The Problem with Growth
‘Step out of your comfort zone’
‘You can never move forward if you sleep eight hours every night. That’s a third of your life you’ve spent sleeping’
‘Get comfortable being uncomfortable’
‘Make every moment count’
Sure, get uncomfortable. It’s easy to tell us ordinary people to get uncomfortable when they’re stunting on the gram. We pay money for them to stand on podiums in fully air conditioned halls with lights in their faces, illuminating that 25k highlighter, showing off that 350k hair. After all, no expense is too much for quality hair right?. And then we leave these places feeling pumped, like we’re going to start from that moment to execute our grand plans to change the world. We go home and kick back on YouTube to listen to people repeat these things over and over again.
‘Wake up by 5am to be successful’
’10 habits of highly successful people’
’20 things rich people do that poor people don’t’
‘How to stay motivated’
The list goes on and on. But the real question is, ‘what next?’
About two weeks ago, I told myself I wanted to wake up by 6:15 every morning. I followed up this goal by watching several videos with titles like, ‘How to wake up by 5am without hitting the snooze button’ (If you’re into YouTube, you’ll know that 4am and 5am are the golden times for these types of videos. I thought I was being realistic by deciding on 6:15. I woke up by 6:15 for about four days. And then I started waking up much later.
The strong surge of willpower we get when we listen to celebrities and motivational speakers will never be enough. Let’s face it, we just want the glitz, glamour, the cars, the red bottoms and the Jimmy Choo heels. We want to be able to afford people like Anita Brows to do our makeup. We want to be able to buy hair from miznwanneka. And while we’re ooh-ing and ahh-ing at other people’s lives on Instagram and telling ourselves, ‘Ah! I must make money in this life!’, it is easy to forget that they are right. We do have to get uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable is stressful, painful and can potentially lead to sleep deprivation.
I consider myself a professionally lazy person; I love sleep and I hate stress. According to the motivational speaker’s community, those are two major characteristics of unsuccessful people. Does this mean I am doomed to fail at everything I do in life? I think it’s too early to tell. I am lazy, but I don’t want to go around failing stuff either. But then again, who does?
Every AMSULite’s main goal is academic success. For some people that means getting top marks in all their courses. For others, it means doing just enough to avoid failing. If you fall into the former, your celebrities would most likely be people like Festus Ibe, Bayo Esan and Chibueze Nwokocha and you would be thinking to yourself, “I must make distinctions in all my courses this year!”, rather than chasing money. If you fall into the latter, you probably just want to have time for ‘jaiye’ and if you’re more like me, a couple more hours to sleep. Being a distinction student would be cool but abeg, ‘who e epp?’. At the end of the day, a P will still get you the MBBS.
Whichever category you fall in, you cannot deny the fact that this MBBS we are all chasing requires sacrifice at every level; some levels more than others.
The idea of the ideal medical student varies from person to person. There are three major facets of life as an AMSULite: business, academics and social life.
The most important of all these is Academics. You can’t be an AMSULite without passing exams; that is literally what qualifies you to be an AMSULite. If you fail out of school, you automatically lose that title. Growth here requires attending all or most classes, reading the slides as they come and doing past questions as much as possible. This way, you will not panic when you start hearing rumours of incourse dates. However, how many people actually do this? Our reality is that we tend to put off the work when the year begins, favouring movies and other forms of relaxation until we realize we are neck-deep in untouched slides. Even if we decide to take ourselves seriously, the truth is that the slides still pile up faster than we can read them and then Boom! Incourse!
Entrepreneurship is really buzzing right now. There is a high demand all over the world for an increase in financial literacy and financial freedom, both of which are often associated with owning your own ‘business’. It is no wonder that medical students do not want to be left behind. As such, there are several students managing their own businesses or at the very least being involved in someone else’s. Besides this world wide clamour for people to start taking control of their financial futures, there is also the need to earn more money. There seems to be a never ending list of bills that needs to be paid every school year from lab manuals and handouts to the money guzzling machine that is Hostel Movement! And we still need extra money to buy that occasional pizza and to attend AMSUL events. Parents don’t understand these things. As far as they are concerned, your pocket money should go into your feeding and the rest of your time should be spent hitting the books. Nothing else is of any importance.
Also, necessity is the mother of invention. Some businesses are borne as solutions to certain pressing problems. A good example of such is SACK insecticide for bedbugs by Nerissa.
I once heard someone tell a story about not being invited to a party and when he complained he was hit with their defence of,” We thought you would be reading! We didn’t want to disturb you!” The poor boy was left with nothing else to say. They were right of course; He would have been studying and sadly, he wouldn’t have attended the party if he had been invited.
As young adults in our late teens to mid-twenties, we should be having the time of our lives, turning up every Friday night, networking and meeting new people. But the reality is that we spend most nights staring into laptop or phone screens filled with words we force our brain cells to make sense of. That is for those of us that take our lives seriously early enough. The rest are usually in bed wishing the impending incourses away. The point is our social lives are greatly deficient regardless. AMSUL has done a great job of creating different ways for different types of people to have hobbies asides studying, but school will always come first.
I do not know, neither have I heard of anyone who has a perfect balance among all three facets. Whichever one you choose to prioritize however, the rest are doomed to suffer in some way.
This article is not to tell you how to journal and create to do lists and plan your time and whatever else ‘improvement pill’ tells his followers on YouTube. This is not a guide on how to be maximally productive in medical school. I can’t even write on that, as I haven’t achieved it yet (unless of course I am to be paid, then yes. I can write on almost anything if there’s going to be money involved). As a matter of fact, I am far from achieving it. I have a bloody resit and I’m still struggling to wake up every day and come to terms with what I’m supposed to do to avoid repeating the year. Reading to retake a paper you should have passed at the first trial is a lot of work, physically and otherwise. But here I am, writing this article for you… yes you! And low-key enjoying it too. Perhaps after this experience, I’ll never be lazy again. But then again, who knows? There’s still another four years of medical school to go through.
The point of this article is that we’re tired. We’re all tired from one thing or another.
When you decide to step up and become this epitome of juvenile productivity and truly ‘grow’ into an adult, you get blasted with so much discomfort that you require an insane mount of discipline just to keep up, you lose time for the things you truly enjoy, friends, hang outs, sleep, even pizza!
In the end, many of us become tired and reclaim our place in the ‘mi o le wa ku’ community. We cannot come and die abeg.
Mi o le wa ku= a Yoruba phrase meaning ‘I can’t kill myself’
abeg= a colloquial term for ‘please’
jaiye jaiye= a Yoruba term meaning ‘enjoyment’
who e epp? =a colloquial term for ‘who has it benefitted?’
AMSULite= a medical student of the Association of medical students of University of Lagos.
Incourse= a test taken in medical school