Welcome Cribstars am excited about this post on a true life inspirational story shared by a young medical student, Ogbemudia Eddy Uwoghiren. The motive behind sharing this story with you here on the blog is to encourage you to be strong no matter the situation you find yourself. I believe you will learn from Eddy’s story and find the strength to forge ahead no matter the odds.
Don’t forget to read the inspirational story Top 10 celebrities that battled depression and anxiety.
Eddy’s Inspirational story
Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 was the day it all came to an end. I left the hostel very early that morning to catch up with an outreach programme to a school in the GRA area of Benin City. The past six days have been busy for me as I have been actively involved in a series of outreaches.
At exactly 8:15am, I was done speaking with the students when my phone rang and it was the University of Benin (UNIBEN) Public Relations officer Mr Michael Osasuyi. I thought it was one of those regular calls.
Without exchanging pleasantries, he began questioning me about why I was yet to pay my school fees for the current academic session. I defended myself as much as I could because as far as I could remember, I did not owe the university any fee. Later, he requested for my details saying he was going to pay the outstanding fees for me.
I was happy; at least, I will still collect the money for school fees from my parents and channel it for a personal project or go for a dinner with it. A few minutes later, he called, instructing me to appear in his office as soon as possible to collect the payment slip.
Upon returning to school, I went straight to the Vice Chancellors office (VCO) complex. It was busy as usual. He excused other persons waiting to see him and both of us were left in the office.
My heart began to beat faster than usual. Many thoughts collided in my head. “What could Mr PRO want to discuss with me that’s so personal for him to have excused other persons? Could it be that I have written a bad Journalism story and the university management were in search for me or could it possibly be about the rumored school fees increase the Senate approved that?”
Then he let the cat out of the bag.
“Eddy, you have to cancel your proposed trip to Ghana for the YALI Alumni Homecoming. I returned from the school of medicine a few minutes ago, and results of your 3rd Professional Medical (MBBS) Exams showed that you failed both Pathology and Pharmacology. Your scores were so close to the pass mark but yet so far from joining those that passed. I was also told that the academic board wants to initiate a new policy guiding the exams and anyone that failed both courses should automatically repeat into the lower class. Meanwhile, the results will be officially posted later in the day.”
At that moment I was shivering. Hot tears rolled down my cheek. I couldn’t process what I just heard. All my life, I have never failed an exam except for some test, and this was a big blow considering the new policy they were about to implement.
Multiple thoughts ran through my mind; the thought of what people will say, the shame of joining a lower class; a class where my works have inspired many of them. The lower class I was told to repeat into was one where I was directly mentoring about three persons. How will it be for the mentor and mentee to be in the same class? How will I start explaining to people the reason behind the failure?
Over the years, I have had colleagues who have antagonized my frequent trips to the United States for leadership training (I feared they would hinge the failure on those trip).
I felt I had disappointed my parents and those that believed in me. I pinched myself many times to be sure it was a dream. I wished for the ground to open so it can swallow me and everything will end.
Mr Osasuyi broke the seeming silence “Eddy, brace up. It’s just a challenge. What has happened has happened. I have to get back to work now. I will call you later in the evening; please keep your phone on (How did he know I was going to switch off the phone?)
The journey from VCO to the medical hostel was the longest I have taken all my life. I got to the room and decided to sleep, but sleep wasn’t forthcoming. The result was finally released, and it was as I was earlier told.
The next day, I had a speaking engagement in a Christian gathering on PEACE. Before that day, I had prepared the outline to use and divided the talk into three sections; Peace with God, Peace with man and peace with ourselves.
As a leader, I had to allow Emotional intelligence play out. I did preach and got accolades from the audience, but I felt differently; I was like “Can these people open my heart and see that it’s bleeding. I just did this because it’s my duty. I was not at peace with any of the three sections I described above.
Why will God allow me to fail? Was it that I sinned against him? I have been fervent with the things of God.
I wasn’t at peace with a man because I felt it wasn’t right for the rules governing the exam to be changed when results were already out. At least we should have been informed before sitting for exams so we can be well prepared for any outcome. I wasn’t at peace with myself because there was this tremendous feeling that I had disappointed myself and those that believed in me.
On my way back to the hostel, I began to analyze the entire scenario that resulted in failing the exam.
I remembered about two weeks before the exams; I was involved in a road traffic accident with lacerations that finally resulted in a keloid on my arm and forearm as well as severe neck pains which made the doctors gave me a cervical collar to assist my neck.
At the point of discharge, I knew I wasn’t fit, but I had to pretend that I was strong so I can quickly leave the hospital because the exams were fast approaching. If I don’t take the exams, I won’t have results to present to the SEPLAT Scholarship board for award renewal. So, I took the risk, got discharged and because the pain was much, the doctors placed me on 50 mg of Tramadol daily as well as the other wound dressing which lasted over a month. I could remember having to abuse the drug and increased the dose from 50 mg to 100 mg daily because of its additive effect.
Tramadol is a very good opioid but among its many side effects is a reduction in cerebral function. I could vividly remember how I was sleeping during the exams including steeplechase because of the drug I was abusing; all that has gone now.
I decided to visit my friend Adetunji Adeniran and let him know what was happening and during the course of our conversation, he said “Imagine you were traveling from Benin to Lagos for a conference where you are the only speaker and everyone have traveled across the globe to listen to you. If your vehicle breaks down at Sagamu in Ogun state, what will you do?
I told him I would immediately repair the vehicle or enter another one. He interrupted “That’s exactly what I want you to do. Your destination is more important. Since the school has denied you the chance to repair this vehicle, then enter another one (Join the lower class) and make sure you get to your destination. We are all waiting for you at the finish line. Never forget that success is a Journey, not a destination. Anything is bound to happen on that journey. And for the part of shame, you will get over it with time. It’s only in school we have mates, the day you leave the university, the cliché mates cease to exist. Your journey is unique to you; please embrace it”.
After this talk with him, he gave me two books both by John Maxwell Sometimes you win Sometimes you learn and Failing Forward.
I remember one of those days while reading in my room I overheard two of my course mates from the previous class discussing me. One of them said (paraphrased) “Eddy thinks he can have his cake and eat it. He was busy traveling abroad now let’s see if he will not retire to his shell soonest”. I kept quiet and the lyrics of KB’s song ‘Bring you war’ where he said ‘Let’s bring down the walls of Jericho just to prove them wrong’ came to mind.
During the period I had colleagues who cajoled me severally to prepare fake results and submit to the scholarship board so I can get paid my money and not lose the SEPLAT Scholarship and I vehemently refused.
Penultimate Tuesday, I was reading in my room when I got a call from the scholarship board, they wanted to know why I was yet to send the results for the session. I told them nothing but the truth, at the end, they said (paraphrased) “For being truthful we will retain your name on our list. When you retake the exam, do send us the results alongside a medical report and we wish you the very best”. I was surprised. Does honesty still pay in Nigeria?
It’s being precisely ten months of having to repeat a class in medical school. I did retake the 3rd Professional medical exams in Pathology and Pharmacology again. Results are out. I passed both courses comfortably.
There have been lessons learned from the probating year which made me FAIL FORWARD. I sat down while penning this down and couldn’t thank God enough for the experience. It was divinely orchestrated.
Lessons from Eddy’s Inspirational story
1. It will Hurt.
An excerpt from Grey’s Anatomy Season 5 Episode 2 “It’ll hurt every time you think of it. But over time, it will hurt less and less. And eventually you will remember it, and it will only hurt a little. Whether it’s a friendship that didn’t work out, a relationship that ended or you missed out on something. The hurt that you feel is inevitable, but it won’t last forever.”
When going through tough times, you will feel hurt. Don’t try to hide it but never make the mistake of sharing it with everyone around you because more than half of them will never care.
Get a group of trusted friends of not more than three preferably of same-sex and share the hurt with them to offer you support while it all last. There are days you will cry. Please don’t try to hide it. I did cry many times on their shoulders. They have to know your vulnerability so they can offer better support. You will go through the Elizabeth Kubler Ross stages of Grief while it all last and they include the Period of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance.
During the period I made sure nobody ever stopped me in the hostel to discuss the issue of failing a year in medical school with me. It wasn’t necessary. I don’t need their sympathy. My inner circles of three friends were enough to discuss it with and map out strategies on how to overcome it. My support system did the work, and on their shoulders, I cried those times when I couldn’t hold it.
2. Face Reality, Accept Responsibility and Work towards improvement.
When you get to the point of acceptance in the Elizabeth Kubler stage of Grief, be prepared to face reality. Know that there are things you can’t change and leave them alone. I remember begging some of my colleagues to teach me some topics in Haematology and Pharmacology before the first exams, and at every point, they gave a different form of excuses. I had to accept the responsibility for my life- If I must understand the difficult topics, it was up to me.
I had to use then USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Examination) Kaplan Videos to study and found out how easy it was learning pathology with PATHOMA videos. They broke the entire pathology into piece while building on the basis and that was how I got a full understanding of the difficult topics, such that, when I was entering the exam hall the second time, I knew I was going to pass because I almost became a master in those problematic topics.
While confronting a difficult situation, always have a positive belief that things will be alright in the end. Going in for the exam again, there were lots of fears and side talks because it was my last chance of taking the exams and if I fail it again, I will be asked to withdraw from medical school after spending five years. Despite the war wagging in my head, I kept a positive attitude that I can do it. While clinging on to hope, make sure you do the right thing. I made sure I corrected the mistakes I made in the course of the first exam which was the drugs I abused.
4. Adversities are opportunities for growth
The past ten months have been the most productive years of my life so far. Despite the many fears of failing the exams again and shame of being laughed at by colleagues, I tried so many amazing stuff that whenever I assessed my life these past ten months, I find it hard to believe I could pull those stunt. My greatest joy was that I started my Social enterprise LifeSavers Initiative for First AID Education Nigeria (lifesavers) with the goal of equipping every person with basic first AID skills. Starting it was hard. There were days I almost gave up on it, but my inner circle of friends pushed me to the extreme and offered support. I also had to apply for several pieces of training, got lots of rejection emails and was selected for few which I couldn’t attend because test and exams clashed with them and I didn’t want to apply for permission to be absent considering my state as a probating medical student. I also assisted friends in applying for programmes, and they got selected. We did Review session for YALI applicants, and we had over 12 success stories. I spoke at several event. Almost all my Saturdays were for one speaking engagement or the other.
Most persons found it hard to believe that a probating student could still do so much and be everywhere as it was unusual. I made sure I never returned to my shell as they predicted. The whole experience tested my resilience spirit.
5) Winning isn’t everything, but learning is.
No doubt I was delayed by ten months in medical school, but my greatest joy is the fact that I learned every lesson needed while it all lasted.
You might not always win at every stage but find out the lessons you need to learn while at your lowest point.
Like Pastor Poju Oyemande of Covenant Christian Centre said at the opening ceremony of The Platform Young Professionals Boot camp 2018, “Don’t get frustrated and bitter when you are stagnated, and your environment is not giving you the best. Know that at that point, there is a demand on you to change the way you do things so you can grow.” I indeed changed the way I was doing things, and that resulted in my growth.
I must commend all those who stood by me these past 10 months.
There are lots of names to mention but Facebook wont permit me that space.
In no particular order Mr Michaeal Osasuyi and Adetunji Adeniran, thank you so much sirs. God bless you both for your advise. They were very helpful.
Boluwatife Aderounmu, Mayowa Williams and Ezekiel Efeobhokhan, you guys were the best. Thanks for always offering listening ears and shoulders.
Thank you Aladejare Adeyemi A Samuel, this was the first person I had contact with in my new class and he was very instrumental. To all MED/DEN 130, Thank you for accepting the 14 of us and increasing the odd for us to succeed at the exams. And to the class reps I say a big thank you.
To those whose names I couldn’t mention, you are duly acknowledged. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.