USMLE despite all odds – Journey from orphan in Nigeria to successful doctor !
Nothing Good Comes Easy – Story of Dr. Nosa
After rounding up my high school and losing my dad to the cold hands of death in 2009, I decided to fend for myself in addition to the support I had from my wonderful siblings (especially my elder brothers), I did this because I didn’t like depending on anyone wholly, and the fact that finance was limited and things were not all rosy.
So, I started off as a phone technician at the Third junction in Benin city, Nigeria. It wasn’t easy for me as I was a bit too young and innocent to hustle in that kind of environment, I faced a lot of reproach, rejection, and oppression. I can remember a day that some cultist had to beat me up at my work because I couldn’t fix the phone to their specification. I also faced a lot of disappointments even from my loved ones. Well, that’s all history, I endured all, passing the stress with joy. I remember those days…I use to cry in my room thinking of committing suicide, hmm, good old days…Well that same year I registered for JAMB and post-UTME (entrance exams into Nigerian universities); I studied very hard after my work hours and finally got admission to study Medicine and surgery in the prestigious University of Port-Harcourt (UNIPORT), River state, Nigeria, having a total score of 60.01 of which the cut-off mark was 60, hmm, I was lucky.
January 2010, I started my first year in medical school. I went to UNIPORT without having a place to lay my head, and I didn’t have enough money to rent an apartment off campus; meanwhile, hostel allocation was yet to be done. So, I teamed up with my dear friend, Edafe, we entered one of the hostels, broke into one of the yet-to-be allocated room and started living there. A week later some guys who once resided in the lounge came back from his holidays, throwing our belongings out. So we were on the street again. I pathed with Edafe for a while to look for a place to stay, at least to keep our belongings. I begged several persons but nobody came forward until a day when a good Samaritan (a colleague of mine) accepted to help. He only accepted to keep my belongings while I should find some other place to sleep. I was happy anyway. So, I decided to put up in classrooms, I used to keep my paste, toothbrush, powder, small towel, sponge and soap all in my school bag. To freshen up I used to go to a nearby hostel then to the colleague’s hostel to dress up. I did this for about 2 weeks until he asked me to pack out as my luggage was occupying a considerable part of his small cubicle, so I moved out in search of a new place to keep my belongings. I met another colleague of mine, in this case, a senior colleague, he saw me and was surprised that I had emaciated within weeks of school resumption (as he once saw me when I broke into one of the hostel room the first day at UNIPORT). He decided to help keep my belongings and even offered to allow me to sleep in his cubicle, I was delighted. Unfortunate for me his younger brother who stays in the same cubicle (small room) with him wasn’t happy to receive me. I didn’t blame him though; the place was too small to occupy 3 persons. So, I begged them to help me keep my belongings while I slept in Choba classroom. they agreed.
2 weeks later, UNIPORT formally brought out a list of students who got hostel accommodation. Unfortunately, my name was not there as my post-UTME score was low compared to my colleagues who got the accommodation and the fact that I was not an indigene of River state, placed me out of the list. I felt bad. I decided to rent a cubicle space in Abuja campus from a man o’ war guy who was offered hostel space on the campus, having Engr Edafe and Dr. Donald as roommates.
So, I got a space in Abuja campus thinking I would have a place to lay my head. Quite unfortunate for me, the man o’ war guy (student military body) sold the same space to another guy, collecting double money for a single space. I and Edafe confronted him but he stood up against us with his team, asking us to kneel down, hitting us badly and threatening to throw us out. Who were we to fight man o’ war?? We were nobody. The other guy who was allocated to us was another tyrant, so to avoid having trouble with him I decided to sleep and live in Abuja campus classroom while keeping my belongings in the cubicle I rented. It wasn’t easy as I spent the whole of my First year in classrooms, sleeping, brushing and eating there.
My first 3 years as a medical student wasn’t easy as I had to battle with financial difficulties and accommodation issues. Do you know I never ate meat all these 3 years? Then I used to cook without adding meat because I couldn’t afford such luxury. My stew was a combination of locally made palm oil, sachet tomatoes, pepper, and Maggi. lol. I don’t cook soup, what I used to do is to buy soup from mama put (mama Abuja restaurant), I used to buy N200 ($0.6) soup then asked the sales personnel to exchange the meat in the soup for more soup, I would then go to my hostel to make Eba (Africa cassava meal with soup), managing the soup so that I can take it for at least 2-3 days .
Life was hard, but it didn’t stop me from working even harder, I read my books as if that was the only thing to do in my life. As at my fourth year, I was a bit stable financially and was able to settle my accommodation issue. I started working as a private teacher to some well to do student for his basic medical courses. I also involved myself in hostel politics, Music (you can find my hit single that talks about how God changed my life) and several business opportunities. My financial state changed. Combined with the money I used to receive from home, I was much more stable when I finished my medical school.
Though I was stable I couldn’t stop sleeping in classrooms because it had become my habit . So, I stayed and read in classrooms even when I was able to afford a good accommodation. I basically slept in hardwoods of Abuja campus for 7 years (of the total 7 years and 6 months as a medical student at UNIPORT).
This earned me my nicknames (working master, working lord, working skeleton, Machine etc.), as I was always found in the classroom reading.
I finally graduated from UNIPORT as a Medical Doctor, and as one of the best students UNIPORT medical school has ever graduated, with result that fancy the eyes of everyone.
Why am I telling this story? This is to tell you that “IT IS POSSIBLE”. Nothing is impossible in life, so don’t get discouraged, give life your best hit even in the hardest times, if Nosa the phone technician can turn to Dr. Nosa; you can be anything you want to be in your life too. Always Remember, NOTHING GOOD COMES EASY.
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