The Unorthodox Student

Ever wondered how many doctors are produced each year? As inquisitive as I am, I decided to find out; and a check on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) website shows that there are 27 medical and dental colleges fully accredited to produce doctors and dentists across the country. Twenty-seven colleges are to produce a total of 2,725 doctors and dentists annually: 2,550 medical doctors and 175 dentists. Another 500 to 600 doctors graduate annually from foreign medical colleges, according to an official of the MDCN. This is quite a sufficient number I think.
An average Nigerian, once told that I was studying medicine and surgery at a higher institution would imagine me to be that nerd with large glass frames and a big school bag with gigantic textbooks in it, a brain filled with smoke and a life within the constraints of a library. I know there’s a lot of ‘jacking’ (as UI students would call studying) involved in the course, but nevertheless, the life of a medical student should never be constrained to the four boring walls of a classroom.  Most times, I feel I sound crazy when I say some things but if crazy is what would make me stand out among the large crowd of doctors to be produced in my time, then I’d rather stay crazy. I won’t spend two years in addition to the required six years for my course (God forbid that though) as a result of our crazy Nigerian system and then still dedicate the my remaining few years to that same system, where I’ll end up probably posted to a rural area not recognized on any map, work tirelessly 23.5 hours each day telling people why they shouldn’t drink dirty water, cleaning wounds and treating infections. Agreed, these are acts quite noble in themselves, but why can’t I think out of the box, do something different?
There are a lot of skills I could learn that’ll make me stand out as a medical doctor. Why can’t I be a makeup artist, knowing the right products to use that won’t pose a hazard to the skin? I could be a medical photographer bringing my creativity and medical skills together to work for patient care and general information. I could take pictures of my surgeries or better still, record clear videos that could help another doctor miles away to perform the same surgery, more successfully than he otherwise would have, on a patient. For those of us good in writing, they could take up health journalism as they will have an edge over the vast majority of journalists from arts or social sciences what with their scientific credentials and experience. I’ve always been against the bland walls hospitals always seem to have. Why can’t I be an interior designer, as I create these crazy themes for my hospital walls? Colour is good therapy, you know.  Ever imagined going to see a doctor with low spirits and then he takes up the guitar, plays it so beautifully and sings so heavenly to you? How would you feel? For those who’ve got the lead, think of how they could use their drawing skills to aid medical research.
The sole aim of a doctor at the end of it all can never be sidelined, which is to save lives; hence, a medical student definitely can’t run away from those large dreaded textbooks. That doesn’t mean they can’t live life to the fullest or that they will have to drop whatever skills they may have by the river banks only to get washed away by the tides of time. As for me, I’ll maximise any and every potential I may have, even as I burn down the table that stands beneath my night candle. Whatever I love doing, I’ll keep doing it. I won’t end up lost in the crowd of conventional doctors at the end of the day. Who am I? I’m just a teenager struggling to finish the first semester in school, with crazy ideas, a voice that longs to be heard and a desire to stand out. Who are you?
Written by Ibrahim Gladys, 100level medical student,   University of Ibadan.

Pendical Admin

PENDICAL an educational weblog creates a platform for medical personnel/practitioners including medical students to share inspiring stories, lifestyles, and resources for medical personnel/practitioners or anyone aspiring to be a physician thereby encouraging and promoting diversity in lifestyle, mindset, thoughts and experience among medical personnel and medical students. PENDICAL started out, like many realities, a dream. It is a weblog whose contributors are medical personnel. In a most profound way, medicine and health meet art in the realm of writing. What we seek to achieve cannot be summarized into bullet points, but if through the pieces herein someone’s path is more illuminated or another is inspired to reach beyond its ‘limits’, if doubts are cleared from this mind or the spirit of another are lifted after a long day, PENDICAL would have served well in the line of duty. Our core values are creativity, excellence, truth, and passion.

Related Articles


  1. Let’s call it my way of getting away from school…staying “sane” amidst it all. I dabble in quite a number of other things tho.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also