Friends in the Valley of the Shadow of College

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of college, I will fear no evil, for my friends are with me🤲.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve questioned whether medical school was worth it or not, I’d have enough money to not even continue medschool.

All I wanted was, a soft, babygirl lifestyle and a course that could afford me plenty of free time to relax and play. So when I got my JAMB form, I filled in a course that could get me just that.

Medicine. Right?

Yeah, my plethora of ‘good decisions’ obviously brought me here. But in my defense, my prefrontal cortex wasn’t fully developed then. And now, I know better😅.

Everyone knows studying in a federal school in Nigeria sucks. But studying medicine in a federal school sucks even more.

Because ordinarily, Medicine is like a vacuum cleaner that sucks you into the beautiful world of being a Doctor. But in a federal school, the hose is longer because different things may elongate your already long study period. So you end up studying this course for at least 6+x years (where x can be 3 months, 6 months or even 2 years extra).

However, if a witch showed up now and offered me an MBChB ( MBBS) degree on a platter of gold instead of the 6+x years of my youth, I would probably not accept the offer. Because while it would be nice to have studied medicine, I think, the actual process of studying medicine is the real deal.

And one of the major reasons for this is the relationships I have formed so far with my colleagues.

I’m sure you would agree with me that one of the best parts of being in College is the calibre of people you are surrounded with.

Especially since you may never get the opportunity to live in such close proximity to a large number of acquaintances, possible friends and friends again. And aside the fact that you have so much in common with these people, you’re bound together by the struggle of it all.

Yes, it is easy to get lost in the overwhelm of college, incourses here and there, dissections, postings and whatnots. But having someone to hold on to, doing the most mundane or exciting activities; laughing together about about how much you have left to study (if they are not whining you😏), studying together, and learning from each other, makes it better at the end of the day.

Recently, I got an email from one of my closest friends in my department. And it reminded me just how much I valued her friendship. I was just preparing to sink myself into depths of despair and self-loathing, and her words were simply a fluorescent buoy on a dark, stormy night.

On the other hand….

One of the worst parts of Medical School is that you can never expect it to get objectively better.

I was near some seniors while they were reading for some exams. And one of them casually mentioned that they had a hundred slides to read for one course. I tried to focus on what I was doing, because I am typically not an olofofo. But then the words started ringing in my head. 100 slides. One course. 100 slides. 10 times 10 for one course. Ah!

I had to ask. “Sorry when you say 100 slides, do you mean like 100 slides for one material. Or like 100 separate materials?” I stuck my hands out as if separating the different materials.

My senior colleagues laughed like people that were going through a lot. “Yes, more than 100 materials for a single course.”

I have heard many senior colleagues say, “If you don’t think you can cope with the amount of stress in a class, there’s no shame in quitting. I have weighed this advice in my head and truly considered it. Yes, I could give up on medicine, but what would I do with all these useless information in my head?😒 The weight of a kidney, or the convoluted process of how pee gets made?

I’m sure I could find a way to bring up the de novo synthesis of purines in casual conversations, but it wouldn’t be very natural, you know? Let me show you…

“My dad did a DNA test on me and my siblings, and it turns out I’m not his real daughter.”

“Hmm, fascinating, but did you know the purine that makes up your DNA gets formed in a very simple 11-step process?”

Okay, I take that back. I would be seamless at bringing up random facts in conversation😌. But even though…regardless…upon still…

Medicine doesn’t exactly get easier, but you’re all going through it at the end of the day. The camaraderie binds you in this hell hole.”

In the words of Ron Kenoly, “If you catch hell, don’t hold it. If you’re going through hell, don’t stop.”

Studying medicine is also like climbing an arduous hill that gets steeper as you go up. It’s hard to think about how far you have left to go, and how tough the journey ahead is.

From one of my favourite books of all time- The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse.

But one of the best parts of climbing this hill of medicine, is that we’re not climbing it alone. It’s important to have friends to talk to when you feel down in college. Because there will surely be down moments.

Unless of course, you’re some magical being, who floats through college, pressure-free, worry-free, and stress-free all the time. And if you are, wow, I really hate you/I’m jealous of you/ I want to be your friend.

In conclusion, maybe the real MbCHb was the friends we made along the way.

Thanks for reading 😇. Feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you thought about this piece. And incase you missed Episode 1, you can read it up here.

See you in the next episode 🥼🩺.

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