It is no news that the medical profession is an honourable one. It is also no news that nothing good comes easy. Medical education is gruelling everywhere in the world; however, in Nigeria it is one of a kind. Why, you might ask. Let’s take it from the top. The average medical student in Nigeria is very brilliant. Considering how academically challenging it is to pass matriculation examinations at different levels of screening, with medicine having the highest requirement, it is no wonder that the students admitted to study medicine are usually the best students from various schools who are then lumped together in the same class. Furthermore most bright students in secondary schools are usually under a subtle undue pressure from the society to study medicine.
All this looks very easy and simple but it is actually very complicated in real life because we all resume school and expect to continue being the best just like we had been for most of our lives, but boy, are we in for a rude shock. It begins when the first results are released and the scores you are seeing on the board look like they belong to someone else when they are actually yours (the inevitable dread).
You tell yourself you’ve become very playful, you’ll put in more effort for the next test, and you do. The results are out again, but the effort you put in is not commensurate with the increase in your score. You are very angry, depressed even. We handle this very differently – some pick themselves up and try again; others just become very mediocre, that is they just want to pass; and others slip into this very dark place where they are so depressed and they can’t seem to forge ahead.
Now whatever class you fall into, the common denominator is that there is hope. You can achieve your goals and you can actually excel in this particular chosen field of ours. One important lesson while we strive to succeed is that you are your biggest competition. Nobody else can challenge you the way you challenge yourself. A healthy competition with yourself is bound to unlock potential you didn’t even know existed. It is also important you reach out to people who can help you when you feel sad and depressed, a problem shared is a problem half-solved after all. It can also be helpful to remember that medical school can be difficult, but is rewarding in the end, when you become a stellar doctor and put smiles on the faces of your patients. Let’s forge ahead.
Written by Odufuwa Busayo, a 400 level Medical Student at the University of Ibadan.