400-level Medicine & Surgery
University of Ibadan
When you’re told that MB Almighty is in about 11 months, you almost certainly think that there’s still so much time. Lol. One of our anatomy lecturers then kept us well-grounded in reality with his mantra: there’s no time! Fast forward four clinical postings. I have about seven weeks left to prepare for my exams in pathology and pharmacology and am forced to share five of those with revision classes and final tests—ugh! A waste of precious study time. Notably, my books and I, we never really had a consistent thing going for us—I just didn’t like reading them—and so I pretty much always found myself crash reading for my tests. Oh yeah, I also solemnly swear at the end of each exam to do better—to be more serious with subsequent ones—which, of course, I never do.
P.S. I have it on good authority that many of us are guilty of this, hehe.
As Christmas Eve dawned, some people were doing some last-minute shopping and others were frying up the Christmas meat—more or less getting into the Christmas spirit. Santa, however, had an early Christmas ‘present’ for us—the exam timetable. Yay! Many of us erupted in flames—not literally of course—and cursed fate; panic hung heavily in the air as people swore to intensify their reading amidst cries of ‘no rest for the wicked!’ I’ve said this in the past but I’ll reiterate here: the realization of an exam never really hits you till you see the timetable. So there I was, feeling completely and utterly underprepared—I knew nothing and my! was failure imminent.
My floormates would disappear all day and come back at night. This particular guy, who hitherto just couldn’t be bothered, started going to the library and I thought to myself, “Shit is getting real”. It absolutely didn’t help that he and my roommate were often moving stuff so enthusiastically as I looked on, very nearly clueless. Where do I even begin with tales of the cafeteria? I find the presence of mind to go and eat lunch and somebody just throws a question out there. I cannot catch it but I watch dismayed as others do so with varying degrees of skill. Have I not failed my ancestors like this?
Nonetheless, fear made me do lots of things. I was not a big fan of tutorials but I basically ran to them to save me. I found out some guys were meeting to solve questions at night and I joined in as well. I didn’t know the answers but I felt I was gaining something at least. It also became a thing to watch academic videos at almost twice the speed to save time and cover more ground. We were amped! Less than a week to the first day of the exam, I still had many topics to cover and I was yet to get to past questions.
P.P.S Crash reading Pathology and Pharmacology is just brutal. I won’t—can’t—even lie.
I don’t particularly like reading in public places—reading rooms or libraries—but filled with dread, I hurried to the 4th floor of the hospital when, three days to my exam, the power went off at night. For heaven’s sake, why will you turn off power at midnight in such perilous times?? I armed myself with my laptop, a bottle of coke and my hoodie ’cause it was freezing (also, why would you fix an exam in the midst of the cold, relentless bite of harmattan?!). Somewhere in between all the chaos, New Year happened but one’s hard put to feel festive with such an exam lurking around the corner.
The final days blazed by with everyone trying to retain the little they had and ultimately walking out boldfaced to embrace death, metaphorically speaking. In my last frantic efforts, I begged a friend of mine to let me take shots of her jotter filled with answered past questions because there was simply no time to do them myself. I spent the night with eyes glued to my screen, begging my brain cells to cooperate.
Finally, the exam came—in the wake of countless bouts of insomnia fuelled by adrenaline. Amidst the sleepless nights that marked most of that exam period, I silently—fervently—prayed my brain wouldn’t freeze up and leave me hanging. All in all, we thank God.
P.P.P.S If you haven’t learnt anything else from this, don’t crash read, please. Try, really try, not to. Sayonara!