The Million Dollar Question: Why Medicine?

If I had been asked the question, “Why do you want to study medicine?” this time last year, I would have given the cliché answer – to help sick people – and that would have been untrue. Many of those aspiring to someday practice in the field are often asked this question. It would not be false to say that they still might not have a reason why or would probably also give the above hackneyed answer.
My decision to study medicine came by through a long process and was almost thwarted by so many things from the smallest, like the duration of study, to the big things, like fear of failure and not being able to measure up. I will briefly share a bit of my story. On entering SS1, I already knew there was no place for me in the arts but I had not fully made my mind up for medicine.


The first curveball that came my way was my inability to comprehend my biology teacher. I had just begun studying this subject and I was already finding it tough: it was frustrating! I wondered how I would make a good doctor if I could not understand the basics like biology. Worse still, my peers were acing this subject. I talked to a senior, and although the senior explained that it was peculiar to that teacher, it didn’t help boost my morale.
Then I had my mind made up: it wouldn’t be medicine; I would study chemical engineering since chemistry was amazingly easy for me. As you can guess, my mother was definitely not in support. She kept saying I shouldn’t settle, that God had a bigger plan. I was not going to be convinced.
However, fast forward two years later and I was acing biology like there was no tomorrow. Maybe it was all of my mother’s encouragement or it was the fact that I grew tired of sucking and became very determined not to. I no longer cared who my teacher was or how bad he taught. It was my decision to fail or pass and I chose the latter. I would read biology textbooks despite the bulkiness. Afterall, they had everything my teacher was teaching and more. I devoted extra time to the subject and I still vividly remember my end-of-session examination score in SS1 – a 92! – after series of drab sixties and mediocre seventies. Thus I beat that challenge of a subject with determination, help from my mum and above all, God.

Should I fear the future?

This is just an example of many things I can say certainly shaped my decision to study medicine. There is no need to fear failure because I could do what I set my mind to. Yes, all the reasons most people give are true including having a favourable impact on people, helping the sick, job security, a fulfilled life, the beauty in the smiles that light up the faces of those they have touched. It is all amazing.
Unfortunately I do not know why I chose medicine yet, what with so many things I could do. However, I have come to the realization that there is no place I would rather be. It might be time consuming and require a lot of commitment, but an inexpicable passion drives me to not only study hard but dream big. Perhaps in the next few years, I will have a precise reason, and I’ll definitely share it with you.

Jaachimma Oluwabunmi Nwagbara

Jaachimma Oluwabunmi Nwagbara is a fourth-year medical student studying at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. She is from Abia state, one of the most beautiful places in Eastern Nigeria. She was born and spent most of her years in Northern Nigeria, Kaduna state to be precise. With a drive and passion to contribute meaningfully in her immediate environment, she has participated in politics, the Press and outreaches. She was the Editor-in-chief, Preclinical Press of the University of Ibadan Med- ical Students’ Association. She currently serves as the Financial Secretary of the Association. She also volunteers and participates in medical and social outreaches. She enjoys watching comedy series and exploring new places. She says, “Medical school is a journey, different for everyone and we all should share our stories. I look forward to sharing mine and learning from others who share theirs. As medical students/doctors, we never stop learning!”

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