Day 5: Queen Ifeoma Ndigwe #MyMBBSJourney

My MB; BS journey began quite early, let’s go with 5years. My parents did this thing every Saturday:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
They hit you with it somewhere between prayers and breakfast. I didn’t like it and I’ll tell you why. My smallest brother and sister have a total of 56 career choices. They both bounced from baker and actor through winemaker and zookeeper and they were always sure. My other sister always said Medicine. I was never sure of what I wanted but I knew what I didn’t want: Medicine. I never said medicine. You had to give an answer or according to my parents, “you don’t have goals” and a 5yr old without goals was such a terrible thing that you had to read that infernal book about setting  goals by Mr Chibuike Something; the Guru Ash of goalsetting.

I was 15 and almost out of secondary school. I just wrote Jamb which if I’m being honest; I expected a 270 at least. The surprise was of epic proportions. I had 223.  Don’t worry, that was the year Jamb added marks for everyone. I wasn’t left out. After they blessed me, I had an impressive new total of 224. I still didn’t know what I wanted to be but I knew where. It was UNILAG or nothing. Everyone told my mother I was a bit mad. With 224, and a school sat in Yoruba-land. Well, I got in. Turns out I test very well in Post-UTME. Who knew?
Later in 2009 (I/12/2009)
The first day of my second time in Lagos – this day is not important except that it was the day I listened to Cool-fm for the first time, specifically Freeze. My MBBS journey is incomplete without Freeze…I mean Cool-fm.


Year 1
For a long time, I considered this to be my best year in this school but I realise now that it wasn’t as much my best year in school as it was my best year in Lagos. I wasn’t as much into school as I was into what I thought was my freedom. So I spent the year going wherever my friends needed me to be and it was everywhere…well…during the weekends. It was a great year but it wasn’t because of the MBBS journey.  Most of those friends don’t even know where I am now. Nothing prepared me for the loss of them friends, and they were great ones. The friends I have now, I met in year one. First day in UNILAG, I met Yewande and Tomi. Every other person subsequently

200 level.
This is where I met the other half of my closest friends. It was a very complex, calculated method of selection. Using the bifrost method of friend selecti…No, I’m just playing. We sat in a column: seats No 1 through 6 by the windows far right. We couldn’t avoid each other if we tried. Sandra and Nehi were both quiet when I met them. Now? At least Sandra is still serene. I spent this year drawing and writing. I was fascinated by eyes. It started because I met some beautiful man with the most expressive eyes and I tried to replicate it…sorry…playing again. I tried to perfect facial features but the paper on which I drew eyes looked freaky and I liked it ‘cause I’m a freak so…I started drawing it on everything. I ignored school a lot. I didn’t think I’d practice medicine so why bother to be good at it? Why bother to be good at ANYTHING when I believed that as soon as school ended, I’d go backpacking around the world living like a hippie and essentially enjoying life?

300 Level
This was another blip in the journey. I went to school alright but again, it wasn’t because I loved it. Nooo…it was Murphy’s Law. I’d realized at this point in my life that if anything could go wrong, without a doubt, it would happen. I took no chances. This was also the year I realized that I was an electronic hoarder. I collected, still collect songs, poetry, spoken word, movies series, books, etc.  In all these, I still hadn’t found the doctor in me. I like to think I know something about everything but medicine needs you to know more than something, it demands you know at least 50%. Jealous mistress, Innit? I found this challenging and I didn’t try. The easiest way to win a difficult game is by not playing. I didn’t play.

400 Level/Clinical year
This is where I said to myself…okay, a friend said to me
‘Go with me for one second Love, let’s imagine you try to do this and actually are good at it?
I had a weak foundation but I was okay at clerking. 
In my opinion, this year was my first year of actual studying. I put my heart into it for the first time and I was okay…for a while. I was trying to catch up.

500 Level/Project year.
This was a hard year. I loved my project topic. It’s a topic so dear to me. Intimate partner violence. It hasn’t happened to me. One of my primary school friend, a boy, pushed me down once and I kicked one primary tooth out. It was bloody but that’s about as close as I have come to violence. My project was worthwhile and the best part was I finished. But let’s be very clear, I’ll be jobless before I become a community health doctor. It is a difficult thing to do.

Final year.
This was essentially, my best year in school. I spent it unsure because I wasn’t a serious student prior to 400 level. I always assume I failed before every result came out. Every single one. Subomi & Nehi, I didn’t do this on purpose, it just took a long time to trust myself. Theory was still not as strong as I would have loved so I worked harder. I was everywhere on time (Murphy’s Law). I did everything I was asked. I was above average. One thing I learnt in this year was: we were all struggling. We knew a lot but never what was asked of us. Ifedayo was the ultimate ginger. She had an idea about everything…in medicine and Idowu? Man! I had to read. Not as much as you’re thinking right now but more than I have ever read in my whole life.

Med School took everything from me. Except for a few darlings, the only friends I have now are also in med school.The only times I wrote anything was when Pero was doing something or when a friend needed something or someone died. I didn’t draw. I didn’t travel. I procrastinated. A lot. I disappointed people, I let them down. I’m still paying for things med school stole…damn kleptomaniac. But to be clear, I wouldn’t trade it. Well…at least, not cheaply…maybe for a free journey with the love of my life round the beauties of every country in the world ending on the day I die, for an eternity in heaven, definitely for the life of a child, maybe for a child of my own, maybe for a beautiful painting…then again…maybe not.

IG: @leadyar

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  1. Never!! I later decided on computer engineering or systems engineering but on the day I filled my form, I found out I’ll need further mathematics(didn’t do it). I tried to convince her that waiting one year for further maths was a good idea. I cried myself to sleep then my mom filled Medicine.

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