by Dapo Adeniran (Dr_Dee_)
Today, I am going to be sharing with you, my experience in Preclinical medical school, University of Ibadan. I have been waiting for the right moment to come up with this write-up.
First of all, I consider myself a very average medical student, I was nothing close to being like the diligent medical students among us, but when I read, I try to read at full concentration and grab everything once, because I hate reading the same thing twice. I am that lazy, so I try to compensate my laziness by using highly effective study techniques whenever it was urgent for me to read for an upcoming test or exam. I wasn’t happy with this laid-back attitude towards my study, but the motivation to read every day and diligently was not just there at all. I wanted to be like other students who read every day, like it’s food, and move stuffs like they are chatting.
Let’s go back to when we started doing in courses (tests) on the various subjects (anatomy, biochemistry and physiology). My favorite subject was physiology, because it made the most sense to me and it was interesting, maybe because of the textbook (Fox Physiology) and resources I use for it, or because I was able to make sense of everything I read in physiology because I for a fact, hate blind memorization of facts and figures, reason why I hated biochemistry because it was more of cramming. Anatomy was more about memorizing and visualizing the structures in your mind, I didn’t waste too much time on Keith Moore (for its heaviness and my laziness), I practiced anatomy using desktop 3D anatomy applications and of course TManatomy for lazy students like us. Biochemistry, my worse course, was nothing to talk about, it was based on reading the lecture slides only, I can’t even imagine myself reading those textbooks for something so abstract and time-consuming, then again, I respect those who read those huge biochemistry textbooks. At the end of it all, it was fun and challenging.
One thing I ensured was that, I didn’t limit myself to only medical stuffs, I was engaged in other activities such as politics, business (even though I suck at it, at the moment), student organizations (JCINUI and STURN), I also joined committees and attended as many conferences and events as I could, all with the aim of diversifying myself, broadening my horizon and also contributing the little I can to my surrounding. So enough of the details of my extracurricular activities.
The very first in course I did in University of Ibadan medical school, I experienced anxiety for the very first time because of a test. I try as much as possible to remain completely relaxed before every test and exam because I know anxiety does nothing to help before and during a test, but people think I am very ready because of this seeming confidence, meanwhile, it’s just a psychological tactic.
Fast forward to some months…
When we finished preclinical, we started preparing for our first main exam MB1 which comprise everything we have done in Preclinical school (anatomy, physiology and biochemistry). It came as a shock when the MB date was announced two weeks before it starts, normally they announce a month before it starts, but because of the strike that delayed school activities, we had to start urgently. The two weeks before MB1 marked the most study intensive days of my lives. Whoever told me I could cover so much information in such little time, I would never believe it. It’s true when they say, you never know how strong you are, until being strong was the only option. Anyway, I still didn’t study as vigorously as I wished, but I studied smartly, using the best resources and techniques within my reach and being very strategic in the choice of the subjects and topics I was studying. Along the way, I realized I made a very grievous mistake in my anatomy MB1, I thought I saw upper limb instead of the lower limb, that was how I flopped an entire essay section. I was so destabilized with this discovery, Since that time, I have been worried and shrouded in anxiety, for almost two weeks for the final MB1 result.
When the result finally came out yesterday (11th August 2017), I saw my matric number among those who passed, it felt like I just won a visa lottery, never been that happy before, from so much fear, anxiety and stress to eventual success that was long overdue.
I was already giving myself different options of what I would do if I ended up failing MB1 because of this grave mistake and some other questions I missed. I told myself it wouldn’t be the end of the world, and that I would find enter into a venture where I would make lots of money for myself, through methods known to me alone. My mind was made up already that I might not pass; if anxiety and stress could kill someone on its own, I would have been dead long ago. I just couldn’t relax throughout, even though I tried to distract myself with other personal projects I embarked upon.
So here is the thing, from my experience in Preclinical school, I learnt some things that could help others coming behind, these include:
1) Communicate with people, and always ask for help. No one can be an island in medical school. I have been saved several times by friends, things I wouldn’t have known on my own, was gotten from friends.
2) It’s good to be versatile in medical school, but make sure you know what you are doing. Don’t let your main purpose of being there was battered by your desire to be versatile.
3) There are no permanent friends nor enemies. Everyone in your life is very important, and you never know when they would be playing a crucial role in your life, keep a free mind and carry no burden, forgive and let go. Nothing drags you back than a baggage you refuse to let go.
4) Try and love the courses you are doing, even if you don’t love the department or the lecturers. Know the reason why the courses are important to your ultimate goal of being a doctor and let that be a motivation for loving them. And lastly
5) Be positive. You know the human mind works in an amazing way, that it tends to make us act in accordance with our beliefs and mindset. No matter what happens, try to remain positive, because your positivity would go a long way in ensuring you don’t lose hope along the way. What’s worse than crossing the bridge before getting there? I welcome you all my colleagues to Clinical school, this is just the beginning of the journey.
P. S: I have made up my mind to turn a new leaf and become a serious student because I realized one day, the things I know and the things I do not know is what stands between life and death for the people who would be my patient tomorrow. So it’s very important that we do away with every laziness and see the big picture of what we have gotten ourselves into.
We need to understand the gravity and criticality of our Noble course.
I wish you all the best.