A degree in Medicine is not for the faint-hearted. Aside from the time commitment (it takes seven years to study in some countries); there is a lot of work to be done. Be prepared to go through many stressful days and nights. Also be prepared for the fulfillment that comes when you finish your degree and you start saving lives. Our guest today tells us more about what it takes to study medicine.
Reasons for studying Medicine
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a doctor. I like helping people in every way that I can. Thankfully, I also had an interest in science. I wanted a profession that could combine my interest in science and my passion for helping people. Medicine provided me with the great opportunity to do just that.
Attributes needed to study Medicine
Hard work – It’s a very tough but rewarding degree. You’d always be preparing for one exam or the other.
Resilience – I got knocked down a lot of times in medical school. There were times where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore but I had to be resilient. I had to keep getting back up anytime I fell down.
Good organisational skills – If you’re naturally organised, count yourself lucky because this skill will come in very handy in this course. I struggle with being organised. It was something I had to learn in medical school because it really helps to reduce your stress levels. The work load is huge and one can crumble under pressure if they do not organise their work and time effectively
Good team working skills – Most of the time, you will be working in groups. Being able to work effectively in a team would be very good.
Interesting things about your study experience
The joy that came from passing really difficult exams. There were modules and rotations that I thoroughly enjoyed, for example, obstetrics and gynaecology (my favourite rotation in medical school). I loved meeting new people and making new lifelong friends. I enjoyed our study group sessions. They were very helpful and really aided my learning.
Would you do it all over again?
Good question. I have mixed views on this one. Yes, because I can’t see myself doing anything else. Nothing else made me “tick”. No, because it was the most challenging and stressful time of my life. However, it was rewarding. I grew mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I learnt so much, not only about medicine, but also about life and myself.
Tips for managing exams and coursework
Be organised. If you’re struggling, seek help. Start early; don’t leave it until it is too late. It just increases the pressure.
Balancing having good grades with enjoying social life on campus
To be honest, this was something I struggled with throughout medical school, the art of having a good work-life balance. I just tried to be more organised and to manage my time effectively. Effective time management is key.
Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
Yes. I’d have looked for easier and more effective ways to learn. The problem with Nigerian schools is that we are very limited in our teaching options. All people say is “read your book, read your book”, forgetting the fact that different people learn differently. You need to figure out the type of learner you are and use it to your advantage. For example, I discovered a bit later in medical school that I was more of a visual learner. Basically, I have to see something to remember it and I learn better by watching videos and looking at pictures. This is where Youtube came in. If I found a concept difficult to understand, I checked Youtube (Thank God for Youtube). Find the learning style that works for you and use it to your advantage.
Tell us three things you wish you knew before going abroad
Life changes really quickly. Enjoy every moment in university. Look for easier and more effective ways to learn. The way we learnt in Nigeria isn’t the same way we learn here. There are always people to ask for help. If you feel like you are struggling with anything, do not hesitate to seek help.