My MBBS Journey
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.
“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
As a kid, I wanted to be any and everything. From the lady on NTA with her humongous gele and other fancy clothes to that ‘cool kid’ making a Christmas shout out to his mummy and daddy live from the LTV Christmas party. Come to think of it, unlike the indecisive woman I have grown to become, I wasn’t an indecisive child; I didn’t go from wanting to be an astronaut to pilot to lawyer to engineer like most kids. I just wanted to be a doctor and it was final.
Even though my daddy believes that my decision was a born out of the ‘Electra Complex’ – He’s a doctor – I’ll like to differ.
I’m happy to say the getting to start my MBBS journey came about easier than for most of my peers – Yes, I’m proud of my privilege.
First year wasn’t really Medical school if you ask me. It was basically a revision of SS3 except for the physics, which was hard as hell and the inclusion of Philosophy, and logic, which I loved. We received lectures in this gangsta place known as DLI. This place was so gangsta that they removed the hijab from an Alhaja’s head while struggling to enter to keep space. I stopped attending lectures altogether when I realized that DLI was only trying to kill me and it wasn’t worth it seeing as I did not come to this world to suffer. I vowed to commit a chapter of my biography to DLI and its wonders.
I practically played Zuma all through second semester. The requirements to cross over to second year weren’t so stringent and I couldn’t be bothered. (Side note: I think the requirements should’ve been more stringent because at the end of the day, our Diploma colleagues that had more stringent requirements carried their reading culture over to second year and the difference between diploma and UME students was quite clear.)
First year served as a major determinant of my life through medical school. After the initial culture shock, I made friends that’ll go on to become a significant part of my life.
I resumed second year basking in the glory of my first year’s triumph and thinking all the Medilag war stories were just legends. School can’t be that difficult can it? All it took was anatomy first incourse to set me straight. I didn’t fail it but I only managed to pass. I hadn’t failed an exam in my life until Biochemistry ‘Metab’ incourse. I was humbled. The thing about exams in medical school is that they drain you in practically all the spheres of life. Coming to school from home made life even more difficult because I wasn’t able to study as much and I was aware of the strides my classmates were making. I wasn’t on top of my game but I was still able to scale through with hassles.
Funny thing, I was 100% sure that I was going to fail my physiology exam because that exam was woeful. Till final year, I prayed to my God of part 1 physiology to see me through.
I put my semi-best forward in third year (part 2) and it paid off even though I let my laziness shine forth towards the end. The workload – countless lab reports to dub, countless notes to write and so on – was heavy but God did it. Exam in this year literally broke me down. I was drained and I cried before every exam.
I wish I paid more attention in these last two years because these things mattered eventually.
Fourth year was a breeze. It was basically an introduction to clinical work and an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from the basic medical sciences. It was enthralling and I’m glad that I made the best use of this opportunity because it finally paid off in final year. Most of the things I know, I learnt in 4th year. It was so bad that during a session of ‘percussion’, I’ll just start to wonder how I’ve never heard of any of these things but when I sit down to look through my 4th year study notes and jotters, I realize that I have in fact been taught but I used it to eat eba. So you see most of the learning that matters happens in 4th year – No one tells you that.
Someone said Community Health (5th) year is the semicolon in MB;BS. I’m not sure how true that is but as annoying as the major part of it was, I thoroughly enjoyed the research work involved as well as community immersion in Pakoto and Shomolu LGA.
Right before 6th year came electives. My elective experience was not fancy but I enjoyed every bit of it. I discussed this at length on my blog.
All these stories are just a part of the build up to 6th year – the life determining year- I put my very best foot forward and my primary aim was MB;BS 2015 (First Batch). Pretty simple.
I tried my best not to skip classes or to skip anything at all. I wrote my notes and tried to grow out of my laziness. I learnt how to stay up past my bedtime (8pm) – Sleeping is one of my many fortes. – I studied like I studied when I was preparing for Cambridge GCSE. Simply put, I put in work. *insert Rihanna singing work*
In preparation for finals and even while writing finals, I was at my most positive with just little bouts of negativity. #PositiveVibesOnly. My watchword was “If I die, my dead body cannot write the exam”. So you see, I tried not to kill myself. What I came to realize was that approx. 80% of the knowledge I applied during finals were not things I learnt during preparation weeks or the night before, they were things I learnt during the course of the year. The same applies to other professional exams.
This journey wasn’t just about hitting the books, I had things going on alongside;
I started a blog where I chronicled life in medical school. The reception was overwhelming and I even had one of my articles published in The Punch. The blog also won an award in the Nigerian blog awards.
I found many loves: Natural hair, sewing, cooking, knitting, TV shows, plays and so on.
My long and bitter battle with acne.
I became a couch potato.
I built beautiful friendships.
I found me a good man.
In all of this, I’m grateful to God and my support system. This won’t have been possible without them.
I have many hopes, dreams, goals and ambitions that scare me out of my pants but I know MB;BS Lagos is only the beginning of a fulfilling career.
Any suggestion for incoming medical students you may ask. Yes. 5 simple points;
Study smart NOT hard. Be able to tell when a topic is high yield or not because you cant possibly study everything. For instance, I went to finals without winning any of Prof. K’s notes . And then pray it doesn’t bite you in the ass.
Don’t be unnecessarily tensioned. You’ll come to realize that because someone can study for 24 hours at a stretch doesn’t mean you can do the same with success. We’re all cut from different cloths. Find what works for you and stick to it.
Join a study group or two.
I’m sorry for the longread but this has been a summary of my MBBS journey. Hope you got the gist!
‘Kemi Windapo MB;BS (Lagos)
PS: Read my other Med school related posts @ lagoscouchpotato.wordpress.com
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