many medical students break most or all of them.
The work is demanding enough, so you can’t afford to break down, not if you can help it.
Learn to take care of your body, so that your body can take care of you.
One simple advice, have your breakfast everyday!!! It’s a great way to avoid energy drain especially during ward rounds.
3. Make time for me-time
In other words, learn to unwind, relax and rejuvenate so that you don’t burn-out.
And if possible, have a “No-Studying Policy” for at least one day in a week. Sundays are perfect! Just take time off to take care of you.
You might like to stay indoors and get refreshed. For instance, I found out that taking a couple of hours at the beginning of the month to have a retreat was spiritually uplifting.
Or maybe you prefer the company of friends, think indoor games, movie nights, beach outings or even a boat cruise!
And if you’re several miles away from home (like I was), hanging out with your homeys on phone or skype, will go a long way to relieve any tension you might have accumulated over some days. Having your support network (friends and family) around and allowing them to pamper you for a while, when you’re having a bad day is always a blessing.
4. Attitude is everything
In this path you have chosen, there will be some tough times but you must learn to hang in there.
Learn the 3As of keeping a great attitude: Accept. Adjust. Adapt.
Accept the things you can’t change, adjust the way you respond to challenges and adapt by doing the best you can.
Your motivation is your responsibility. Find out what works for you and use it to your advantage.
As a medical student, I started a blog, practiced meditation and yoga, subscribed to podcasts/blogs, improved on my culinary skills, and read a lot of novels and other non-medical books. There’s an endless list of what you can do too.
5. Take one day at a time.
I can’t over emphasize this part. It’s understandable to think about what’s next after medical school, licensing exams, areas of specialization, and what not. If taken to the extreme however, it does more harm than good. Whenever you find yourself getting overwhelmed, try to declutter your mind and focus on what is right ahead of you – the next class, the next test, the next semester or the next clinical rotation.
Thank you for reading,
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It’s the middle of the year already…like seriously, year 2017 is wrapping up rapidly.
Well, I’m thankful because God has been so faithful.
For me, June is a month of JUBILATION.
Jubilation (Noun): a feeling of great happiness and triumph.
Synonyms: euphoria, ecstasy, glee, delight, elation.
And here are some reasons why:
– About this time last year, yours sincerely completed medical school.
It was a major breakthrough and a dream come true.
– And just this month God gave my family another victory, My dad got his PhD!
It took a while coming…many days, weeks, months and years longer than expected.Thank God, it has come to pass. And we trust him for other testimonies as well. Amen.
Before I continue, I have a few confessions:
In my first blogpost this year, I’d announced that I’d be doing free adverts for a few of my friends with growing businesses through this platform until the middle of the year. Unfortunately, I had to discontinue at some point, because it was challenging to create content and publish my blog posts.
To the friends I made promises to, I sincerely apologize. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me and I hope I can make it up to you all in the near future.
I also had to quit the blog challenge: 26 BLESSINGS AND COUNTING (with just 2 more posts to go), because I was overwhelmed by the way it dragged into the month of May. And there were other pending posts I had to work on, so I had to let it go.
Again I apologize for all the unkept promises.
Here’s a peep into my June (plus What’s New):
1. Meditating on:1 John 4:11
2. Song on repeat: The Hill (Travis Greene)
3. Currently reading:
a. The book of 1 John
b. Lioness Arising (Lisa Bevere)
“Jesus stripped himself and became like us, so we could strip ourselves and become like him.”
c. Unstoppable (Christine Caine)
” The goal of the race is not to earn God’s favor, the goal of the race is to become like Christ.”
d. Passing It On (Myles Munroe)
“True leaders do not retire. They simply move to the next phase.”
e. Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Peter F Drucker)
“Successful innovators are conservative, they are not risk-focused, they are opportunity focused.”
4. Still learning:
5. Working on:
Scripture Flash Cards
I love memorizing scriptures and I keep looking for easier ways to go about it. So I finally decided to create my own Flash Cards from scratch, using cardboard paper and a variety of pens.
6. Personal development:
Another thing I’ve become really intentional about is boosting my Self Confidence. And here are a few things I’m learning to do:
i) Proper Grooming
ii) Amiable Smile
iii) Increase Competence
iv) Accept Compliments
v) Lend a helping hand
7. Driving lessons:🚘🚥🚦
I’ve been training for over 2 weeks now but I’m still a long way from becoming the confident driver I need to be. My instructor says I’m taking the training rather too seriously and I need to relax.
I feel I’m battling with a level of performance anxiety that leads me to repeat some mistakes. It’s frustrating really. I need all the courage I can get and be done with the training already. Please Pray For Me🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
8. Creative Writing: I finally registered for an online writing course I could afford, last month. It’s been really enlightening, and to be honest there’s so much to learn. I’m thankful for the opportunity to improve on my writing.
9. NewsFlash: I’ve started using a piggy bank which is another goal for this year, thanks to Dr. tamie. My bank is locally made from cheap wood and without lock/key, which means I can’t be tempted to “borrow” from it. Already I’ve saved a reasonable amount, though I don’t have a job yet. I’m pretty excited.
10. Crushing on:
My three favorite TV soaps with intriguing storylines. I watch them back to back on weekdays, thanks to Africa Magic Showcase.
This is for the Foreign Trained Doctors who want to take the Nigerian Medical Licensing Exam conducted by the Medical And Dental Council Of Nigeria (MDCN).
(Pls note that the exam is applicable to both citizens and non-citizens of Nigeria).
Having successfully participated in the last licensing exam that took place at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), I will share a few helpful tips:
1. Resume the MDCN remedial course early and learn your ropes quickly. The earlier you get settled into the program, the easier it will be for you.
2. Know how to take the routine vital signs (BP, RR, PR) and the normal values across age groups. It’ll likely be your first test, and if you’re on point, you’ll be the BOSS.
3. Be confident and always say what you know. Silence is assumed for ignorance. Even when you’re not sure, just say something.
4. Guys, don’t forget your ties. Without it, you don’t belong on the ward. Come along with your ward coats, scrubs (preferably green if you’ll be in LUTH) and name tags too.
5. Malaria and TB are super high yield. Learn all you can about them beforehand.
6. Revise your history taking and physical examination skills ( especially CVS, RS, ABD and CNS). You’ll be glad you did.
7. Stand TALL, let no one intimidate you. Bad belle people dey Naija. They don’t really like how you went to spend “their” dollars abroad 🙄🙄
8. Don’t go solo, your colleagues will usually know something important that you don’t know.
9. If you could scale through medical school (no matter where you studied) you can survive MDCN. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I have received lots of encouraging feedback about this post where I shared some important lessons from my medical school journey.
As a follow up, I have put together few tips that helped during my medical school days. I hope my blog readers who are medical students will benefit greatly.
These are strategies that worked for me and they are quite simple to apply:
1. Have a study schedule
I can’t overemphasize this. This is the most important studying strategy to use. Having a schedule helps you to know
– WHAT you want to study
– WHEN you want to study and
– HOW LONG you need/have to study
2. Start with what you know
I like to ask myself what I know about a particular topic before studying it.
For instance before you study about Bacteria, try to brainstorm on what you remember from your high school Biology or premed Microbiology, then continue from there.
Ask yourself these: – Have I heard of this topic before? – What do I remember about it?
3. Make use of multiple resources
This was a major strategy that helped during my clinical rotations. By multiple resources, I mean videos, textbooks, Q banks, lecture notes andeven study groups.
For instance, you canstart by watching a video on Burns, then read it up in a textbook, then revise what you have in your lecture notes, and finally discuss it with your study group colleagues.
The more channels you have carrying the same information into your brain, the more likely you are to retain the info.
4. Test yourself
This is another very important tip. There’s no point studying for hours, if you can’t answer a few questions in between.
It’s a good habit to jot down some questions for you to answer when you’re done studying a topic or better still make use of practice questions.
Testing yourself helps you to differentiate what you actually know from what you think you know.
5. Maximize your non-studying hours
This is one of the simplest strategies you can apply. Whether you’re taking a shower, doing some laundry, or sitting in the hospital lobby, you can task your brain with simple actions like recalling the definition of diarrhea or listing the ABCs of ER resuscitation.
6. Attend classes/seminars/rounds
I’ve come across lots of medical students who skip classes as tests/exams approach, claiming that they need more hours to study. In my opinion, that’s not always the best choice to make.
Medical school is about self discipline, there are a lot of other things you can cutback on while preparing for an exam eg TV, Sleep and Social media.
As much as possible try to attend those few classes preceding your exam, you might be fortunate to get one or two tips that will be of help later on.
7. Make it real
One way to add fun to your studying is to make it as real as possible, in your everyday experiences.
Practical application of medical knowledge is the most authentic way of making it stick.
While in medical school, I used to tease my flatmates (also medical students) about food poisoning by Bacillus Cereus and other organisms, when leftovers were not properly kept.
There are pockets of opportunities to apply any new knowledge you’ve attained on a daily basis.
I know it’s a real struggle for many medical students to find the balance between knowing enough to pass and knowing enough to practice.
The truth is if you don’t know enough to pass your exams in the first place, you can’t move to the next semester, and then you won’t be able to graduate as a medical doctor.
You may find yourself debating on whether to learn about all the facial muscles, their origin/insertion as well as their blood supply/drainage, or to just focus on the few important ones that might come out during your exam.
My advice is that for now, you should focus on knowing enough to pass from the level you are in, unto the next. With diligence and focus, you will build up on what you already know while you gain newer knowledge.
Most importantly, ask God for wisdom and direction as you study. Should any of the above strategies fail, don’t stop PRAYING.
Eunicesmiles blog is a great place to be, whether you’re a first time reader or a returnee.
I run a Journal kind of blog, where I write about topics that I’ve spent time to reflect upon. In other words, my blog is like an open book, which anyone and everyone is free to read about.
My favorite topics centre around God, Life, Christianity, Medicine, Family, and Friends.
The primary goal is to INSPIRE as many people that find their way here, by sharing my thoughts, lessons, challenges as well as victories, and ultimately introduce them to the person of my faith, Jesus.
The message of my blog is simple: The best time to live is NOW!
Not Yesterday. Not Tomorrow.
And what better way to Live than to Believe in the one who gave his Life, for you and for me?
He is the reason why I live.
Sometime in 2015, I wrote this post highlighting some of my reasons for writing and well, blogging in particular. Those reasons haven’t changed much over the years.
Today, I’m thankful for this BLOG.
It’s one of the things that gives me so much joy.
And this makes it three years since I started blogging.
It was something I couldn’t have imagined doing until I had enough courage, motivation and enough momentum to begin.
I’ve been richly blessed in many ways since I started this blog. Here are a few of them:
1. Self discovery- This blog has made me realize a lot about myself, my likes/dislikes, musings, attitude to life and everything in between.
2. Creativity– I’ve also had the privilege of learning, discovering and working on a few creative ideas (like photography/videography/advertisement) by virtue of running this blog. My writing skills have remarkably improved too.
3. Inspiration– Tbh, this blog has been a source of inspiration to me as well. Sometimes I read a post I wrote in times past and just smile. I’ve found encouragement and motivation in down times, through the pages of this blog. For that I’m thankful.
4. Diligence- Well as a matter of fact, running a blog isn’t as easy as one is made to think. Especially when no financial renumeration is involved. My responsibility towards my readers is my main motivation for trying my best. This is a platform I do not to take for granted, because I never know who needs the words I have to offer. Thankfully, I get some encouraging feedback from time to time.
5. Fame– Haha. Pls believe me when I say this blog has given me a level of fame. I mean on a global scale too…because I have readers from all over lol. For that I’m thankful. A number of times I’ve had people approach me unexpectedly and say, “So you run a blog?” And I’m like “ok, so how did you find out?” The response differs from time to time.
Thanks to everyone that has contributed to the blog through liking, commenting or by simply following my posts.
Thank you for being here, anonymously or otherwise.
There is no BLOG without you.
I can’t confidently say whether this blog is for a season or is indefinite, but for now, it’s a platform I’ll continue to use to the best of my abilities to reach out to others.
Hey, before you leave!
So as a way of saying THANK YOU, I have decided to do a giveaway. I will be giving out tokens of airtime (MTN, GLO, AIRTEL & ETISALAT) to FOUR of my blog subscribers.
PS: The giveaways are exclusive to my Nigerian followers only. I hope in future I can extend the giveaways to my readers across the globe.
The winners will be announced (hopefully) by Friday, the 10th of May, and I will give further instructions on how to claim the prizes.
Spanish phrase for the day:
Tiengo un perro- I have a dog
(PS: Our family dog, Captain, who had been sick for sometime, died a few days ago. It was a sobering time for me in particular, as I was the last family member to see her alive. Thankfully, she left a 3-year old daughter, Lucy, and we hope she lives in good health for many years to come).
A couple of years ago, I was that girl who would skim a few words from a book, use them as “quotable quotes” on social media and feel good about myself afterwards. I hardly completed any non-fiction book.
I was that lazy.
A lot of my friends and family members assumed I read a lot. If only they knew.
I remember while I was in the University, some kind friends who happened to care about my destiny more than I did back then, bought me great books, but I didn’t read more than the first few pages.
Worse still, I carelessly gave some of the books away.
Some of my colleagues were even kind enough to put a variety of ebooks on my laptop, but I mostly glanced through the titles and with time forgot those books existed.
I can imagine how transformed my life would have been by now, if only I’d diligently read those books.
Thankfully in the last few years I’ve been able to develop a steady habit of reading books, across several genres, and a number of them have remarkably changed my life.
There are several reasons people read, here are five reasons why I love to read:
1. To broaden my knowledge
“A great book should leave you with many experiences.”- William Styron
2. To improve my vocabulary and comprehension skills
“Few activities are as delightful as learning new vocabulary.”- Tim Gunn
3. For my personal (spiritual, physical, mental, financial, social and emotional) development
“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.”- Joseph Addison
4. To communicate better with people (via speaking and writing)
“Great books help you understand and they help you feel understood.”- John Green
5. To have fun.
Sometimes reading a book makes me sober and reflective. Other times I burst into laughter. Whatever the case, reading a good book definitely improves my mood.
Have you ever wondered the level of ignorance there would be in the world today, if no one bothered to read?
“HAVE YOU NOT READ?”
That was the question Jesus asked the Pharisees in Matthew 12:3-5 and again in Matthew 19:4.
Ignorance is indeed a disease, but reading is a life-saver because it produces knowledge which leads to action.
Although not everyone considers reading (especially non-academic literature) fun, but the benefits cannot be overemphasized.
“A person who won’t read has NO advantage over one who can’t read.” – Mark Twain.
The beautiful thing is that Reading is cheap. Generally, books are more affordable than most clothing and gadgets. And with the rise of electronic devices, e-books are easily accessible still and many of them can be gotten for free.
Today, I’m thankful for all the books I’ve read and the many lessons I’ve picked from them. I’m also thankful for the authors that God inspired to write those books.
Here are my top five reads (over the years):
1. Why You Act The Way You Do (Tim LaHaye)
2. Attitude is Everything (Keith Harrell)
3. Marriage and Family life of a Christian (Watchman Nee)
4. The Four Loves (C.S. Lewis)
5. Awaken The Giant Within (Anthony Robbins)
My favorite book so far this year, is: FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer. The book is on strategic prayer and has deepened my understanding about some of the cunning approaches of the enemy and how to counteract them. It’s such a great read.
Tbh, I’ve been thinking of doing some book reviews (or summaries) on this blog, but I’m yet to figure out how that would work.
I’m Currently Reading:
1. Lioness Arising (Lisa Bevere)
2. Unstoppable (Christine Caine)
3. PASSING IT ON (Myles Munroe)
4. Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Peter F. Drucker)
Books to read:
1. The Pilgrims Progress (John Bunyan)
2. Make it stick (Peter C Brown)
3. The Art of the Start (Guy Kawasaki)
4. Living in the light- Money, Sex and Power (John Piper)
5. No idea (Greg Garelt)
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
7. Undaunted (Chistine Caine
8. The Applause of Heaven (Max Lucado)
9. Do It Afraid (Joyce Meyer)
10. THINK & GROW RICH (Napoleon Hill)
11. This Momentary Marriage (John Piper)
12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey)
13. Cents & Sensibility (Scott and Betty Palmer)
14. Lean in (Sheryl Sandberg)
15. Madly in love with me (Christine Aryle)
16. I’ll have what she is habana (Bobbie Houston)
17. My Love Diaries (Itunu Taiwo)
18. The Power of Forgiveness (Joyce Meyer)
19. Wild Grace (Max Lucado)
20. So Good they can’t ignore you (Cal Newport)
21. Out of Control & Loving it (Lisa Bevere)
22. Unglued devotional (Lysa Terkeurst)
23. Found: God’s will (John MacArthur)
24. Love Me This Way (Ketsia Gustave)
25. Marriage Makeover (John and Lisa Bevere)
26. 101 Questions to Ask Yourself (Celestine Chua)
27. Without Rival (Lisa Bevere)
28. The Power of the Tongue (Kenneth Copeland)
So that’s my library at the moment.
And I look forward to investing in more books in future.
Eventually, it’s not about the books we read but the lives we lead.
It won’t matter how many books I’ve read but how many lessons I apply.
Kindly share with me the titles of books that have imparted you as well, so that I can be on the lookout for them. ☺️
So what are you thankful for today?
Spanish Phrase For The Day:
Quiero comprar unas manzanas- I want to buy some bananas
One of my favorite things is to look into the scriptures and see it come alive in my own life.
“The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 GNB
By meditating on the scriptures, I’ve been able to get more insight into his wonderful promises.
Every now and then I come across a part of the scriptures that literally blows my mind…and I’m just like WOOW!
Here are three things the written word of God does in my life:
1. It enlightens
2. It encourages
3. It empowers
A few months back I gained a better insight into this bible verse:
Bread is NOT enough.
You simply can’t be sustained on carnal food or the philosophies of this world or the shallow opinions of men or even the convictions of your own heart.
You need God’s word to live.
There are lots of issues beyond human comprehension. I have several testimonies from the past year that there is always a word for every season I found myself in, if only I’m diligent enough to listen.
For instance, a few months ago on my return to Nigeria, I found an apartment in Lagos and moved in with a friend.
Unknown to us the power (electricity) situation in that neighborhood was extremely poor, on some days our light bulb didn’t blink at all.
For the first few days I was frustrated and lived in a state of despair to the point of second guessing my decision to take that apartment in the first place.
Then a friend invited me to church on a particular Sunday, and the sermon was so astounding that I returned home to begin to confess God’s word and to declare that we had light in the house….and soon enough it came to be.
You see whenever we key into God’s WORD in obedience, the results are EXCEPTIONAL.
There’s nothing more important to the believer than God’s word.
It is laziness for a Christian not to study God’s word on a daily basis.
It’s not enough to listen to sermons or use a devotional.
Learn to develop the habit of going deeper into God’s word.
Study it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Believe it. Act upon it. Share it.
One revelation from God’s word can change your world in a moment.
Here are some resources I use that can wet your appetite for studying the bible:
God’s word…don’t just read it, live it. James 1:22
10 Scriptures to meditate on:
“Your word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Psalms 119:105 GNB
“Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth.”
John 17:17 GNB
“I keep your law in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.”
Psalms 119:11 GNB
“Your word, O LORD, will last for ever; it is eternal in heaven.” Psalms 119:89 GNB
“So also will be the word that I speak — it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:11 GNB
“Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night.”
Psalms 1:1-2 GNB
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,”
2 Timothy 3:16 GNB
“Be sure that the book of the Law is always read in your worship. Study it day and night, and make sure that you obey everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Joshua 1:8 GNB
“For the bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
John 6:33 GNB
“Yes, grass withers and flowers fade, but the word of our God endures for ever.”
Isaiah 40:8 GNB
I have met a number of people who say things to suggest that friends and friendships are simply…overrated.
They claim they don’t have friends and don’t need them anyway.
They tend to make several excuses to prove those points. They usually keep busy by focusing on themselves, their families, career, ministry, or one social cause or the other.
I’m talking about those who have been afflicted one way or the other by “supposed” friends. I know that is such a sad experience to have and it often prevents future friendships from budding.
In two of my previous posts, Friends, Friendships & Friendliness (2015) and TRUE FRIENDS MAKE A DIFFERENCE (2016), I think I have made a good case for the importance of having (the right kind of) friends.
I’m happy to say that I still hold on to those beliefs, and I’m yet to have an experience with a friend that has left a sore taste in my mouth (not that I want to).
Today, I’m thankful for the beautiful friends God has blessed me with.
The truth is that I’m not really good at making friends.
Let’s just say I’m a bit awkward in social gatherings. But the few friends that I’ve had and that stayed, are as beautiful as they make them.
My med school days are some of the best highlights of the friendships I’ve had. And I miss that.
Everything from get-togethers to sleep overs, to casual hangouts and being treated to restaurants or with take outs (the jolly days of Chinese and Subway 😰, thankfully our Naija also has KFC franchises all over the country), or just staying home to watch movies or play games or talk about life…which is my most favorite thing to do.😉
I have had friends who made my hair at no cost, took me shopping for groceries or paid for my fares out of their benevolence, when I was wanting financially.
I even had a friend who would make me meals and bring it over when I had nothing to eat; the same friend once babysat me all through the night when I was sick and did all the running around because I had to travel to another island for a VISA biometric capturing, the next day. What a huge relief it was for me.
Towards the end of my stay in SVG, I left the apartment I was living in. Two lovely ladies took me into theirs, housed and fed me for a couple of days. I’m not exaggerating when I say they literally doted on me throughout my stay. It was like being waited upon in a 5-star hotel, with room service. I had such a cozy experience.
From there I moved into another friend’s apartment and stayed with her until I eventually left the island. She also went the extra mile to take good care of me. I have been so blessed with such friends and I will always remember them for good.
I’m especially thankful for friends of the same faith. There’s nothing as wonderful as having sweet fellowship with your christian friends.
I belong to a Small Bible Study Group, made up of a few friends and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in my christian walk. It’s such a privilege to study God’s word and discover some deep truths together. More so we hold each other accountable based on what we learn and our lives have been imparted remarkably.
Since returning to Nigeria, my friends have rallied around as much as time, distance and our schedules permit. Shoutout to,
-My sweetheart, Funbex (who with her husband), hosted me in her lovely home (not minding our marital status difference 😄),
-My wonderful Wanimi, who went out of her way to help my family give me a befitting (surprise) welcome home party,
-My amiable Walopxy, one of my faithful girlfriends who has stayed all these years, checking on my wellbeing every now and then, because she’s caring like that. May the flames of our friendship burn for many years to come!
Drs. Bunmi and Ify, who made my experience at LUTH worthwhile in every way.
Derayo, our paths have divinely crossed again. Lord B, it’s a blessing to finally meet you.
And to, Ibksinging, Wiseguy, and Tdeemc, the gentlemen who on separate occasions, treated me to the Lagos hospitality.
Of course, Uncle B (my friend from jand😅) who paid me a visit in IB.
And to the others (Ayoigbala, Barrysome, Dr. DJ, Niyot) who have kept in touch, even though we’ve not visited…I appreciate you in every way.
For my friends in the Diaspora, Asholly, Ede et al, thank you for checking on me PRN. 😘
Thanks to you all for the all kindness you have shown to me.
What joy it is to have friends walking in purpose and committed to serving God all the days of their lives. That has been my TESTIMONY.
Let me just share a few nuggets with you from my little wealth of experience (I’m by no means a scholastic authority on this subject):
1. Friendship is NOT always about you.
Yes, we must never forget that. Sometimes we are too carried away by our own needs that we are often blind to the needs of others. Sadly, I’ve found myself making this particular mistake more times than I’d like to admit.
It is true that there are benefits to every friendship but if you make the friendship about you ALL the time, you’ll lose out eventually.
It’s not always about what you like, what you want, what you need…it’s about them too.
Selfishness is something that rips friendships apart more than distance or time. One good way to nip it in the bud is to pray for your friends and then check on them, especially when you feel they are acting detached because you don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes.
It’s cheap emotional blackmail to whine and complain all the time that your friends don’t keep in touch, when you never bother to text, call or visit them either.
There was a time I accused a friend of forgetting to call me on my birthday, and guess what? The said friend had actually been on admission in a hospital. How selfish of me.
If you however have a friend that is only around when they are in need and soon disappears after, please run! run!! run!!!
2. Your FRIENDS are different from you, don’t try to change them.
I’m a chronic phlegmatic, cool as cucumber, hardly ruffled on the outside but acutely sensitive to the atmosphere around me.
Bottomline: I’m an INTROVERT with bold letters.
My point is, I’m wired differently from my next door neighbor, Sally Jones who seems all over the place, the typical extrovert, blasting music from dawn to dusk, laughing hysterically at anything and everything that seems funny, and lives for the FUN of it.
And that’s okay.
A good attempt at self discovery, will help you appreciate the intricate yet complementary differences seen in others.
I love to watch others have fun even when I’m not participating (or particularly enjoying it) and when it’s time to have my own kind of fun (books, animations, writing), which is boring to most of my friends anyway, I simply excuse myself.
It’s NOT okay for your friends to be anything but themselves when they are around you.
Now when it comes to values and principles that you live by (like integrity, honesty, diligence, discipline), ensure your friends have similar values.
If they don’t help to build you, please leave them.
3. When it HURTS, it’s alright to say so.
Here is one we often take for granted. Like any two smooth surfaces in motion experience friction, friends will occasionally rub off each other in ways that unintentionally hurt. The mistake we make is to keep such hurts inside until our hearts get scarred and the next best option is for us to drift apart.
Only God knows how many friends destined for greatness have been cut asunder by the seeds of bitterness.
I’m not suggesting that you go on nagging about every petty thing your friend does wrong, but you can learn how to communicate effectively when you’re not pleased about a situation.
Granted it might sting your friend at first (most friends assume they give their best), but a good friend will appreciate the feedback and you both can confront the issue and adjust accordingly .
By God’s grace, as I keep learning and becoming wiser, although I’m a long way from becoming the kind of friend I want (need) to be, I’ve certainly grown and my friendships have blossomed and gotten richer over the years.
Also remember that there are several categories of friends, old friends, new friends, special friends, casual friends, close friends, distant friends…no one size fits all.
Every friend is there for a reason and will be needed at one season of your life or the other; as the saying goes,
“A friend in need, is a friend indeed.”
Here are some biblical verses about friendships:
“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” (MSG)
Proverbs 18:24 “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” (MSG)
“Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious-don’t get infected. (MSG)
“Better a nearby friend than a distant family.” (MSG)
“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” (MSG)
“By yourself you are unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.” ( MSG)
To my many lovely friends, I say thank you for the beautiful experiences I’ve had. I do not take the bond between us for granted.
So what are you thankful for today?
Spanish Phrase for the day:
Nostros bebemos leche – We drink milk.