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“I read six hours every night, over 16 hours at weekends to bag distinction in medical school – IMSU graduate

The best graduating medical student of Imo State University College of Medicine, Olachi Sandra Ndukwe has spoken on how she was able to emerge the best graduating student in her set.

The indigene of Ehime Mbano in Imo State opened up in a recent interview with The Punch.

Speaking on how she was able to graduate with a distinction, she revealed how her reading schedule was.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Lady Celebrates Bagging Fully Funded Scholarship to study in one of the World Best University

In the early stages of my training, it appeared a bit too complex for me. But as the years rolled by, I figured out how best to study. I consistently made an effort to sleep as early as 7-8pm each day. Once it’s 11pm-12am, I’m awake and I’d start reading. I sometimes read till 6am.

You must understand this pattern was unique to me as each one must discover what works best for him/her. I didn’t really have a time table of what topic to read. I was very spontaneous and the cases I saw in the hospital largely determined what I would read each day. However, there were times I would read in excess of 16 hours, especially during the weekends. I just locked myself indoors and read as long as I could.” she revealed

She bagged seven awards at her induction

I received an award for getting a distinction in Medicine; three awards for being best student in Paediatrics; two awards for being best student in Physiology; and one for being best student in Biochemistry. In total, I bagged seven awards at our induction ceremony. The awards were for best and most outstanding student in these courses,” 

Below are some excerpts from her interview:

Why did you study Medicine?

I studied to become a medical doctor primarily because I want to take care of my family. Also, Medicine is a noble profession which commands respect. I wish to be respected as a female doctor in my chosen field of specialty.

What CGPA did you graduate with?

Faculty of Medicine, unlike other faculties, does not use the CGPA grading system. Rather, the MB examination results are presented as “Fail,” “Pass” or “Pass with Distinction.” I made distinction and I was the overall best student in my set.

The pass mark in Medicine is 50 per cent while a distinction requires one to score 70 per cent and above. And that is not easy to obtain. Out of my class of almost 90 student, only two persons made distinction. And in the history of the school, that’s the first time they were recording a distinction in Medicine. It took a lot of hard work, pain, and grace to achieve that. The MB examinations generally involve written and oral examinations, including face-to-face examination with life patients in the clinical years, in the presence of internal and external examiners. I really worked hard and I was determined to make my family proud. I knew if I worked hard and if I was determined, I was going make a difference in my generation.

Were there times you almost gave up?

There were really difficult and challenging times but giving up wasn’t an option. When I started medical school, I just fell in love with saving lives. So, I was determined to see it through.

Can you explain exactly how you felt when you were invited to the podium and given all those prizes on your induction day?

I felt excited and proud of the success God helped me to achieve. And at the same time I felt humbled because an enormous responsibility has been entrusted to me, to be a role model for aspiring young men and women. And indeed I’m most grateful to God, because He alone made this possible. It is also reassuring to know that the hard work I put into my studies was rewarded with excellent performances and the various awards I received.

Was studying Medicine your childhood ambition?

My childhood ambition was actually to become a lawyer. Later I developed a desire to be an astronaut. Growing up, being a doctor remained a remote possibility until I was a teenager.

How easy was it getting admission to study Medicine?

Obtaining admission to study Medicine, as we already know, is very difficult. So, I won’t say it was easy.  I was offered admission on merit.

Graduating with distinction in Medicine, as you have explained, is obviously a no mean feat. What was your reading schedule like?

In the early stages of my training, it appeared a bit too complex for me. But as the years rolled by, I figured out how best to study.  I consistently made an effort to sleep as early as 7-8pm each day. Once it’s 11pm-12am, I’m awake and I’d start reading. I sometimes read till 6am. You must understand this pattern was unique to me as each one must discover what works best for him/her. I didn’t really have a time table of what topic to read. I was very spontaneous and the cases I saw in the hospital largely determined what I would read each day.  However, there were times I would read in excess of 16 hours, especially during the weekends. I just locked myself indoors and read as long as I could.

Were you involved in other things apart from academic work?

Yes. I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. Medical school can be stressful, but anytime I felt saturated, I would take a break. It was not all work and no play. In the beginning, I was a loner, but towards the tail end of the programme, I met amazing friends. I was involved in politics. I was one time vice-president of the medical students association. I was also involved in the Nigerian Medical Students Association. I also started my online medical blogging, entrepreneurship, graphic designs and other things.

Were you in a relationship while in school or did you consider it a distraction?

Relationship can only distract one who wants to be distracted. I never wanted to marry as a student, but it didn’t stop me from being in a relationship.

What do you think students need to do to have your kind of excellent result?

All they need is hard work, determination, and the grace of God. It’s not going to be easy, but it is achievable.

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