Saturday, 9 December 2017

Words that brought to where I am

Words that brought me to where I am

When God told Joshua in,
Joshua 1:2 : Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelite across the Jordan river into the land I am giving them..."
And in verse,
12: Then Joshua called together the tribes and said...[14] But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them[15] until the Lord gives them rest as He has given you rest, and until they too, possess the land the Lord your God, is giving them. Only then may you return and settle..."
  I realised something from the above passage: it was all about helping and teaching people on how to succeed in the areas you have had success in....
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   I was really excited when I first came into medical school. I didn't let the excitement get the better of me though. I read my books and worked hard but as the exams drew near, fear set in.
'Will I pass my exams? What if my results get missing? What if I fail and get kicked out of medical school?'

All sorts of negative thoughts ran through my mind that period. 

One day, I went for our usual once-a-week fellowship for year one Christian medical and dental students. In the course of the gathering, a senior colleague who had been invited, came up to speak to us. I don't remember all that he said but I didn't forget this part:
"I want to encourage you all that you can do it. You can serve God faithfully and still do well in school. Look at me for instance. In my year one, I had all As in my results. If I can do it, why can't you?"
My eyes nearly popped out! How could someone have all As? But there was I standing before a living proof. If he could do it, then so can I! That day, I began to believe it was possible.
So despite all my fears before, during and after my first ever university exams, those words of that senior colleague kept me going. 'If I could do it, so can you!' I worked hard. After the exams, I prayed fervently and daily for 'As' more out of fear than faith though. That first semester, I had all 'As' except for two courses. The second semester, they were all As. That senior colleague may have forgotten that day but I haven't. His words stuck with me then...it still does. I can do all things through Christ in me, so I won't be afraid.

   Year one ended and the long vacation began. During the vacation, I attended tutorials organised by our senior colleagues for us as we prepared to begin preclinicals proper. One of those days, a senior colleague came to tutor us. He was in year 5 then. I can't recall what he taught us that day but I'll always remember his words:
"You probably all know I read a lot. One day I read so much, I read for 23 hours straight!(chuckles)  I promised myself to never do that again but let me tell you something I do before I go to the next class. When I was in year 2, I would go to year 3 class to pray and declare by faith that by next year, I would be in this very class. There is so much that with hardwork, conviction and faith we can accomplish. Before you get to the next class, envision yourself there. Believe in yourself and never doubt. Personally, I have never repeated any class..."
Those words struck me and had ever since remained with me. Okay, I didn't follow that part of going to the next class to decree and declare but I always believed that if he could do it, then so can I! Ever since, I believed in the possibility of going though medial school without getting 'WAFed' (Withdrawn for Academic Failure) and without necessarily repeating a class.

   Eventually I got to year 3. This class was scarier and more stressful than the previous classes because this was the class I was to take my first ever professional exams(MBBS) but that was not the worst part. I had always heard that it was this MB exam that got many people out of medical school. Mehn...that period of preparing for my first ever professional exam was my most stressful, tiring and depressing moments in medical school. What really kept me going was my talks with God and listening to Hillsong's soothing music. 

During the preparation for our MB, our test(CA) scores for each course which accounted for 30 marks were released. For one particular course, I was the highest. The news spread like wildfire not just because it was a 26 over 30 score but also because some people didn't expect that score to be coming from me. Naturally, I was happy but became even more pressurised and scared. 'What if after this good score, I fail and get a resit?'

Not long after, I got a call from a senior colleague to see him. He was in year 4 then and was one of their best. I felt curious on why he wanted to see me and a bit honoured. We eventually met and talked. As you will guess, I can't remember all that he told me that day but I remember this:
"Do you think that God would give you such a good test score like that for nothing? Would He give you that only to you to fail or simply pass averagely? Look, you must believe that you will not only pass but pass with a distinction. As you have been doing, put in your best. You are already getting there. At the end of this MB exam, I want you to tell me that you have a distinction."
Thanks sir for adding to the pressure. Not only was the news round my class but it had got to the other classes as well. "But I'm not even sure of passing talk less of a distinction!" But still...I pondered on his words. Would God bring me this far only to fail me? During that MB exam period, his words helped give me courage and hope. I worked and prayed hard. And yes, I got a distinction in that course.

Another thing happened that period. Our senior colleagues in the Christian medical and dental fellowship organised a pre-MB programme for my class. Unfortunately, I came late and I mean towards the end of that programme. So, I practically missed the main thing but I was able to get a card from them. Written on it were the words: 'He shall order your steps to every paper you write.' Not much words but it made a huge impact on me. I believed that I was not alone, that God would see me through: the MB exam preparation, in the exam hall and after the exam. I believed that the God that began a good work in me will see it through completion which He did and is still doing. Eventually, I passed the exam, though I still have the pamphlet. Medical school is not yet over after all, even though I wish I was already 'there'. There are still more classes and exams to pass but I know God would see me through as He has always done.

There are many people who talked to me whether individually or in a group but their words have always remained with me. Those words always gives me courage to forge ahead. Nobody helped me read my books or write my exams but their words helped me succeed. 

I can remember when I was in secondary school, in the boarding house. On visiting days, my parents would come to see me. Then, they would tell me:"Do your best dear. We believe you can do it. We believe in you... " I excelled then, not just because I liked it, but also because their were people who believed in me and encouraged me.

From all these instances, I've learnt that just talking to people, encouraging, mentoring and advising them on how to succeed in an area may just be enough for them to succeed! Dr Ben Carson touched my life, not because I was once his patient, but because of his words found in his books like: 'Think Big' and 'Gifted Hands'. So also did Fela Durotoye in his book: '17 secrets of high flying students'. I encourage everyone to read these books.

  You've probably learnt one or two things from my story but just to emphasize some important points:

1. If you have succeeded in one path, show others the way. Encourage them, cheer them on, talk to them, mentor, believe in them and pray for them.

2. It is said that: 'A man cannot be bigger than his dream'. Reach for the stars! You can achieve even the seemingly impossible if you believe you can and work hard.

3. That other people failed does not mean that you will fail too and even if you did, get up and keep on trying. Never give up on yourself! Thomas Edison made 999 failed experiments before he finally succeeded in creating the light bulb.

4. Stress, depression and anxiety will come at one point in school or in some point in your life. That's life. During those periods, be courageous and forge ahead(Joshua 1). If you're facing it, God knows you can handle it. During such times, talk to God, seek advice and help from counsellors/mentors/believers/a trusted someone. (And just to add what I do in such times too: listen to Hillsong's soothing music or any other uplifting music).

  So my dear, you won't fail. I believe in you, that you can and will succeed in the future. Amen.