It’s been an amazing 6 years with my colleagues. We have had our share of ups and downs. I think it’s safe to say we have seen it all…Medical school has given us thick skin.
The journey to greatness
Having completed my Secondary education in 2007, I came to Ghana for my tertiary education. I completed two full years at the University of Ghana, Legon before I moved to Cape Coast to start medical school. I thought I had made a very difficult decision by abandoning my two years at Legon just to start afresh in a new school, but to my surprise, I met four of my course mates from Legon who had also done the same, all in the name of chasing the medical career.
We sailed through the pre-clinical years, not without its challenges of course. But at every point of the way, you have to remember what your goal is and remind yourself of who you are. I remember thinking to myself “what will I say to those back home if I don’t complete medical school?” This was a question I never wanted to have an answer to. So I made up my mind never to be in that situation.
The beginning of the clinical years at that time seemed to be the beginning of stress. We had to find a way to adjust from the modular system of pre-clinical years to the modular and rotation system of clinical years. We had to interact with the patients, take their histories, and examine them. You can imagine what a struggle it was for me, considering the fact that I neither spoke nor understood the language (twi, fante or any other Ghanaian dialects). I always dreaded interacting with the patients because it felt so cumbersome. But thanks to the awesome friends I have, who always informed me of the English-speaking patients on the wards or who agreed to be my translator, with time, interacting with the patients was as easy as ABC.
Words of Wisdom
The life of a foreign medical student is not a piece of cake, especially at University of Cape Coast. You talk different, think different and act different from the rest. People may pass comments in the local dialect knowing fully well that you don’t understand a word of what they said. Some may even go as far as insulting you because you don’t yet speak or understand the language. But an advice to you…rise above it all, hold your head up high and do what is expected of you, no matter how difficult it may seem. You didn’t come this far just to give up. If not for anything at all, think of the how ridiculously high your tuition fees are and be determined to win at all costs.
Fast forward to today, I am a fully qualified medical doctor writing my success story. After all the challenges, sweat, tears, stress, and disappointments, God saw me through it all.
Medical school without God is a waste of time.
Dr. Ifeoma Mokelu
August 20th, 2016 is a date to remember. We started preparing for this day about 6 years ago. I remember clearly during our final exams, a friend told me she occasionally daydreams about our graduation when she is studying and when she returns to reality, she is inspired to read the more. We all had different ways of coping with the STRESS of medical school. The end they say justifies the means. I also remember the day we heard our final results were ready and faulty was deliberating over the results. This scripture “… The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]” James 5:16 (AMP) was fulfilled that evening.
Two nights before our graduation, we had a class dinner at the Elmina beach resort to celebrate each other and our accomplishments.
It was indeed a fun night out. These are memories that would live in our hearts. We ended that dinner knowing fully well that we were only a few steps closer to getting our MBChB.
Ours was the 49th Congregation and 4th Oath Swearing/Induction Ceremony and it was held on Saturday, 20th August, 2016 at the New Examinations Center, North Campus. I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I woke up excited, I just couldn’t wait to get to the venue. When the ceremony began, I felt so special. This is a feeling that cannot really be described, only experienced.
As we were seated, a friend turned to me and passed a comment about me receiving my prize, hahahaha, I laughed at her and told her to stop playing with me. Little did I know that she was telling the truth. I opened the programme to find myself as the winner for the award of “Best Medical Informatics” student. I couldn’t believe it ! Wow! Leave it to UCCSMS to surprise you. I’ll like to say a big THANK YOU to the Department of Medical Education & IT for considering me worthy of this award. And to all my colleagues, I say Congratulations to us all, we are all award winners, whether we were recognized by the school or not.
The highlight of the ceremony was when we were conferred the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB. ChB.) degrees, and were asked to move the tassels on our graduation cap from the right side to the left. This signified that we were no longer medical students but now medical doctors. It was a moment of pride for us all.
To me, the most important event of that day was when we swore the Hippocratic Oath. This Oath is going to be our guiding principle throughout our practice of medicine.
Finally I’ll like to end this post by saying a big THANK YOU to my family, friends, colleagues, faculty members and all the well-wishers for making this a memorable experience for me. I love you all.
Dr Ifeoma M. 💋