September 2012, just over 7 years ago, I entered Nigeria bright eyed and excited for the new challenge – I was finally going to study the course I had known I wanted since I was 4 years old; medicine and surgery.
I remember on my resumption day at my first Nigerian University, I told my dad “I’m going to just focus on getting my degree, not really here to do anything else” haha, I really thought I was going to stick to those words but I turned out doing the exact opposite, at times people didn’t know I was even a medical student during my pre-clinical years because I was everywhere! In the choir, on the field, backstage at events – your girl was incredibly industrious and I’m glad I was, as I learnt a whole lot more about myself and my capabilities – and my academics didn’t suffer either.
Down the line, an immensely emotional disruption led to an abrupt change of higher institutions which was incredibly difficult for me, 2015 still goes down as the worst year of my entire life, that was the year I had intense, forceful character building. In fact, it got to a point that I told myself crying everyday was not healthy, I just had to learn to suck up the pain. Unfortunately, my attempt at “sucking it up” rather than dealing with it, sunk me into depression. Yup, at a point in time, this “ever-smiling” ETP was actually suicidal, in fact the only thing that kept me from self-harm was knowing it’s a sin to kill. It was THAT BAD. I had a huge weight of guilt looming over my head and at the time, quitting looked better than pushing on, but somehow, by sheer Providence, God sent people to speak sense to me, and also gave me the grace to keep believing that things will get better.
And sure as the sun comes up each morning, things got better – in fact, my life basically turned around. 2016, I was being awarded left right and centre. It was like God wanted to convert all the negativity around me into good, all at once! There was even an award ceremony that I couldn’t attend because I had exams and my parents represented me; they were so proud and it wiped away all the shame I felt I had put them through during the difficult 2015.
Life continued on a steady upwards trend, I soared in a number of ramifications, I became an international public health speaker, I ran for different positions and was selected, carried out outreaches with various bodies in my local environment as well as international bodies, travelled the world, attended the United Nations Youth Assembly, World Health Assembly, basically I did countless activities that have made me the woman I am today, and I’m proud of the choice I made in coming to Nigeria for medical school. Honestly, if I had stayed back in London, I don’t think I’d have done half the things I did, because it was being surrounded by challenges that forced character building and a problem-solving attitude into me.
The fight to finish medical school wasn’t an easy one, with opposition at every turning point, but I made it out, and it was glorious. That night when the results got pasted on the notice board, I rolled on the ground. I was in so much awe of God; like I cannot explain how close to ending my medical career I got in 2015. It was a bleak, dark tunnel and there wasn’t any light at the end. That moment when I saw my matriculation number on the passed list, it was like a full circle moment. Like, it all clicked. I was done!
Celebrations came and went and the next challenge commenced – housemanship. A year of being an intern doctor, and what a year it was. I shared some of my experiences along the way but some were too raw to even write about. Some members of staff had to become prayer points because of how much grief they brought me whilst working with them! I was forced to enhance my skills in people management because it’s not everytime that avoiding the person is applicable, Housemanship really taught me that lesson.
I’m grateful I went to the hospital I trained at; all in all, I learnt so much and left as a much more confident doctor, with skills and experience that will stay with me for a lifetime.
Having summed up 7 years into a few paragraphs, it’s clear to see that I gained so much from being in Nigeria, I’m glad for the experiences, both the ups and downs and I really wouldn’t change a thing. My time in Nigeria has come to an end, I will miss it, especially Lagos which I enjoyed so much, a lot of my friends call me the Minister of Enjoyment haha, but it’s time I return home and continue my career. I’m sure a lot of you are wondering “what about the service year?” Well, I may do it at some point in my life, but right now I have other time-bound goals to accomplish, which I must prioritize.
I’m grateful for the support of my readers, friends and family and I thank you for sticking with me all this time!
On to the next challenge!
Lots of love,
Dr. ETP xo