Monday, 26 October 2015

" Na Who Send Me Message? "

       I once heard a tale of how clay pots are made. My grandmother said that only the best clay is gathered from beside the stream. The molding process begins and it is put through a fiery kiln. It is then panel-beaten and molded once more into just the perfect shape. Finally it is then allowed to cool and various designs can be done to fit just about any purpose. 
     Medical school is a lot like this fiery kiln. The entire journey is akin to the production process. After the rigorous process of writing WAEC, UTME, Post UTME and perhaps myriads of other exams accompanied by detours in other departments, the final selection occurs. This marks the first induction into the cult that is medical school. The cult that threatens to cut you off and question your living for existence if you dare to hope for optimal hours of sleep every night. 
       Finally, you're in the revered secret society everyone knows about  and you garner the respect you of course deserve. You worked quite hard to be chosen. However, you're finally in and often times you find yourself asking "Na who send me message?". You ask time and again in your little room in Aluu, Alakahia or Choba as you read with poorly lit rechargeable lamp because you have not had electricity for 3 days.  
       In the night also, some others ask this question in class on chairs high enough to be bar stools and seemingly made of concrete. Every night, it seemed the esteemed cult made of medical students met in spirit or physically. You try to come for the meeting - mostly in the sanctity of the place called Ofrima. You forfeit your sleep because half-loaf is not always better than none. 
          In the morning, when classes are as early as 7am the entire class is yawning in synergy. It's an orchestra. By 9am, everyone already looks frustrated. As you try to grasp the new concepts, you ask yourself once more "Na who send me message?". You look around the class to be sure you are not alone struggling - your misery loves company. 
         After the class, everyone swears they haven't read in the past 2 weeks. Even an hour to the exams, people never say, "I've read.". Everyone constantly says, "I'm behind. I still have a lot of things to cover". It's quite easy to believe until the exam hall when 20 minutes in and your friend starts demanding for, "Extra sheet sir." Pretty soon, the entire hall is asking for extra sheets. You're astonished - an hour ago no one had read. 
          As you write, you shake your head at some of the 'toxic stuff' you write. You have to do this so you can also say 'Extra sheet, sir'. You know the system is designed to make you fail. Your response regardless must be voluminous enjoy to satisfy some sadist lecturers that tauntingly say, "Briefly discuss". You're disappointed. Medical is nothing like the fiery kiln your grandmother told you about. It's worse. After the fiery kiln, the pots get a chance to cool and are pampered with beautiful designs drawn on them. This never happens in medical school. There's a never a time to cool off as the case may be. It never gets easier. The higher you go, the hotter it becomes - a new rule you quickly learn that defies the physical laws of nature you know. 
       At the end of the semester exams, arms are stretched and hugs given freely. Joy is evident and you know you're home with people who understand what it means to constantly ask, "Na who send me message?"