How to Be a Good Medical Student in Nigeria [Expert View]
There is a lot of prestige associated with being a medical student in Nigeria. However, beyond the prestige, there is a lot of work involved in being a medical student in Nigeria.A lot of young people in Nigeria that are looking to become medical doctors do all they can do to get into medical school. However, a lot of them fail to plan for life and success in medical school.
Well, it is great to be a medical student in a country where medical students and medical professionals are accorded a great deal of respect. However, if you must end up getting the most out of medical school, you will need to be a good medical student.
How to Be a Good Medical Student in Nigeria
If the above question has always been on your mind, then, you are not alone, we’ve got you covered. Contained in this article are tips to help you get the most out of medical school and stay on your game while in medical school.
Let’s get started;
1. Don’t Hold Back on Questions
It is perfectly normal for medical students to have questions every now and then. If you want to get the best out of medical school, then, you must make it a habit to always ask whatever questions you have on your mind. A lot of medical students in Nigeria tend to hold back when they have questions on their minds. They do this for various reasons. Some do not want to be embarrassed by their lecturers or other students while some others are not comfortable asking so many questions.
Regardless of what your personality is like, if you have questions on your mind, it is best you ask them. Holding back might just be setting yourself up for failure. Some questions might seem foolish. However, having an answer to these questions will help you make it to the next stage in your studies easily.
2. Avoid Missing Classes
If you are on your way to being very successful in medical school, you could get things messed up when you begin missing classes. You can’t miss classes and be a good medical student. In as much as it is possible to cope in other courses in the university even when you miss classes, the same cannot be said about medicine and surgery.
In the field of medicine, a lot goes on in the classroom and you might never get to learn all that you should learn if you do not make a habit out of attending class frequently.
If you miss class every now and then, you will end up a bad student.
However, beyond being a bad student, you might not make a very good medical doctor.
3. You Have to be Prepared
If you must always get the right grades in medical school, you will have to e always prepared for tests. The average student might wait for an announcement before they get ready for a test. However, things do not always work out this way. Your lecturer might not always announce you will be having a test before going ahead to give you one.
4. Create a Study Group
Doing things alone while in medical school might make you move fast. However, it might not take you as far as you should get. Medical school is not easy both in Nigeria and anywhere in the world and things could even get more difficult if you move alone. To ensure you have an easier ride, you will need to form a study group of like-minded medical students. In as much as you will be spending a lot of time studying with this group.
The relationship should not be all about studying. You should also create time to have fun with this group of people.
Fresh materials will always be released and if you always do things on your own, you might never get the chance to see these materials until after exams. Beyond just missing out on materials, you will also miss out on important details that could help you improve your grades.
5. Come up with a Learning Method
Medical school is very challenging and might prove to be difficult for people that do not have a learning method. Going by this, if you intend to do very well in medical school, you will need to come up with a learning method that you are most comfortable with.
This will not be an easy process as you will need to spend some time experimenting before concluding on the best method for you.
Regardless of the method, you decide to use when studying, you have to avoid learning passively. When learning passively, you will not need to ask any questions about the materials being studied.
However, this is the direct opposite of learning actively which involves studying material and asking questions about such material.
When you ask questions while studying material, you get to discover the parts of such material that are really important. Additionally, you get to ask questions about the relationship with a material and other materials. Doing things this way will give you a much broader understanding of what you are studying.
While attending lectures, ensure you record what your lecturer is saying and listen to this recording over and over again. Beyond simply listening to this recording when actually settling down to study, you should listen to the recording of lecture activities when you are doing other things such as laundry and exercising.
6. You Should Consider Tutoring
Tutoring works in various ways. Regardless of what end of the line you find yourself in, you will gain a lot. When you visit a coursemate or a senior to be tutored, you get to receive a lot of insight that you probably will never get if you just study on your own.
Also, tutoring other students will help you notice little details that you missed out on when you were studying and this will be a great way to add some knowledge to what you already know.
Some universities have tutoring centers. If your school has one, you should not hesitate to visit it.
There is a lot tutoring can do for medical students. One of these is it helps them remember that the entire process of studying for good grades is not peculiar to them. With tutoring, you get to meet other students with the same challenges as you. This way, the pressure on your shoulders can become lighter.
7. You Should have a Schedule
To get the best out of the time you spend studying, you will need to come up with a schedule. While making a schedule, set out time to study material before a class and just after a class. When you do this, you can have a good understanding of the material before a lecture, and this way, you can ask good questions
Still on scheduling. If you have to deal with a difficult task, ensure you schedule it for a time when you are very mentally alert and will not be distracted by any activity.
8. You Must Discover Your Weaknesses and Strengths
It is normal for people to be good at some tasks but not so good at others. As a medical student in Nigeria, it is important that you discover the things you are good at and those that you are not so good at.
Through your years as a medical student, you might realize that you are unable to perform excellently in certain areas while you do so well in some others. Once you realize the areas you do not perform so well in, you should make efforts at becoming better in them. This could mean spending more time reading or asking someone to tutor you in these areas.
While working on the areas that you do not feel so strong, ensure you still have your mind on the subjects you excel in very easily.
To get this done, you will need to make efforts at establishing a balanced study life. This might not be so easy. However, you will need to do it if you must do well as a medical student in Nigeria.
9. Have Time for Non-Academic Activities
Although the aim of heading to medical school is to study, there are no rules that state the only thing you must do is study. If you must get the best out of your time as a medical student, you will need to have time for other activities that are not in any way related to academics. When you do this, you can get the best out of your time as a medical student without having to lose out on the essence of life.
In as much as setting up a schedule for different activities will help you get the best from medical school, this might not be very easy to do. So, to ensure that you are able to follow up with your plans very easily, you must have a calendar. If you do not think working with a calendar is great, then, you could get an app on your smartphone.
10. Don’t Hesitate to Explore
Every medical student in Nigeria that wants to have the right level of success in medical school must be ready to explore. When you explore, you will be able to come across opportunities that have always existed but you had no idea that they were in existence.
You might have made up your mind a long time ago to be established in one field. That does not mean you should not do anything about other fields of medicine. It is important you know a little about all the fields of medicine as this will go a long way in helping your practice.
11. Search for Mentors
Whatever path you think you are walking or will walk, there is a likelihood that someone has already walked that path. The implication of this is there will always be someone to mentor you while you are in medical school.
Although not all schools have mentoring programs, if you are in a school that has a mentoring program, you should take advantage of it. In this mentoring program, you will either work with senior colleagues or medical doctors. Regardless of who you work with, you will need a great deal of humility to learn all that you are supposed to learn.
If you are in a school that does not offer a mentoring program, you will need to put in some effort into getting a mentor. This might not be the easiest thing to do. However, it is not impossible. You can meet people in the right position to mentor you when you talk with your professors.
When you have the right relationship with a couple of mentors, there are several ways you can benefit. One of these benefits this an increase in the likelihood of the right opportunities when you graduate.
This is easy to understand as some of your mentors are already established in the medical profession and will help you get into the right position as soon as you are ready.
12. Stay in Touch with Your Advisor
Every medical student in Nigeria has a course advisor and it is in your interest as a medical student to always visit your advisor. When you do this, you can always stay on track throughout your period as a medical student.
This is great. However, beyond just helping you stay on track, there is a likelihood that your course advisor was once a medical student and will know just the right way to help you do well in medical school.
13. Work as a Volunteer
The time you spend as a medical student is just the beginning of your long journey in the medical world. The things you do as a medical student will go a long way in shaping your future as a professional.
One way to have a good future after medical school is to work as a volunteer when the opportunity arises. When you do this, not only will you build your CV, you will build the right connections which in turn will increase your chances of making it to the top in the medical professional.
When you volunteer, it becomes easy to meet a potential mentor.
14. Keep Friends that are not Medical Students
A lot of medical students in Nigeria make the mistake of spending time with only fellow medical students. While it might seem like this will help them have a smooth ride through medical school, it is not the best thing to do.
When you keep friends that are not medical doctors or are not working towards becoming medical doctors, you make it easy to relax when the need for this arises. With students that are not training towards becoming medical doctors, you can have other conversations other than what was discussed in class.
Beyond simply helping you relax, the time spent away from fellow medical students will help you have a much better understanding of the things you do in medical school and how they will affect the life of the average person.
15. Spend Time Away from Your Books
Being a medical student is indeed very tasking. Nonetheless, you do not have to spend all your time simply studying. Once in a while, you should spend time doing other things apart from simply studying. You do not have to spend so much time doing this.
You simply need a bit of time out of your busy schedule for things that are not related to medical school. If you fail to create the right balance between academics and social life, you might end up getting tired of your academics.
To ensure this is easy, you can simply pick a single activity that is not strenuous. This could be something as simple as spending some time reading a book your love or playing video games.
16. Be careful What you Eat
A lot of medical students spend so much time studying that they forget that they need to feed on the right foods. Due to their busy schedules, it is not out of place for medical students in Nigeria to spend time eating only processed foods.
While this seems like an easy way to treat issues of feeding, it is not a very healthy way to live. Since you put a lot of energy into studying, you should also watch what you eat. You will have to spend more money on fresh foods instead of eating snacks.
17. Spend Time to Exercise
If you must do well as a medical student, you will need to stay healthy and one way to achieve this is by exercising regularly. While exercising is generally associated with helping people stay healthy, it can also go a long way in relieving stress.
You should not exercise in isolation. You should also make sure you are well-rested. This might seem difficult because of your very busy schedule. However, it is a very simple way to stay healthy while in medical school.