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I dedicated three hours to learning new things every day –Anthonia, first class graduate

At 21, Aina Anthonia, was one of the two persons that graduated with a first class from the Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, and both of them had 4.68 CGPA. In this interview with TUNDE AJAJA, she talks about her achievement

What was your typical day like?

I woke up at 6am every day. I could either do some exercise for about 30 minutes or go for morning mass. After that, I would prepare for school and resume at 8am. My movement was usually between the clinic and my class till around 4pm. After leaving school, I loved to rest or play tennis before going back to study usually in class till late in the night. I usually went to bed at 12am. Like the saying goes, ‘nothing good comes easy’. It was through God’s grace, hard work, determination and lots of sacrifices that I was able to have it. Even though I planned for it right from the start, I had to learn how to make my plan a reality because excellence goes beyond planning, and if you don’t have a plan, it is easy to settle for less and accept average performance as an outstanding one.

That schedule looks like a normal routine for any student. Were there other things you would attribute your success to?

Let me start with one of my dad’s favourite quotes, which says, ‘It is the extra effort put in something that makes one a champion.’ One of the things I did differently was taking note of fine details while studying and I often went further to practicalise whatever I had read repeatedly. Also, I always did a little more research on whatever I had been taught. As simple as it sounds, those things helped. And contrary to beliefs by some students that only geniuses can study physiotherapy or any other medical related course, any course of study requires consistency and dedication. To create more time for my academics, I avoided attending some events, social gatherings and family gatherings so I could have more time to study. It wasn’t very easy seeing other students going to have fun, it could be tempting, but it was a decision that had to be made. Beyond that, I made a decision not to be in any relationship as a student because it would be time-consuming and could be emotionally stressful. I’m glad I have something tangible to show for it.

People are usually of the view that students studying medical-related courses don’t have social life because of the demands of their academics. What was your own experience?

That assertion is true but I never saw myself as a non-sociable person. Yes, the demands were much and it was as if there were things to read all the time, but I found time to play tennis; I danced and played volleyball. For students in College of Medicine and those who studied courses that were very demanding, it could seem difficult creating time for other things apart from facing only their academics, but it was my choice to be involved in other things, whilst making sure that my academics didn’t suffer. I was involved in some extracurricular activities both in school and in church. Thank God for His wisdom.

When did you start having first class?

I started having first class in my second year on arriving at College of Medicine. From the start, I dedicated at least three hours every day to learn new things. I tried to be consistent with my schedule and cover up for hours missed in previous days, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances. I love reading in the evening, and I took advantage of that, even though I read anytime I had the opportunity. In my second and third years, the library was like my second home. During our orientation in second year, I remember that those leading various classes were males. It was in the final year that a lady led and I was so motivated that I promised myself I was going to be like her.

Have you always been this excellent?

Even though I passed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and the Unified Tertiary Examination at one sitting, I think I was an average student in secondary school. But with hard work, dedication and God’s grace, coupled with the support and encouragements from my parents, friends and colleagues, I became a lot better in the university.

Some people have their results once and still have some delay in securing admission. What was it like for you?

I didn’t have any delay. I took the post-UTME in all the institutions I applied to in my form. I hoped and prayed for the admission and I got two admission offers which I chose from.

What informed your choice to study Physiotherapy?

My parents wanted me to study medicine and surgery but somehow during the admission process, I was in a dilemma of choosing between medicine and physiotherapy since I was offered the two courses by two different institutions. I decided to carry out a research on what both courses entailed before taking a decision and I found out that most times, medical doctors don’t have time for themselves as compared to physiotherapists. Moreover, I enjoyed the role of physiotherapists in the health care sector. This influenced my decision. And ultimately, all I care about is the happiness I would bring to my patients whenever they get cured from illnesses, especially those threatening movement and function. I believe if one is good at whatever he or she does, one would get financial reward as and when due, because some people see medical-related courses as not very lucrative.

What is physiotherapy about?

Physiotherapy, also known as Physical Therapy, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that remediates impairments and promotes mobility. It functions and aids the quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis and physical interventions such as heat, ice, massage, exercise, mobilisation and manipulations, electrotherapy and so on. Physiotherapists provide services that develop, maintain and restore people’s maximum movement and functional ability. We help people at any stage of life when movement and function ability are threatened by ageing, injury, disease, disorders, conditions and environmental factors. Physiotherapists use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body such as Neurological (e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis, Pakinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, etc.), Neuromusculoskeletal (e.g. back pain, whiplash injury, sport injuries, arthritis, etc.), Cardiovascular (chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after heart attack, etc.) and Respiratory (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, etc.). Everything about the human body is quite amazing, most especially the brain, and I enjoyed every part of the course especially the clinical aspect.

Were there days significant things you may not forget in a hurry happened?

I had so many memorable moments but the one that readily comes to mind was when my name was called as the most outstanding student in physiotherapy students association award. I also remember when I got my first 5.00 GPA in my third year, and that was my happiest moment. My saddest moment was when I got a call that my father was involved in a road accident.

During holidays, were you also reading at home?

Yes, but I usually read more random books other than school books and I read them at my leisure time.

Were there times you isolated yourself to be able to read?

Yes, most times, I went to the library or class which was farther away from the hostels so as to minimise my distractions.

What was your experience like as a first year student?

It was a time of self discovery. This was when I got to know my strong and weak points; learnt how to relate with other people and how to become more independent.

What was it like when you started practicals?

It was fun especially gross anatomy laboratory practicals in our second year. Also, I enjoyed clinical years which began in our third year where I had the opportunity to practicalise all I had learnt in class and from textbooks. It was a refreshing experience.

What are your aspirations?

I hope to become a world renowned neurophysiotherapist. Also, it has been my childhood dream to own a hospice for the physically challenged and a home for the under-privileged in our society.

Where would you like to work?

Actually, I would love to work with the World Health Organisation and many other respectable organisations. Also, I hope to open or own a rehabilitation centre in future.

Are there things students should do that could help them?

Students should put God first, remain dedicated and hardworking. Also, they should know what works for them and never underestimate the greatness in them. They should dream big and then wake up to achieve those dreams. Finally, always be grateful for who you are and the efforts people have put in to make you who you are!

What fond memories of growing up do you still have?

Growing up was fun. I grew up in a family of nine, and I’m the fourth child. My siblings have always been a strong source of motivation right from my childhood, likewise my parents who have been very supportive. They are both teachers and expectedly, they are both disciplinarians and that helped.

Source:PUNCH.       

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