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Life in Medicine Medical School

Observing The Medical Induction Ceremony From Three Angles – Medical Student, Inductee & Medical Doctor

Last week Wednesday, a fresh set of doctors from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Nigeria was inducted into the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria. It was the immediate induction after mine and my first as a registered medical doctor.

It happened that I personally knew a lot of persons who were getting inducted. At a time I thought, “This feels like my own induction.” Having played a significant role in the success story of some persons, I revelled in their accomplishment like it was mine.

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– A set of happy, newly-inducted doctors. Spot me in the middle.

As a medical student

The induction ceremony was an event I looked forward to. Whenever I watched the new doctors pledge to the Hippocratic oath, I was motivated to study harder; to push through and become a medical doctor. Being present was always inspiring for me.

I also noticed how loud or silent the ovation was for different persons when they were called up to the podium. The intensity of the ovation was a reflection of the impact they had on others during their stay in the university. I tried to identify some factors that may explain this. Giving back, in form of teaching the younger colleagues, being a student leader and being an active member of an association, usually CMDA or FECAMDS were the three top factors I identified.

Another highlight of the ceremony for me was when the best graduating doctors in various courses were called up to be recognized. I enjoyed listening to the class valedictorian read her speech.

On the induction before mine, I cried. It seemed weird to me and I remember teasing myself, “So, you are in the category of people that cry on their wedding day.” That made me blush. I also remember chuckling at how funny I’d look when I went up to be sworn in with a smeared face because I couldn’t hold in my emotions. I cried because I could relate to their struggle and also anticipate the joy that comes from triumph.

My induction

My induction as a medical doctor stands out as the best day of my life yet. When I was having my makeup done in the morning, it felt like my wedding day. A colleague of mine voiced a similar feeling, and I also heard of a doctor who said, after being married, that his induction was still the best day of his life.

The ovation when I was called up to be sworn in was not loud. It was easy to see why. I was not involved in teaching the younger colleagues, I did not run for any leadership position and was neither a part of CMDA nor FECAMDS. My impact was little or nothing, but that is changing.

I did not get any award either. I felt an infinitesimal amount of disappointment for my parents who might have been delighted at the event but I focused on this:

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– Photo credit: @yourstudymate on Instagram

I was thankful for where I was and where I was headed; without God’s mercy and goodness I would not be where I was nor still hold dreams of where I was headed.

I didn’t cry. I was mostly excited, then sober and tried to pay attention to the words of advice given to us on the day. “Be focused. Know what you want and go for it,” one of the speakers admonished.

The day ended with me feeling ecstatic. I was overwhelmed with the love that was shown to me and found myself repeatedly saying aloud at night, “I am a doctor. I am now a doctor.” It was a surreal feeling.

As a medical doctor

It was beautiful seeing my friends pledge to the Hippocratic oath.

Indeed, everything that has a beginning has an end, and as the bible put it, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning.”

The highlight for the newly inducted doctors is usually when the provost of the College of Health Sciences addresses them as her colleagues, no longer students. That makes me realize that the difference between medical students and medical doctors is time.

Now, I see every medical student as a potential doctor. “Isn’t that what they are and what the training is about?” you may ask. It became more real to me in the past weeks and will positively influence my training of medical students. I will teach them with respect, love and understanding.

I observed at the last induction that some persons let the strain from medical school steal their joy. No doubt, the journey to becoming a doctor takes longer, can be more tortuous and harder for some, but I think it is all worth it in the end. NOTHING should steal your joy that day. You are a victor, don’t you see?

The dominant emotions, however, are happiness and pride, both on the part of the newly inducted doctors and their family and friends.

My dad often says that being a doctor is a calling. I’ll like to add that it is a higher calling. One of service and selflessness.

As you pledge to the Hippocratic oath, the sacredness of the oath should guide your conduct and practice.

I also noticed that the inductees were instructed to say, ” I, Dr. *insert doctor’s name,* hereby affirm the PLEDGE I have just taken. So help me God.” As opposed to saying OATH.

For whatever reason it was altered, it does not diminish the sacredness of the Hippocratic oath and goes to show that the medical profession is in a constant state of evolution and that in itself is impressive.

Love,

Annie.

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Two (Deep) Quotes I Recently Appreciated + My New Favourite Quote

Quotes are words of wisdom in condensed form. They are born out of people’s introspection of [their] life and reflection of daily events. They are people’s life lessons put into words for others to learn from. When these “words of wisdom” stand the test of time and prove to be consistently true, they take up the title, “quotes” and their sayers, “sages.”

A beautiful thing about quotes and one reason I love searching them out is the ability to intimately relate to them sometimes. Their sayers have survived your current experience and even though you may not see your way out, through their eyes you can catch glimpses of hope for tomorrow.

Some quotes have been around a long while, and even though they have, our minds are yet to gain the full grasp of them.

Here are two (deep) quotes I recently appreciated + my new favourite quote:

1. Life Is Beautiful

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As simple as this quote seems, it was only recently I fully understood its meaning.

Now, when I reflect on this quote what comes to my mind is a mosaic – a piece of artwork created by placing coloured squares (usually tiles) in a pattern so as to create a picture.

As we go through life and course through varying experiences, certain events that occur do not add up. We cannot see how they lead up to the end we have in mind – or God’s word about us.

But you see, trying to understand all the events that take place in one’s life may prove futile. Choosing instead to enjoy and appreciate each event as a unique piece of a beautiful, grand puzzle can make all the difference there is.

That means the beautiful, ugly, good, bad, memorable, hurtful, exciting, depressing events that make up your daily living merge in an intricately beautiful pattern to yield a beautiful artwork – your life.

Whenever you are tempted to throw in the towel, remember that your life is a beautiful artwork in the making. One the world can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Stick it out and make it worth the wait in the end.

2. No One Is You And That Is Your Power

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I used to be at a loss for understanding for this quote the same way I was when people made expressions like “calmness is my superpower,” or “being female is my superpower, what’s yours?”

I either did not think hard enough to understand what they meant or it simply did not hit home in time.

But you see, I have found that it is only when you are leading a life authentically yours that the power resident on your inside can be fully harnessed.

Oscar Wilde advises, “Be yourself, everyone other person is taken.”

The same way our iris, fingerprint, and set of teeth are unique to us, so also the way we lead our lives and express ourselves in mannerisms, words and actions ought to be unique to us – not a mimicry of another.

Living through life authentically is the way to leave indelible marks in the lives of those you come across – and this is the power referred to in this quote.

My New Favourite Quote:

“Where there’s a will…

There’s a way.”

Before this time, my favourite quote was, “You have all that you need and you will need all that you have. One thing you do not have is an excuse.” A line I picked from a video I watched a few years back, held onto and believed enough it worked for me.

Here’s how.

Since I believed I had no excuse, I made it a duty to deliver, no matter what. I looked on my inside and around me, found whatever I could, put them in my arsenal and fought life with them. There was no time to whine. It was always a win-win situation.

“Excuses are tools of incompetence, monuments of nothingness, those that use them are not wise.”

So, to my NEW favourite quote.

It was in the middle of last year while preparing for my final exam – I think after watching Passengers, a 2016 movie, which I enjoyed by the way, that this quote came more into being for me.

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A scene from Passengers (2016)

I became a believer in the power of determination. I believe that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it done.

I know sometimes you feel you have tried all you can and your hands are tied. Applying some patience and putting your creative gear on drive might mark the difference between impossible and possible.

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I appreciated these quotes during a time of introspection when I was cascading through emotions. From bubbly high to stinking low and in between. This further goes to show that something good can be found in every situation.

There was a time I thought any saying I saw online framed as a quote was true. Now I know better.

As John the apostle advises,

“My dear friends, do not believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.” – 1st Peter 4:1a, MSG

I have learned to test “truths.” You should, too. Regardless of who said them.

What do you think about these quotes before and after reading this post? Do you have a favourite quote?  I would also love to hear what you think about quotes in general. Please, leave a reply and share if you enjoyed this post and or learned something new.

Love,

Annie.

Ps: The last part of A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me series + our giveaway winner would be posted tomorrow. Keep tab.

 

 

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A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me, Part 3

It’s the third of a four part series, #TheLetterSeries.

This week, I tell her about leading, saving and entrepreneurship, and what they will do for her.

Get up to speed on the first and second parts, if you’re yet to. And if you have, let’s roll!

5. Be active in your departmental association.

Run for positions. Lead.

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This occurred to me late. Even when it did, I made the grave mistake of asking permission from others to do so. I laid my dreams at their feet, and they did what people do when you do such – crush it under their feet.

I love what leadership does to people. Both the one leading and the ones led. Good leadership leaves people better.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It’s about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell

When you take up leadership positions, you are better suited to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This way, you are better adapted to know what to build on and what to work on.

Leadership gives you exposure. It makes you vulnerable in a good way. It makes you a better person.

Student leadership adds to your credibility. It amplifies your suitability for a role you are applying in school and post-grad.

But if by any choice of yours, you decide taking the lead is not your calling. Please, by no means should you be ignorant or indifferent about the happenings in your immediate environment. Support the ones who are leading. Speak up when you have to. Care enough to do these. It matters that you do.

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson.

6. Save Some Money.

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Saving as a student can be an uphill task. I know this firsthand. I also know that it is possible. Saving is not so much about how much you put away, but the discipline to consistently put away a predetermined sum or percent. Little drops, they say, make an ocean.

When you save, you would be able to visit places and participate in the activities organized by the associations and fellowship you belong to. These activities are what culminate in giving you a wonderful university (and life) experience.

You meet more people. Travel new places. Learn about others and have others learn about you, too. You see how differently or similarly others do the things you do.

I would love that you live a full life. A life filled with wonderful experiences and beautiful memories. Do not settle for less. If for any reason you do not make the most of these opportunities, it should not be from a lack of finance.

Do the due diligence. Save. You will be glad you were disciplined enough to do so.

7. Learn a trade.

Become an entrepreneur. Make some money – your money, not daddy’s money.

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I hated the word “hustle” because it connoted hardship. I still have not got comfortable with it in my lexicon, but over the years, I have learnt the value of work – to let go of “entitlement mentality.”

Entrepreneurship is the path to financial freedom, and every individual’s financial goal should be some sort of financial freedom.

As a student there are various avenues to create wealth. It’s sad that our country disfavours student employment opportunities such as serving tables, working in shops as some other countries encourage. In these parts of the world, children are introduced early on to work.

This “disadvantage” nonetheless, puts us at an advantage; opens us up to the world of entrepreneurship, what some have defined the route to financial freedom. Contrarily to working for others, if we are open and willing to take up opportunities around us, we work for ourselves.

I would love you to find something you love doing, an innate skill/talent/passion you can develop and derive finance from.

Don’t merely depend on daddy’s money. If you can, your goal should be to liberate yourself from waiting on daddy at ever turn.

Daddy’s money may or may not come through. You know, sometimes, what you deem necessary, daddy may not. This is where your own money comes into play. Whoever said you cannot become your own money boss at a young age. Wait for no one, get to work.


Until next Thursday.

Have you learned anything from #TheLetterSeries so far? I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you find it worth sharing. Please, do not hesitate to share.

Love,

Annie.

Ps: The last part of #TheLetterSeries would be posted next week Thursday. Same day the winner of our month-end giveaway would be announced. I haven’t noticed any entries. Did you try? Did you have any difficulties? I want someone to win the journal.

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A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me, Part 2 ( And A Giveaway)

Toward the end of last year, when I was making plans for 2018, I made a mental note to feature A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me in February. There was no order to the planning. It was a decision I made – and kept.

As the curtains drew in on January, an alarm went off in my head, “February is in 5 days!!!” I considered putting off the series to a later date, say March. This was not from a lack of preparation. It was simply panic.

I made the decision to write this letter in 2015 before my sister gained admission into the university. When she didn’t gain admission immediately, and instead had to do a one-year pre-degree program, I thought I had some extra time.

Still, I did not get to work.

While I delayed writing the letter, I knew it was a wise thing to at least write the synopsis of the letter.

In the first few months of her first year, I was able to develop three of the areas I wanted the letter to address. With my 2018 goal in mind, gradually and steadily, the letter began to rise to full stature.

Last week, I shared the first part. This week, aware that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I decided to bring forward the area of love.

4. Guard Your Heart

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For out of it spring the issues of life.

A poem:

“As an apricot tree stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men in town.

All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love.

He took me home with him for a festive meal, but his eyes feasted on me!

Oh! Give me something refreshing to eat—and quickly! Apricots, raisins—anything. I’m about to faint with love!

His left hand cradles my head, and his right arm encircles my waist!

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.”

Song of Solomon 2:3‭-‬7 MSG

Another:

“Restless in bed and sleepless through the night, I longed for my lover.

I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful.

So I got up, went out and roved the city, hunting through streets and down alleys.

I wanted my lover in the worst way!

I looked high and low and didn’t find him.

And then the night watchmen found me as they patrolled the darkened city. “Have you seen my dear lost love?” I asked.

No sooner had I left them than I found him, found my dear lost love.

I threw my arms around him and held him tight, wouldn’t let him go until I had him home again, safe at home beside the fire.

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.”

Song of Solomon 3:1‭-‬5 MSG

The last:

“I wish you’d been my twin brother, sharing with me the breasts of my mother,

Playing outside in the street, kissing in plain view of everyone, and no one thinking anything of it.

I’d take you by the hand and bring you home where I was raised by my mother.

You’d drink my wine and kiss my cheeks.

Imagine! His left hand cradling my head, his right arm around my waist!

Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem: Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up until the time is ripe—and you’re ready.”

Song of Solomon 8:1‭-‬4 MSG

Three times in the Songs of Solomon, the Shulammite woman charged young women not to awaken love until they are ready.

You are not ready when you ought to be studying. You are not ready when you ought to be discovering yourself. You are not ready when you are yet to understand your feelings, body, and emotions. You are not ready even though everyone around you is getting hooked, acting and feeling in love.

You are ready after you have understood your feelings, body, and emotions. After you are sure what you want out of life and in a relationship. You are ready when you are ready for marriage.

Don’t let nobody put pressure on you. Don’t put pressure on yourself either.

Oh, dear, and when you are ready and in waiting, do not forget:

“The right company exists: the kind that nurtures, shares your values, believes in your process, respects you and is going where you’re headed. Find it. Until you do, do not be afraid to be alone. Aloneness is better than compromise.” – Oreoluwa Fakorede on Medium

Giveaway:

A Heart♥Dictions Undated Planner

To enter the giveaway:

1. Follow the blog by clicking the subscribe button below – if you aren’t already following.

2. Share this post saying what you love about this blog and why others should follow this series.

Entry closes Sunday, 18th February, 11:59pm.

A winner will be randomly selected and announced on the last day of the series, 22nd February, on the blog. Should be based in Port Harcourt or Lagos or can take care of delivery charges outside these cities. The winner would receive their prize within one week of announcement. Good luck!

A toast to intentionality and goal smashing this year!

Love,

Annie.

 
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How To Keep Your Dreams Alive & Rekindle Them In Dark Times

It is my second week at work. I am gradually finding my way into the hearts and spaces of more persons.

Before now, his name is only a name I hear around; I am yet to put a name to the face or have a conversation with him.

We are sitting in the same consulting room now. I am studying to pass time. He is clicking away at his computer.

This is when we have our first conversation.

“Are you preparing for an exam?”

“Not exactly. Studying to keep busy,” I reply dryly.

“I can’t remember the last time I picked up a text, let alone study to keep busy,” he reveals.

I ask him if he has specialized. With an embarrassment that is hard to conceal, he says he hasn’t.

No surprise here. I might have rightly guessed so.

I probe further.

“Where would you have loved to specialize if you did?”

“Public health.”

“Well, I only wrote Primaries once,” he adds a bit too rushed.

I take note of his attempt at evading the question.

He tells me his job (working in a private hospital) sparingly gives him time and explains how so. I can understand. I have been around a while and listened in on conversations. But beyond empathy, I must help him see a way out of the gloom that is snuffing the life out of his dreams – and self, insidiously.

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A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me, Part 1

I’m five years older than her, but six classes ahead. That is to say, we never meet in school. I’m always about leaving when she’s about entering. Primary. Secondary. It’s always been the same. It was supposed to still be the same in tertiary, as I was to study a six-year course that meets our six-year class gap. Many thanks to the protracted training of medical students that keeps me longer, and the “here-and-there” strikes and delays from the medical body, the university, and the infamous ASUU, we meet in the same school, finally. I’m supposed to have things to tell her – should have. I’ve walked this terrain she’s about to tread. I’m older and wiser, and her elder sister.

Here’s what I have to tell my sister (my one and only sister, as she refers to me – whenever she needs a favour from me) because I have to.

“We owe it to each other to tell our stories.” – Neil Gaiman

1. Have a checklist of things you’ll like to accomplish in the university.

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I had no goal – asides becoming a doctor, on coming to the university. I didn’t realize this until I heard a friend say on a certain day, “I’m happy. My university days have been fulfilling. Everything I set to achieve – real friends, travel, participation – I’ve achieved them,” with an enviable relish spread across her face. And then I asked myself, “What did you set to achieve on coming here?”

I could not answer. Had I given it some thought even then, maybe I’d be more fulfilled on graduating from the university. But it’s OK. Even if it didn’t happen then, it’s happening now, which is a good thing as my days ahead looks promising. And honestly, I can’t wait. These past eight years, however, would have been more fulfilling had I asked myself this question before coming here or answered it then.

You’re going to spend about the same length of time in the university as I did. You’re studying Pharmacy, a six-year course, which means you’re going to be here a while. And I would love you to make the most of those years. If you can have a great life, why settle for a mediocre one? So, I ask you, “What would you like to achieve in the university?” Make a list, and check them off.

Footnote: I have come to the realization that at every stage in life, before any venture, it is important that one has a goal for that stage – what they would like to achieve. If you can’t set those out on your own, ask questions, inquire from those who are ahead of you on that path. “What should I aim to achieve at this stage?” is a question you can ask.

 

2. Join an association and be active.

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I had a friend in year one. Ovieni. We were both invited by FECAMDS (Federation of Catholic Medical and Dental Students) and CMDA (Christian Medical and Dental Association) for their activities.

She fell in love with CMDA after we attended their first-year student’s welcome party. I, on the other hand, didn’t get hooked like she did and never did the rest of my stay in school.

She left in year two to the Rivers State Government Scholarship Scheme that sponsored her education in the UK. Had she stayed, maybe, I might have had a strong enough pull some years later when I was considering giving CMDA a chance? It was simply a case of no love at first sight.

I told you both FECAMDS and CMDA tried to pull us in their directions. FECAMDS was the more inviting of the two and because most of my friends at the time were Catholics, and hence FECAMDSITES, I was pulled more to them. From attending their tutorials to their prayer meetings, I became a FECAMDSITE – even though we aren’t Catholics. But I left in my second year, complaining about what didn’t matter initially – that I wasn’t Catholic and so it felt odd, which should.

There’s also AIESEC, another great association that could spice up your stay in the university. I’ve spoken to you, and just like I wasn’t, you don’t sound eager to join the CMDA family. I’m not sure your reason though. It would be unwise to coax you. I can only guide you, but then, if none of the religious and medical associations gets your attention to join, you may want to consider AIESEC.

For most people, their best university memories and friends are made in these associations.

Be a part of a people. Be active. Make memories. Find friends. Don’t just exist through the university, LIVE.

 

3. Join a fellowship. Become a pastor if you have to, but my point is: serve God fervently in your youth.

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The university is a good place to serve God. It presents a lot of opportunities that if taken up can propel one to great heights. Aside from the privilege and opportunity to serve God fervently, most of these fellowships serve as good training grounds. You learn to speak. You become more confident, responsible and accountable. You get the opportunity to mentor people and be mentored by others. Most of these developmental spurts you don’t notice while still in school or may if you are self-aware. They come to life more when you are out of school, and those who let themselves be trained by it find out that they are better and more valuable individuals in the society.

I didn’t have good luck with any of the medical associations, but I did find a fellowship that I fell in love with at first sight. The first and only fellowship I attended and belonged to while in school, Christian Fellowship International (CFi). You know about this fellowship, from the time I was an active member (in CFi language, a CFite to the DNA), when I would give no one at home rest because I was either gushing about my pastors or some event the fellowship is about to have (maybe JAM Summit) or plainly how wonderful my fellowship was.

I’m glad to say I had my best university experience in CFi and most of the best friends I made in the university were made in CFi. So, what would it be for you?

I must add that during your matriculation reception, organized by Charles, our brother, who happens to be the vice president of the fellowship you currently attend, when you were called to say how the fellowship has benefited you, and you leaned one elbow on the pulpit, and held the mic in a casual manner slanting it across your chin, you did look like a pastor and a cute one.

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Until next week Thursday.

Love,

Annie.